What are you wasting your money on?
That really is the biggest question that you have to answer when it comes to saving money and creating a budget. You see, we all waste money—we impulse buy things that we see, we buy things at full price instead of waiting for a sale, and we buy things that we could make cheaper than pay for them.
Dining—The Curse of Eating Out
For my family, it’s dining out. I can always find an excuse why we should just eat out instead of prepare something we have. Don’t get me wrong, my wife is good at making nutritional meals! It’s just that sometimes I have a craving for something different, and the kids will always want chicken nuggets.
We have an envelope system where we take actual cash and divide it up, but we always find ourselves reaching into different envelopes in order to pay for eating out.
During this time of financial uncertainty, it’s best to be taking a hard look at where your money is going. It’s wise to consider your spending, and make sure that it is not putting you at risk of going back into debt.
To that end, the easiest way (numbers wise) to get the numbers looking good is to trim the spending. This means that you may have to tighten that belt or it may mean that you’ll look for more things on sale.
Whichever it is, you’d better start tracking your expenses—your true expenses—so that you know where to cut.
Cutting is Difficult at First
Cutting back is hard—especially if it is a large amount. If you can find ways to make it easier, that’s good. If you find that you’ve overspent your budget, then maybe you cannot live with as little as you gave yourself to spend.
You should give yourself a little time with the new budget—though you shouldn’t starve yourself!
Make sure that the cuts are practical, and that there’s a reason behind them. Also, don’t forget to plan in some money to go to things that will help you relax (or look up and plan a lot of “free” or “cheap” ideas for dates). You will need to keep your sanity if you’re truly going to make a difference in your bottom line.