Everybody dreams of a nice, large savings account. But while it seems obvious that in order to save more money you need to spend less, it is often difficult to find the areas on which to cut back on your spending. Every budget has areas that could be tightened, and it’s not hard to find them if you know where to look.
If you don’t already do so, track your expenses for a few months to determine how you spend your money. You’ll soon discover which areas can be trimmed. You may spend much more than you thought you did on coffee, candy from the vending machine, manicures or maybe shopping for clothes. Can these be eliminated or reduced from your spending?
If you have a cell phone and a home phone, it might be worth cutting one line entirely. Otherwise, see if there are features you have that you don’t need (call waiting? Caller ID?) Also, find the lowest rates on long distance service. In some cases, you can save money on your phone bill by using the same company to provide your phone, cable and Internet services. Find the most basic levels of service you would be happy with and ditch any additional features or pay channels.
Borrow books, movies and music from the library, or rent from a video store, instead of subscribing to pay channels and instead of buying new. But be on time returning things! Don’t owe the library or video store late fees or you won’t be saving much money.
When shopping for groceries, you can save dollars by buying in bulk, buying generic brands, searching for sales in grocery store circulars, using coupons and taking advantage of rebates. Become a part-time vegetarian – meat is much more expensive than vegetarian options like pasta. Plan and stick to a weekly menu. Buy only the perishables that you will use that week so food doesn’t go bad in your refrigerator.
Continue this new trend of being good to your body by quitting smoking or drinking. Eliminating those packs of cigarettes will be a fast way to see more of the money you earn stay in your bank account. When it comes to healthcare, buy generic drugs, ask for a discount when paying cash at doctors’ offices, and carefully review medical bills.
Shop around among insurance companies to get the best rates for your homeowner’s/renter’s and automobile insurance as well. You can often get a reduced rate if you obtain both from a single insurer. Cut your monthly premiums by requesting a higher deductible.
Credit card interest rates tend to be outrageous, so pay off as much as you can as quickly as you can. Ideally, credit cards should serve as a substitute for cash you already have and should be paid off every month. You should only use above what you can afford in an emergency. If plastic is simply too tempting for you, ditch the credit cards altogether. Just rely on cash for your purchases and you’re sure to spend only what you can afford.
The holidays are a time of year that most people ignore their budgets and spend, spend, spend. Try making gifts instead of buying. Shop the post-holiday sales for bargains for the following holiday.
While there will always be unforeseen circumstances that cost more than you’ve anticipated, you should still be on your way to saving dollars. Hopefully, a small adjustment in your spending habits will help you build the bank account you’ve been dreaming of.