When the time has come to buckle down and get serious about your finances, you may look at your bills and ask yourself, “where did all my money go?” You’ll then have to consider ways to cut back on spending. With your rent, cell phone, gas, groceries, eating out, car payments, insurance, electricity and other bills, you may think there is no way out. There are still some ways to cut back on spending which might not be as hard as you think.
Eating: Some of the biggest impulse buys are the ones you do without thinking. You might think eating out is just a part of your day-to-day life. You have to eat, right? Well, not exactly. You have to eat, but you don’t have to eat someone else’s food. If you are spending excessively on dining out it’s best to bring your own lunch or dinner. To work, to school or wherever, bring your own food and you can save a ton of money.
Entertainment: Another one of the big ways to cut back on spending is on your entertainment expenses. Whether you’re spending too much on your fully-loaded cable package, or you go out on the town every weekend with friends, this is an easy area to cut back on. Suggest less expensive ways to enjoy socializing with your friends if you find your usual routine getting too expensive.
Transit: Getting around is another one of those things you might not consider an impulse buy. If you have already bought a brand new car with a multi-year payment plan that fits into your budget, there’s not a lot you can do. But if you are considering entering into one of these arrangements, stop and think before you do so. Do you really need a new car? How is the public transit where you live? Do you have a bike? Do you have someone you can carpool with? When you consider all the alternative ways to get places and all the big drags on your wallet (gas, maintenance, insurance, and major repairs), you might consider your finances a little differently the next time you’re car shopping.
Needs vs. Wants: Impulse purchases can have a damaging effect on your budget. Take time to carefully consider each purchase you make and decide whether it is something you need or simply something that you want. Do you really need to upgrade your smartphone to the latest model? Probably not. Start avoiding purchases that are merely wants and not things that you truly need.
Save First: The final way to cut back on spending is to force yourself to save, essentially saving before you start spending. Each week you have got to put away some money. It does not matter if you save $50 per paycheck or just $10. Sticking to this habit will not only limit the rest of the money you can spend, it will get you thinking a lot more about the money you do have and exactly how you are spending it.