Sometimes even the smallest things can make a big difference, especially when it comes to your budget. No matter how well laid your plans may be those little variances can really break the bank. If you’re finding it tough to keep on track or can’t figure out exactly where the funds are seeping, read on for seven tips on beating the budget breakers:
- Pack a lunch. You’ve probably heard this one before – and for good reason! Bringing your own lunch and snacks to work can be easily added to your daily routine and can save you a ton of cash, especially if you do this consistently over time.
- Skip the java. We’ve all faced the 3 p.m. drowsiness when we need a little boost to get through the rest of the day. Instead of dashing out for a $2 coffee, make a habit of brewing it at work, if you can. Bonus savings if you can avoid doling out for your caffeine before work by bringing your morning pep from home.
- Make a list. Having a list prepped (and sticking to it!) when you’re going grocery shopping is invaluable. It will save you time while you’re shopping and stop you from buying things you didn’t need, didn’t really want, or that were just plain tempting. Also be sure to do a quick check of your fridge and cupboards before putting together your list.
- Start saving. Setting aside money on a regular basis can protect your budget in case of emergencies and unexpected or even forgotten irregular expenses. There are bank accounts now designed to help you save by rounding your transactions and putting the extra funds into a separate account. Don’t be afraid to ask your bank about how they can help you become a saver. If the answer isn’t to your satisfaction, then consider changing banks.
- Ignore the sale. Yes, you read that right. All too often we see a sale and immediately feel tempted to buy because ‘it’s such a good deal’ – even if it wasn’t previously on our spending radar. Unless you’re already in the market for whatever is on special, just move along.
- Read the fine print. When signing up for something new such as a bank account, credit card or loyalty program, be sure to check the small print. You don’t want to find that your great new plan came with membership or user fees you weren’t expecting. It’s also a good idea to check your current agreements to see if they still fit your needs so you aren’t continually paying for more than you require.
- Go local. Libraries, municipal facilities and community programs are everywhere! Instead of forking out for books and DVD rentals, try your local library. It doesn’t cost a penny, but just be sure to return everything on time. Looking to start a new hobby or find a new gym? Check out community centers in your area –they generally offer a wide selection at very reasonable prices.
It’s not always a splashy night out or an impromptu shopping trip that throws a budget off kilter, sometimes it’s the little things that count. Once you’re able to nip them in the bud, both you and your budget will breathe easier.