Think managing your finances is a mountain that’s too big to climb? Think again. Finding ways to save money each month is easier than you think. Some of the smallest changes can have the most noticeable impact on your budget. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Try these six tips for the next 30 days and see how a few little changes can make a big difference in your monthly budget.
1. Stop eating out.
We mean it. For 30 days avoid going out to eat for any meals. Try cooking a few new recipes (and making enough for leftovers), packing your lunches and making your morning coffee at home. This might be tough at first, but if you can kick this habit for the entire month, you’ll get a sense of how much money you’re actually spending on eating out. Then, you’re in a better position to decide how to add this luxury back into your routine. You’ll likely find a healthy balance between indulging in a meal out a couple of times each week, and eating out for almost every meal.
2. Monitor your electricity bill.
This might be even easier as spring approaches and the weather warms up. On nice days, try turning off your air conditioner and opening windows for fresh air. If you’re chilly, think about grabbing a blanket or slipping on a pair of socks before adjusting the heat in your home. It’s a simple fix, but finding ways to stay comfortable without adjusting your thermostat is better for your wallet than you might think.
3. Drive responsibly.
In addition to being unsafe, aggressive driving like sudden acceleration or rapid breaking wastes gas. You can extend the fuel efficiency of your vehicle by respecting the speed limit, driving sensibly and maintaining basic vehicle maintenance like keeping your tires inflated and changing your oil routinely. And when possible, consider alternative modes of transportation like walking, biking or using public transportation. This lifestyle adjustment isn’t just fiscally responsible; it’s environmentally friendly as well.
4. Put a cap on your monthly splurges.
Are you used to getting a manicure every other week? Try cutting back to once a month. Do you typically buy tickets for concerts or sporting events on the weekends? Look for other ways to enjoy them, like watching them online or on television with friends. Be creative in the ways you choose to spend your free time so you’re limiting the impact on your wallet.
5. Consolidate where you can.
Do you have multiple paid subscriptions for entertainment like movies, television shows or music? Take the time to list out all of the accounts you use to access different forms of media and determine whether you need to keep all of them. For example, if you’re paying for cable and Internet streaming subscriptions, you might decide that these services overlap and you can eliminate one or more from your monthly budget.
6. Use debit to track your daily spending.
Using debit has many benefits, one being the ease with which you can track your day-to-day spending. Make sure to check your account at least once each week (and perhaps even more frequently). Keeping an eye on your daily finances will illuminate areas where you can reduce frivolous spending. When you feel the urge to make an impulsive purchase, you’ll know how much – or how little – is left in your account, which will help you make the best decision.