I’m sure you are tired of hearing about the economy and its many impacts, but the fact of the matter is that things have been better. The economy has affected many people and has caused many people to have to adjust what they do every day. Whether or not the economy has had a dramatic impact on your finances, it’s never a bad time to evaluate spending habits and look for ways to trim the fat.
Trimming extra expenses, like that new television, is much easier than figuring out ways to save money on the essential items in your life, like food, housing, beer, okay maybe not beer (for some of us). Although some of the tips to help you save money may require you to embrace your inner nerd, they help and they work. Just suspend your need to be cool for a bit, while you increase that bank account.
Set a budget.
I know many people say they have a budget, but for this budget you’ll need more than just a statement and you’ll need to get your hands dirty, something like that anyway. Your first step is to set up a spreadsheet with your income, fixed bills each month, including your credit card. This seems normal, right? Well, let me nerdify it for you. Each month that you are able to save money is a good month, but compete against yourself each month, trying to save more than you have the prior month. In our house, we have an end of the year bracket challenge where we determine the “best” month of the year. (It’s not always the month that we save the most though; it could be months with higher bills and less income (thanks hospital bills and maternity leave) where we are still able to save a good chunk of cash).
Plan your all of your meals for the week. Granted, this isn’t the best way to live a spontaneous life, but when you are on a budget crunch, spontaneity flies out the window. Set aside some time on Sunday (or whatever day works for you) to determine your meals for the rest of the week. First check your cupboards and make a shopping list to fill in the rest of your ingredients. This planning session will assure that you have options each night (Hint: To spice things up and maintain your spontaneous side, give yourself two options on some nights…you crazy thing, you).
These first two steps are a good way to get yourself ready for the big changes that are you are capable of making in your life. As with most things, the best way to prepare yourself to make changes (enhancements, actually) to your life is by taking baby steps. Nobody is going to change your life for you (well, except your significant other), so it’s up to you to take charge and make some adjustments. Part two
, coming soon.
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