Cutting your Budget

As much money as your job may pay, it’s still probably not quite enough to cover everything you want in your ‘ideal’ life. Even the basics can greatly tax a bank account. As such you’ll want to cut corners where possible, and in doing so hopefully keep your household in the green. Here are some tips for helping you achieve these ends.

1.) As a general starting point, sit down and map out your monthly expenses. Keep your receipts for an entire month and look at them when you hit the first of the next thirty days. Is everything on the list a necessity? Or are there things you can trim? Pay especially close attention to entertainment and travel-related expenses, as both can be mitigated with relative ease.

2.) Now to specifics. First, look to your car. Gas prices are a killer, and unfortunately most jobs require transportation. That said, not many jobs will absolutely require that you bring a vehicle of your own. If cars are sinking your budget, consider using the bus or a train to get around, or even a bike or your feet if your destinations aren’t very far off. You’ll also want to get rid of your second car if you have two, especially if only one person uses each car.

3.) Check your monthly bills. Let’s take electrical bills as an example. Look around your house on an average day and see how many things are using electricity. Then consider whether those things NEED to be using electricity. If not, shut them off and unplug them. Power bars are an especially good and convenience way to mitigate electricity waste as you can simply flick a switch and turn off five or six appliances at once. You may also want to consider changing to energy-saving light bulbs.

4.) Mitigate your eating habits. In short, don’t east as much. Stick to your three meals a day and skip the snacks. Doing so will improve your health as well as save your wallet. You can also look for cheaper, no-name alternatives for certain foods and get virtually the same thing. This is especially true for junk food.

5.) And, along the same lines, pack a lunch each day. Eating out gets expensive. The same goes for preparing meals rather than ordering in.

6.) Last, keep your entertainment costs on a tight leash. Yes, we all like to have fun now and then, but some people have fun a little too often and a little too vigorously. Alcohol and nights out are particularly large money-sinks. As a general rule when times are a bit tight, ask yourself if you really need something before you buy it. You’ll be surprised how often the answer is no.

Slashing a budget is very much tied into self control. If you can master your impulses and not make wasteful purchases you’ll reduce your costs in no time.