When it comes to financial soundness, there’s really only one thing to remember: live within your means.
A lot of people spend most of their time wondering where their money went. The moment your pay check comes in, it feels like all the money just trickles out of your hands. If that scenario is a good way of describing your relationship with money, then it’s time to reduce your spending.
First and foremost, start with a budget that identifies your income and necessary expenses. Take note of the word “necessary.” These include rent, food, education, gas, and utilities. You might want to set aside an amount for your savings, too. The important thing is to see where you’re spending and whether or not you’re spending beyond your means.
Go through your credit card purchases and receipts. Are you spending way more than you’re making? It’s time to reconsider your financial decisions. Reducing your spending will help you save up for bigger expenses, and will prevent you from going into debt.
Here Are 10 Quick Tips To Help You Reduce Your Spending
1. Don’t dine out.
Learn to cook, because it’s always much cheaper to have meals at home than going to a restaurant. The prices are definitely marked up and you’re paying for the service, too. Plus, when you cook you can make more than the amount necessary for one meal. Freeze the extras and you’ll have food for the next few days.
2. Don’t buy books or DVDs.
You can always borrow books or movies from the Library. Some libraries require small membership fees, but even then you get access to thousands of books and movies for a very low price.
There’s no need to buy when you can always borrow. (Additional tip: if you have friends who also love books and have extensive collections, you can arrange book swaps so you all get new books to read minus the expense.)
3. Cut your cell phone plan.
These days, you have a lot of alternatives, like Skype, so it’s not like you really have to have an intricate cell phone plan. You can always rely on a prepaid cell phone that is much cheaper and less taxing on your resources.
Research and identify the cheapest cell phone service and plan you can get in your area.
4. Cut unnecessary subscriptions.
Are you still subscribing to newspapers and magazines? Cancel those subscriptions. You can get the same information online and for free. Plus, it’s better for the environment.
Most newspapers already have websites, so you get the same news without the additional expense. With so much data on the Internet, it really isn’t necessary to stick to these subscriptions.
5. Don’t go to the grocery without a list.
Never shop without a clear list of the things you need. It can be tempting to buy unnecessary items at the grocery, especially if they’re cheap. Avoid this sort of mentality by creating a shopping list and sticking to it.
6. Cut up your credit cards.
This is a bit drastic, but for people who have very problematic relationships with the plastic, cutting it is the only way. This is your best course for preventing additional debt accumulation, plus you will only buy what you actually have the cash for — a very interesting detail that will help curb your spending.
7. Cancel club memberships.
A lot of people sign up for various clubs without thinking about it clearly. One example is a health club or the gym. You can improve your health and work out even without these memberships. Cancel them and get fit by running around your neighborhood instead.
8. Get rid of vices.
You might not notice it, but vices eat up a good amount of your money. Calculate how much you’re spending on cigarettes and alcohol and you’ll be shocked.
9. Minimize vanity spending.
Some people try to justify expenses like frequent trips to the salon, designer clothes, expensive makeup, etc., by saying that they only do this to maintain their appearance for work-related purposes. In reality, you can have your hair in a simple cut or style and it wouldn’t matter. All those manicures can add up, so it’s best not to spend too much on vanity.
10. Don’t pay for household services.
If you’re hiring someone else to handle mowing the lawn or cleaning the house, stop. End these contracts and do the chores yourself. Just for a little motivation, use the money you would have spent on hired help to “pay” yourself. This will show you how much you’re saving by doing the chores on your own.