With the influx of seemingly never ending bills, medical insurance, grocery bills and big-ticket items, it can sometimes be a struggle to know how best to save and spend your money. Some things are deemed a necessity. You need a roof over your head so pay your rent or mortgage every month. You need to be warm. You need food on the table. And you need some form of transportation to get from A to B. However after you’ve paid for these necessities every month, your disposable income may look woefully low. If you are finding it difficult to source any additional cash, it’s time to take a look at your budget.

There are many ways in which you can revolutionize your spending habits. By being a little more financially astute and shopping around for the best bargains, you could find yourself with more cash in your pocket come the end of the month. You’ll be encroaching less into your overdraft and the stresses created by financially tight times will become a thing of the past. Take a look at these ways you can make your money go further.

Budget

If you don’t have a budget, you need to start formulating one now. Creating a simple spreadsheet and detailing each and every incoming and outgoing will clarify your pattern of expenditure. You’ll soon be able to see that the caramel latte on a Friday morning as a treat is no longer a necessity. Three dollars saved each week equals over $150 a year: it soon stacks up. Ensure that you list every single thing that you buy down to the packet of chewing gum you bought at the gas station. It’s surprising how all of these minute items can add up to big savings.

Once you have a comprehensive list of your monthly financial habits, it’s time to start the cull. Although it sounds harsh, this will streamline your spending and increase your savings power. While the first month or two may seem a bit of a hard slog, as you start to see little savings here and there, and you get into the habit of using your budget spreadsheet as a working document, you’ll be more inclined to stick with the program and see your spending habits mature.

Big Ticket Items

There will come a time when a big ticket item becomes less of a luxury and more of a necessity. Take vacations for example. Two weeks in the sun sitting on some exotic island while the kids go off and play may seem idyllic and a little bit frivolous when it comes to your spending. However, if you haven’t had a holiday in over five years, a vacation will be needed to unwind, regenerate those batteries and return to normality refreshed and ready to go.

 

Never take out more credit when you are tempted to cough up for a vacation, a new car or a brand new showhome style kitchen. You need to master the art of saving for these items. While it may take you a few months, the saving will be worth it as you can then pay for the big ticket item up front and without the specter of debt hanging over your head. Credit cards are great for emergencies but should not be used on a regular basis. It’s all too easy to become seduced by your credit limit, max out your card and then find yourself with ridiculously high monthly payments to merely pay back the interest you owe. Instead, go down the harder yet more fruitful road of saving for those items you want for your family.

Interest-free credit deals can be an option as this gives you the opportunity to get a new sofa, new carpet or new bedroom suite and pay back what you owe over the course of a year or two. Being interest-free means you only pay back the cost of the item, nothing more.

Sources Of Cash

Consider if you can expand your repertoire of income sources. While your full-time employment may be the number one avenue down which you find money entering your bank account, you may also want to branch out. If you have another skill such as crafts, the arts or computer coding, you could decide to create a sideline income from these talents. People could pay you by cash or check or online, and as long as you keep a record and abide by all relevant tax legislation, you could boost your bank balance.

Cashing checks can be a bit of a minefield, but all of your questions are answered here, explaining why a simple trip to the supermarket to pick up your grocery shopping could also turn into an opportunity to change your checks into cold hard cash. You may then wish to forego putting the food shopping onto your card, and build a routine of cashing a check and then paying for your shopping. As a sole trader, there’s no need for a business bank account, and you have more freedom with how and when you can spend your hard-earned cash.

Switch It Up

More and more states are now allowing their citizens the freedom to choose their utility suppliers. If you use an obscene amount of electricity and gas in your home, you want to be able to control who you are giving your money to for the privilege. Don’t simply stay with the same provider because it’s the easy option; it could also be the most costly one. Shop around and see if there are any introductory deals or tariffs that could see you move supplier.

The same goes for your cell phone contract and the brand of cereal you buy. Human beings are inherently creatures of habit, but that is not always conducive to sound financial sense. Try out different options. While the more budget-friendly granola isn’t all that palatable, the cheaper monthly charge for your electricity certainly will be.

When it comes to your utilities, make sure you use them wisely. The thirty-minute showers will cost you money as will the thermostat being turned up to 25 degrees centigrade and lights being left on in the house when not needed. Be a little more sensitive to the needs of your household, don’t become complacent and do your bit for the environment at the same time.

Saving money is hard to do, especially with forever advancing technology, gadgetry and other non-essential yet aesthetically pleasing items available to seduce us. By formulating a budget, sticking to it, and having a financially astute brain, you can find numerous ways of saving money and becoming more financially secure.

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