Spring Cleaning Finances!
This is a guest post by Carole of Frugal Coupon Living
It’s finally spring – and what better time of the year to review your finances (I promise, this sounds boring, but please hear me out)!
To give you some inspiration, I thought I would share 8 simple ways you can save money and cut back on your spending, especially if you are saving for that much needed summer vacation.
1. Create a budget
If you are serious about saving money, you’re going to need a budget. A budget allows you to focus on where your money will be spent – which is essential for saving money and/or paying off debts. It will also highlight where you’re overspending.
The trick is to make sure that every penny is accounted for (this is called zero-based budgeting, and it works very well). Make sure you set aside money for social activities and anything you may need to buy in the near future, like new clothing for work.
2. Stick to your budget
Creating a budget is the easy part. Sticking to it is a totally different story. At first, you will need to check your budget every day to make sure you are on track. You will make mistakes in the beginning, too – that is inevitable. Just stick with it and eventually, you will get there.
As you get used to sticking to a budget, you won’t have to check it so often – unless you want to. I warn you, though, it gets addictive!
3. Have no-spend days
I personally aim for no-spend day as often as possible. These are days that you don’t spend a single penny on anything. Aiming to spend no money on a given day really gets you to focus and stops you from impulse purchases, such as snacks, your morning coffee or a magazine.
This is stuff that may seem like small, insignificant purchases, but they build up over the month and can really ad up to a lot.
4. Buy in bulk
There may be things in your budget that are expensive treats – this is okay (as long as there aren’t too many of them). Mine is premium coffee, which can be really expensive. Sometimes it will come up half price in the supermarket, so I stock up on this item so it will last me until the next sale cycle.
5. Use coupons
Take advantage of special offers that you can get using coupons. There’s no reason you should be paying full price for groceries when you don’t have to! Also, watch for special promotions and sales on more expensive items, such as home appliances and electronics.
6. Make your own lunch
If you eat lunch out every single day, it might only seem like a small amount each time you make a purchase, but these numbers really start to add up. By bringing in your own lunch (and snacks), it will stop you from spending money on high-priced food. This is a great way to use up leftovers from meals in the week that would often get thrown away.
7. Drink water
Drinking water is not only cheaper than any other beverage out there, but it’s healthier. I don’t mean buy bottle water, either – I’m suggesting you bring your own. It is well worth you buying a decent container (such as a Brita pitcher) and refilling it at the sink.
8. Eat in, not out
One of the romantic meals you can have is a picnic on a nice summer day. Alternatively, you could have a barbecue on the beach – or your backyard. The point is, you don’t have to visit expensive restaurants to enjoy good food.
If the weather isn’t very nice, invite some friends over for a meal. It will cost you less than it would in a restaurant, plus your friends will likely repay the favour one day!
Cutting back doesn’t have to be boring or limiting. It can actually be really fun once you get the hang of it!
Cutting back simply forces you to think about how you spend your money and helps you to spend it on exactly what you need to, instead of getting to the end of the month and not knowing what you spent it all on.
What’s the last thing you cut back on? Let us know in the comments!
This is a guest post by Carole of Frugal Coupon Living, a US-based frugal living blog.