It’s funny for many years we never lived on any sort of strict budget. We had enough money and that was that…. but when our businesses went south and my husband was unemployed for a year we really needed to make some big changes. I picked up Dave Ramsey’s “The Total Money Makeover” and really took to it. My husband read it, too and we decided to go on a strict, written budget and start paying cash for almost everything.
Living on a budget really is the key to financial freedom, but I know that getting started can be frustrating. When we looked at our expenses and saw all of those bills we were paying every month, we could have thrown our hands up. And those little expenses we were incurring? It was crazy how they added up.
It’s easy to dismiss cutting back on little things. You might think few dollars a month won’t make a significant difference to the big picture. But those small purchases here and there add up to more than a few more dollars. You can cut back in many small ways and end up with a lot more money at the end of the month.
Just the simple change of starting to spend cash really helped us to stop overspending.
Also See : How to Organize a Coupon Binder
Cut Down on Waste
Stop wasting so much. From eating to home heating, waste equals money going down the drain unnecessarily.
Cooking for the family instead of eating takeout or dining out is a great way to start saving money. But if you’re throwing food out, the benefit is reduced. If you have leftovers, don’t let them end up in the trash. Some dishes freeze well, and this makes for easy dinners when you don’t have time to cook. And my husband loves taking leftovers to work- it can be a great alternative to a cold sandwich.
If your home is not well insulated, you’re most likely wasting money on home heating and cooling. Insulating will cost some money up front, but it will pay for itself quickly. If you can’t insulate or are not ready to but still have drafts around windows and doors, weatherstripping is is great start and can help maintain the temperature of your home.
Most households waste a crazy amount of electricity. This can be prevented partly by using energy efficient appliances and light bulbs. But make sure you turn lights, televisions, computers and other devices off when you’re not using them. Also remember to open blinds to take advantage of the sun’s light during the day during the summer and close the curtains and blinds in the winter. And if you don’t use an appliance often, just unplug it altogether.
Any time you pay someone else to do something that you could do yourself you are spending money unnecessarily (unless you take that time to go out and somehow earn more money that it cost for the repair). This can apply to little things like buying coffee instead of making your own and larger expenses like home repairs.
We all sometimes buy coffee or a soft drink from a convenience store or Starbucks on the way to work in the morning. But this can add up over time if you are doing it too often. Instead, make your own coffee, or buy soda in 2-liter bottles and pour some into a smaller bottle or cup to take with you. And instead of buying lunch take a sandwich or leftovers to work.
We are not all good at all types of repairs and maintenance but most of us can do some things for ourselves. You might be able to change your own oil instead of paying someone else to do it. When the walls need painting, why don’t you get friends and family help you do it instead of hiring a painter. You’ll just need to serve lunch.
Things like these can save us a noticeable amount of money right away.
When you add up the savings, the little things can make a big difference to your budget. Take a close look at your spending and see what small expenses are lurking in there. If you can eliminate or reduce them, it could positively impact your bank account. Get creative- I know you can do it.
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