Where does my money go? Do I have enough income to cover my monthly expenses? How can I save more?
These are a few of the questions you may ask yourself every month.
The best way to answer this is by tracking your monthly spending. Tracking every dollar you spend each month for a minimum of six months will give you a better idea of how you can save. For an example of what an expense form looks like, we have an example in our forms section on our website. Tracking your spending not only benefits you but also your family. First and foremost, make sure you have paid all of your monthly living expenses such as your rent/mortgage, utilities etc. Once this is in place you can work on your savings, but how?
1. Understand and research your monthly expenses.
Cell phones, internet, and cable are growing industries. Many packages include features that you do not use or will ever use. There is a lot of competition also in these industries, shop around for what is best for you and your family.
2. Need vs. Want: Look carefully at your spending habits.
Identify what you probably do not need to purchase or spend money on. When you get into this habit, you will learn quickly what is really considered a need or a want.
3. Make lists and set budgets for gifts, travel spending and/or meals.
Set a limit for each item and stick to it. Once you complete these lists, it will give you an understanding of which purchases should be a priority and which are not, allowing you to eliminate irrelevant purchases. If you overspent during the holidays, try to combat the aftermath by strictly budgeting your new year to avoid overspending again.
4. Eliminate small, daily purchases that can add up.
Do I spend too much money on items like coffee? These kinds of expenses can get out of hand very quickly. Many people look at it as $2.00 per day, but after a month, you have spent $60.00 that could have been put into savings. This does not mean that you cannot have your coffee. It just means that you may want to cut down a bit or make coffee at home.
5. Cut spending on dining out and entertainment.
How much did you spend last month on lunch out with friends or dinner with family? If you do a comparison, you’d probably be able to purchase a whole week of groceries with a portion of the cost of eating out. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat yourself to a dinner out with friends and family, but it is important to be selective and ensure you have the funds to spend on meals and entertainment.
If your goal is to save, look at the ways that you can cut other spending. Remember that the savings may not seem like a lot of money at first but as time goes on, it will gradually increase. If you can save even a minimal of $10.00 per week, you can have $520.00 after a year without even noticing such a small amount.
The ultimate key here is tracking your spending and you will figure it out very soon.