Whether you’re new to managing your money or you’re looking to make some improvements, there are several steps you can take to save money and live better. The first step is to keep a running tally of your expenses. After you’ve figured out your budget, you can start taking action to reduce your spending on things you don’t need. For example, you can try to avoid the drive-thru, make freezer meals, and reduce your spending on cigarettes and alcohol. The next step is to let your friends and family know what you’re working on and how you plan to meet your goals.
1 – Write down expenses
Keeping track of your expenditures will give you an idea of where your hard earned cash is going. For starters, you might be interested in tracking your expenses with a spreadsheet or similar software. This allows you to quickly review your spending habits and make adjustments as necessary. When tasked with the task of tracking your cash, it can be a bit overwhelming, especially when you have multiple sources of income. The more efficient you are, the more money you’ll have in your pocket at the end of the month.
Keep in mind that some expenses are best left in the dark. A good rule of thumb is to list the items you can’t live without, like rent, and the ones you can, like food, clothing and entertainment. Having a handle on your spending habits can help you prioritize and budget accordingly. The best part? You’ll also be on the lookout for the best bargains in town.
Keeping a spreadsheet or similar software is the best way to go about this task, as it allows you to quickly review your spending habits and makes adjustments as necessary. When tasked with a task of this magnitude, it can be a bit overwhelming, particularly when you have multiple sources of income.
2 – Automate saving
Getting your finances automated to save for a better future is an excellent way to keep your nest egg intact. Even one percent of your salary can create a financial cushion for the future. You can set aside a lump sum out of your paycheck, or use special apps to save small amounts throughout the month. You can then use your leftover money to pay your bills, or spend it in other ways.
Saving money isn’t always easy, and it can be a challenge to keep up with bills and impulse purchases. A good way to automate your finances is by creating a financial plan. You can include the amount of money you want to save, as well as how you want to invest it. You don’t have to be a financial expert to make a financial plan, and it doesn’t take much time to start.
A financial plan can be as simple as listing your monthly expenses, including the amount you want to save for the future. You should also include a savings account that contains six months’ worth of expenses. The account should also include foreseeable emergencies. Some people set up more than one savings account for different savings goals.
Another way to automate your finances is to use a savings calculator. This calculator will show you the long-term impact of your savings efforts. If you see growth in your account, you are more likely to keep the money in your savings account.
3 – Reduce spending on cigarettes and alcohol
Keeping your wallet lean by cutting back on your cigarette and alcohol consumption is one way to improve your health, mood and overall quality of life. The average cigarette costs $6.25 per pack and you could save a bundle by not buying as many. In addition, reducing your consumption will also improve your cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
The best way to reduce your cigarette and alcohol consumption is to make a conscious effort to do so. This is easier than it sounds and could lead to a healthier and happier you in the long run. Identify a few friends and family members who might be interested in cutting back on their alcohol consumption and make sure to tell them about it. The social benefits of cutting back are well documented and will benefit everyone involved. Having a glass or two of wine can help improve your mood, increase productivity and make you feel more alive. You can also try to plan a few evenings for the entire family to enjoy the company of other adults.
The best way to cut back on your cigarette and alcohol consumption is to take advantage of the many programs available. The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids is one such program that collects data about tobacco use in children. Other programs include the American Cancer Society’s “Tobacco Free Kids” campaign, which is also a worthwhile effort.
4 – Avoid the drive-thru
Besides being an inconvenience to pedestrians, the drive-thru is also one of the biggest contributors to ozone pollution. Thankfully, a new campaign aims to reduce the effects of drive-thrus.
The most obvious way to reduce the impact of a drive-thru is to avoid the one. It’s easy to do. All you have to do is follow simple etiquette, such as turning off your windshield wipers before you get into your car, and you’ll reduce the odds that the staff will get wet. You can also keep the lines moving by hopping into a carpool if possible.
In order to maximize the impact of your order, you should also know how to place your order correctly. The staff will need to enter your order into their computer, which can be a pain if you make a mistake. If you don’t know what to order, you might want to ask the staff for some suggestions.
Another tidbit to consider is the speed of your order. Fast food drive-thrus are notorious for long lines, so speed is key. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a speed of one to two seconds. If you’re really impatient, you can honk your horn to speed things up.
Another way to speed up your meal is to follow the signage. Many drive-thrus have signage that explains what you need to know.
5 – Meal plan and make freezer meals
Whether you’re looking for a way to save money on groceries or to save time and have less stress around meal times, meal planning and making freezer meals can help. With the right meal planning, you can save up to 40% of your monthly grocery budget, and you will save time and reduce the amount of food waste.
The first step to meal planning is to organize your kitchen and refrigerator. After that, you can start shopping for ingredients to use for the recipes you’ve planned. You can also save money by buying in bulk.
There are plenty of recipes you can find online, but you can also get ideas from your family. For example, if your family loves French toast sticks, you can cook a large amount of them and freeze them for later. This way, they can be easily heated on busy weeknights. You can also marinate proteins during the week, and then freeze them in their original state.
You can also find recipes for freezer meals on Pinterest. You can also look for digital coupons to help you save on your food. You can also clip recipes from magazines and newspapers.
You should plan on making two to three weeks worth of meals. These recipes should be labeled with the date you intend to eat them. You should also label the containers you freeze them in with the name of the recipe, and the cooking instructions.
6 – Let friends and family know about saving goals
Managing your money should be a team effort, and sharing a common goal with your spouse or family will go a long way towards reaching it. The best way to get your partners buy in is to create a unified budget and stick to it. A family budget is essential if you’re going to save up for a big trip or that down payment on that dream home.
The best way to do this is to make sure you have a budget that is not too restrictive. You might want to create a separate budget for each family member, and use the family budget to determine which expenses are not essential to your lifestyle. If you have children, make sure you involve them in the planning process. This is a great time to introduce the little ones to the finer points of fiscal responsibility. If you have kids in school, consider asking your teachers to help your family set up a fund to save for their future. This is a win-win, as they will have a little more spending money to work with, and you will have a unified family budget to work with.
A family budget is essential to good financial planning, but the best way to keep your money in check is to be open about it. This includes sharing your goals with your partner and children, and making sure you’re on the same page when it comes to spending.