When the end of the month comes around, do you have less money in the bank than you were expecting? Where’d the money go? Did you save it or spend it?
When you are looking to save money for an investment or a big expense like a vacation, car or home, you need to implement money management tips. Remember that managing your money doesn’t mean you have to give up your entire life, it just means that you have to be a little more mindful of your cash flow.
1. Budget Your Eating Expenses
When you’re looking at where you spend your money, you might be surprised that so much of it is spent on take-out or restaurants. It all adds up!
* Limit the number of times you go out every week and start planning your menus when you cook at home. This will make a huge difference in your grocery bill.
2. Map Out Your Expenses
For a month, write down everything you buy. Don’t worry about obsessively reviewing it every day, but take the time to make it accurate. You’ll find that there are plenty of unnecessary purchases you can eliminate from your budget without thinking twice.
* This is a great way to track your cash expenses, which includes all the times you stop for coffee, go out for lunch, or stop by the dry cleaners. Write down every penny spent and review it the end of each month.
3. Pay Your Bills on Time
This goes without saying, but keep in mind that missing your payments on your bills will make the late fees pile up. This should also be a reminder to make sure that you return your library books or DVD rentals on time.
* Set up automatic bill payments and you’ll never have to worry about late fees again.
4. Reduce Unnecessary Services
One of the most common money-wasters is paying for services you really don’t need. For example, how many television channels do you really watch? Chances are good that there are a few dozen channels you simply never turn to. If you can get rid of some of your programming, you just may find that you’ll have some extra cash at the end of the month.â€¨
* Call your telephone, television, and wireless phone companies and ask if your plan is the most cost effective. If you don’t use call waiting or text messaging, don’t pay for it.
5. Reduce Driving
With the skyrocketing prices of gas, try alternate methods of transportation, especially for frequent or shorter trips. Get a bike, try the bus or train when you travel, or walk if you’re heading somewhere closer. Take some time and really analyze where your gas money is going.
* If you can’t use public transportation to get to work, consider carpooling with someone else in your company. This reduces the wear and tear on your car and will save you gas money, especially if three or four people share the ride. Also try grouping your errands all at once so you can get it all done in one trip.
Get Your Family Involved
Saving money and using these money saving tips will be easier if you have your whole family on board, supporting the effort together. After all, these are good money lessons to teach children of all ages.
Don’t be intimidated with the idea of saving money. Just by implementing a few of these tips each month – and sticking with it – will help you keep more money in your bank account!