There was a time in my life where I had nothing in my savings account. I was bad at budgeting my money and spent it all every month. I pretty much hit rock bottom and realized that things had to change. I started saving a few bucks from each paycheck, and things began to get better. If any of you Dinks are in this situation, I want you to realize that you can change your habits and start saving more money.
One of the hardest disciplines there is in the world today is learning how to save money. For many people, it is essential that they find ways to save. While many things can be done to reach their budget goals, learning how to do it better is always needed. Some things can help you accomplish your goals.
Monitor your spending
Monitor your spending habits for two months. This should give you a clear image of spending habits you might have. You will find out where you are most likely to succeed and likely to fail. I saw the good, the bad, and the ugly when I started monitoring my money. Problem areas will become evident. Make sure that you are honest in your assessment.
Separate essentials and non-essentials
The next thing that you need to do is separate your essentials from non-essentials. Realize that in tough economic times you might be going through, that you may have to go without certain things. Choices will have to be made between items that you usually wouldn’t even question buying. What will always help you make decisions is by honestly answering the question if it is essential or not?
What can be downgraded?
Ask what can be downgraded. If you are used to buying certain brands that are more expensive, ask yourself what the real benefit is in opting for the more expensive version. A lot of times the items are the same. It is rare that there is enough of a drop off in quality to warrant paying more for. You should do this for everything from cars to electronics to food. Also, treat stores in the same way. Is there really a benefit to shopping at Macy’s instead of shopping at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s?
Set up a budget. Break it down into simple categories and have it be something that is realistically attainable. Look at it, in the same way, one would a diet. In making a budget and creating a diet plan for yourself you are altering habits that may have been around for a long time. You may have to make sacrifices to reach your goals.
Give yourself room to play
This is vital. You should try to give yourself a little wiggle room so that you can buy the occasional treat. For dieters, many will find more success by rewarding them with things not on their list of foods to eat. In trying to meet your budget, you will find it easier to stick with if you allow yourself a little extra luxury item. Keep it within reason and don’t let it destroy what you worked so hard to accomplish.
Review your budget
Review your budget from time to time. Look at where you succeeded and where you didn’t. We are all human meaning that we all make mistakes from time to time. Find areas that you could do better in and lower the bar for yourself, each time making it more of a challenge.
When you learn how to save money, you will usually find that there are ways that you can do better. Turn your goal of saving money into a lifestyle. Keep seeking ways to improve your spending habits, and you will find long-term results that will have you in better shape in ant situation that comes along.