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4 Ways to Spend Less Every Month


4 Ways to Spend Less Every Month
By Aurora McCausland

Everyone wants to save more, and spend less. No one is alone in that desire, and yet, so many of us struggle to meet our financial goals every month. After we finish paying our credit card bill, or simply looking at the balance in dismay, we vow to spend less and put more of our money into savings. But then a month later, you find yourself in the same spot, vowing to save more, and then the cycle goes on month after month. If everyone wants to save more, why aren’t we? Is it simply because we don’t know how?

How to set a budget

You’ve been told dozens of times to set a budget. But what does that even entail? People mention setting a budget like it’s an easy task that will instantly deposit thousands of dollars into your checking account and provide you with an enlightened state of mind. If it was truly that simple, no one would be in debt, and our rainy day emergency funds would be plentiful. Since we’re all obviously not in that perfectly budgeted life, there is a lack of understanding on how to budget. 

The first step to set your budget, is to calculate what your necessary expenses are every month. Gas, utilities, rent/mortgage, groceries, and monthly subscription fees. Anything that needs to be paid every month and has a relatively set price, calculate those amounts as accurately as possible. For bills, like gas and groceries, that are a little bit harder to predict, a good rule of thumb is to overestimate how much you’ll spend on these things. It’s better to have a little too much money set aside for these things, than a little bit too little. 

The next step, is to subtract the above expenses from your monthly income. Those are your necessary expenses. And then the next step is to figure out what to do with what is left. 

Don’t trim too much

When we get motivated to save money, we often get a little too excited about it and take things to an extreme. Just like in any aspect of life, if you cut out too much of something, you’ll feel deprived, and then revert back to your old ways. So, as you set your budget, don’t completely cut out going out to eat, or spending money on your spotify subscription. Cut back on these extra outings and expenses, but leave some of them in so you look forward to them and don’t feel deprived. 

Savings

One of the best ways to spend less money, is to save that money instead of spending it. If it’s not sitting in your checking account, you won’t be as willing to spend that money. It’s not as easy to access, and since it takes more effort to spend it, you’re more likely to leave it untouched. 
Most of all, having healthy savings will prevent you from having to react to emergencies by going into debt and taking out risky loans. Learn your limits. If it is easier for you to leave your money untouched in a separate IRA savings, and you feel better about that, then do that. If a regular savings account is what works for you, do that. Find the best way to save, and then don’t touch those savings. 

Make sure that your bills aren’t too high

We all want to spend a little bit less on our bills, right? We all groan when our utility bill arrives in our mailbox, and open it with apprehension. We all know the tricks to lower our bills, right? Turn your lights off when you leave a room, put on an extra sweater instead of turning up the heater, etc. Have you thought about the possibility, though, that you’re wasting resources? Things like having your water heater set unnecessarily high, leaving your heater/AC on when no one is at home, and even something as small as a leaky faucet can cost you, as you can read about here. It can make your utility bill skyrocket in ways that you probably wouldn’t realize. Take a few minutes to check these small things that slowly waste your resources, to see if you can save a few dollars on your next utility bill. 

Guest Post by Christine Hill

Christine is a professional writer and an avid reader who’s passionate about storytelling in any form. At any given moment, she’s in the middle of at least three books on anything from psychology to ninjas. Although she’s a marathon swimmer and enjoys camping in the mountains, she believes there’s nothing better than a carton of ice cream and a Dawson’s Creek marathon. She blogs about marketing here. Follow more of her writing on Twitter @readwritechill.

#Budgeting #ChristineHill #Savings #SpendLess

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