Do you have a nagging feeling that your personal expenses are out of control? If so, you’re like many other working adults who want to rein in their monetary outflow in order to save more. But, questions about saving aside, plenty just don’t like the idea of wasting money and want to get a handle of their day-to-day spending habits. It’s a noble goal, and one that is well within reach. What are the specific things you can do right now to begin to better manage all those personal expenses? Here are six ideas that can go a long way toward changing your financial life for the better.
Limit Daily Spending
For a number of days in a row, pay close attention to every penny you spend. Most people are shocked at how much money dribbles out of their life for non-essential items like snacks at convenience stores, impulse buys in the grocery aisle, online purchases that are simply feel-good consumption. The question is can you limit your daily money outflow? Decide to avoid the places where you waste money, whether that means bypassing the morning stop at the quickie-shop, giving up the pricey coffee at lunch, or avoid online shopping where you tend to make fast, uninformed purchases.
Understand Your Income Sources and Amounts
The old saying to know thyself comes in handy in a lot of ways. For budgeting, it’s a great rule for getting the process underway. What does it mean? It’s about knowing where every dollar of your money comes from. Before reining in the outflow, we must know what’s coming in, where it’s coming from, and how frequently it arrives. For instance, if you have one paycheck that is direct deposited every second Friday, this step is easy.
But there’s a bit more to it than that. The other side of the issue is finding other sources of income, even via borrowing. For instance, you can take out a personal loan as a first step to get all your finances in order. Loans can be the ideal way to pay off high credit card bills, consolidate lots of small, nagging obligations into a single package, and utterly simplify your entire financial life. Keep in mind that personal loans with low monthly payments are problem-solvers for millions of families and working adults.
Make a Detailed Expense List
In addition to knowing where every one of your dollars comes from, you need to know where each one goes after you earn it. Except for what you save or invest, it all gets spent somewhere. Write down a name for each expense category in your life, leaving nothing out. Don’t worry about amounts until you have all the items listed.
Cleanse Unnecessary Expenses from Your Budget
Now that you know what’s coming in, what’s going out, and what some of the daily drip is coming from, this step is simple. Draw a thick black line through each unnecessary item on the expense list. Some common examples include iced coffee at convenience stores ,making your own at home and seeing how much money will be saved, vitamin water at gym cafe (bring a bottle of water with you), and weekly lottery tickets (don’t pay the voluntary tax).
Create an Accurate, Comprehensive Monthly Budget
All the previous steps were preparation for building a detailed monthly budget. This will become your master plan for managing all the money in your life from the moment it is under your control until it’s either spent, saved, or invested. The key word for this task is detailed. Create a line item for every source and use of income. Don’t leave anything out.
Keep a Spending Log
Even after you build the budget and begin using it, don’t forget to do random check-ups on yourself just to make sure the plan is working. In order to avoid spending your money on valueless products, always follow the product reviews and recommendations, before buying something. Pick a week at random and carry a daily spending log with you. Use a smartphone or an actual note card. Log every penny that leaves your pocket, whether via cash, credit, or debit. At the end of the week, see if you are actually living by your budget. Make adjustments to your behavior as necessary and repeat this task every few months just to keep a lid on useless purchases and budget leaks.