Just like technology is racing away, so too is inflation. You may find it hard to keep up. Your budget is reaching far into the air and you need help to get control. Are you asking yourself “what can I do to ease my budget?” Check out these 7 tips to help you gain control of your budget.

Turn off all subscriptions.

Sounds radical, right? Please hear me out. First, pull out your bank and credit card statements. Then, take a look at all your subscriptions and turn them all off. You will be amazed at how much money you will save. If there is a subscription you miss, you can always turn it back on again. A word of caution: as soon as you are finished paying for it to turn back on, turn it off again so it does not auto-renew. Make your spending intentional. Who knows, you may even get a better price by using this strategy especially if you pay for subscriptions annually.

Figure out where you overspend & set boundaries to your budget.

It is so easy to figure out where my husband overspends, but me, well that’s a lot harder. If you are not sure where you overspend, ask a friend. Friends are a wealth of information.

Once you know where your weaknesses are, now set up some boundaries. Give yourself a budget for the month. Pay cash for those items where you tend to overspend. Did you know? “Consumers will spend up to 83% more when using a card vs cash.” [Source: Shift Processing] Maybe you feel uncomfortable carrying too much cash around. Here are some other ideas for you to try:

  • You can open a separate bank account and transfer the budgeted amount into it each month. Once the money is gone, you are finished spending for the month.
  • You can get a pre-paid reloadable card and transfer the budgeted amount for the month onto the card.
  • You can purchase gift cards from the store you overspend in for the amount you budgeted for the month.

Be creative about dining out to easy your budget.

Who doesn’t like to dine out? When I had small children at home, I loved to go out to eat–sometimes on a date and other times with the children. It did get expensive, so we had to get creative.

  • Watch the drinks! They add up fast.
  • If you have real little ones, they do not need a kid’s meal. They can eat from your entree.
  • The portions are usually so large. You can either buy one portion and share it or carry it home to use for another meal.
  • There are so many places now where you can purchase family meals. This is a money saver.
  • As the children grew bigger, we would set a limit on the purchase price of their meals. If they really wanted a more expensive item on the menu, they had to cover the difference either with cash or with a chore. It worked out well for all.
  • Look for specials! We loved when Wawa had “Hoagiefest.” At the time, the hoagie was $5.00 and we would split it with two children. They loved it.
  • Try a picnic! And, it doesn’t just have to be your family. You could invite friends. The more the merrier, right? Others can help to offset the cost by bringing food items. Then your focus can be on investing in other people.

You get the idea. I’m sure you can come up with some very original ideas that will work for you.

Make a plan to strategically pay down debt.

Most importantly, prioritize which debt you want to pay down first. The best advice I can give here is to first pay off the debt with the highest interest rates. With interest rates rising, you want to take action on this tip. 

Second, if you are already good at paying down your credit cards,  you can always call your credit card company and request a better interest rate. You will be surprised by how many credit card companies and vendors work with you.

Third, if you have a mortgage and you purchase your home with less than 20% down, you are carrying Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) on your home. You can call to have it removed saving you money each month. You may have to pay for an assessment on your home before they will drop the PMI on your home, but the money you save will probably exceed the amount of the appraisal. It is worth looking into it.

Get more sleep.

Sleep-deprived individuals make impulsive decisions. Think about it. Have you ever had trouble sleeping so you pulled out your phone and started online shopping? Before you knew it, you had a cart full of goodies and now you and the UPS man are on a first-name basis. It happens more often than folks like to admit. A good rule is to never make a big financial decision when you are tired. After you get some sleep, you may feel differently about your purchase.

Make a working plan for spending.

Obviously, you know you will spend money throughout the year. Why not make a reasonable plan to budget your spending? For example, you know you will have birthday and Christmas gifts. Plan a budget for your gift-giving and break it down into a doable monthly budget so that when the time comes you are not spending what you do not have. You can use this same idea for dining out, subscription plans, etc.

Expenses must be lower than income.

This may seem elementary, but so many of us have issues with this one tip. Basically, you may have heard it put this way before, “if your [expenses] exceed your income, then your upkeep will be your downfall.” [Source: The Big Apple]. If you are constantly outspending your income, you need to find a way to bring in more income. You can be creative about it. For example, everyone has stuff they don’t need or use. Find a way to sell it. You have unique skills that others may want and are willing to pay for it. A hobby that sets you apart from others is a great way to earn some extra income. Start somewhere and surprise yourself!

Don’t wait! It is time to take action. Use these 7 tips to help ease your budget nightmares. In fact, you will be happily surprised with how much you are able to gain control and know where your money is going so you can make better decisions in the future.

If you need help with your bookkeeping, you can reach out to Deborah Mawson Bookkeeping. We are happy to give you a helping hand.

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