New year well underway and your Christmas bills still on your mind? It may be time to take control of your budget before the year gets any further on. Getting on top of your good money habits now will serve you well as the year progresses and set you up for financial success; hopefully you’ll find next year’s Christmas expenses a lot easier to cope with. Below are a few steps for having a budget-friendly month this march. You can also find out more about budgeting your way to wealth from finance experts.
1. Know What You Owe
Ensure you have a very thorough overview of all your debts and expenses so that you know exactly how much you need to cover all your outgoings. If you can, budget a small percentage in for contingencies. Also take note of where you’re spending your funds. Can anything be curtailed or cut back? What is essential? Food, rent, and Wi-Fi? What isn’t? Pay TV or your gym membership? Find out if you can suspend any regular payments in order to corral that money. Can you ‘freeze’ your gym membership for a month? What about your pay TV bill? Can you avoid hiring films or exceeding data limits until the end of the month? Challenge yourself to avoid these excess costs for the month. You might find you don’t really need them and may prefer to cancel those outgoings entirely.
2. Know What You Make
Take all incoming monies into account this month. Think of creative ways to bring in more cash. Can you sell anything you don’t need or are not using? Also look at keeping as much of your income as you can this month. Consider making your own lunch instead of buying it (this can save over $300 a month alone). Try bringing coffee from home in a travel mug too instead of buying a takeaway. Borrowing books and movies from the library can also be a great way to save. Once you join a library (this is free to do), just avoid returning items late and being hit with any fees.
3. Challenge Yourself
Learning to stick to a budget takes discipline and practice. Once you’ve set out your savings and/or debt reduction goals for the month and taken the steps to get yourself there, you’ll be surprised at what a little determination can accomplish. Reward yourself with small things when you hit a milestone. Tell your friends and family what you’re aiming to do – get all the support you can – then, when you achieve your goals, you’ll have more people with whom you can celebrate.
Setting a goal to have a budget-friendly month is a worthwhile exercise. Think about a few budgetary measures you’d like to try and give a go for a month. See what, if any, difference they make to your savings and debt levels. Then you can decide if you’d like to incorporate them into your household budget permanently.
Do you have any tips for having a budget-friendly month? Share your money saving tips with others via the comments section below.