Get More Bang from Your Bucks!

Published on Thursday, January 20, 2011 in ,

Let’s face it. Some of our urges leave us trendy but penniless, and in hindsight, so many of our impulsive spending doesn’t make cents at all!  Sticking to a budget is not always an easy task, but sooner or later we all have to buckle down and manage our money before it manages us so here are a few tips I’ve learned that have helped me build my savings while splurging a little every now and then.

State the Facts and Just the Facts. 
First off, where is your money going? Most of us already have an online banking account. Log on and print out last month’s banking statement. Then start highlighting all the expenses and withdrawals you made that are NOT recurring bills that appear in your budget. Did you eat out too much when you could’ve been cooking? What do you splurge on? What can you cut back on? Be serious when answering that last question, and most of all be willing to follow through!

Know when to hold them, and when to fold them! 
Put your deck of cards in a safe place, and leave! The ATM card, credit card, and whatever else you have in HEAVY rotation has no place in your wallet or purse unless you’re about to make a big ticket purchase that you planned well in advance for. Toting plastic is risky business. You're bound to see everything you like and nothing you don't. It's just too easy to swipe without realizing that "wreckless swiping" will not only burn holes through your pants pockets but also through your bank account if you let it spiral out of control.

Have a stash of petty cash. I know I just said don’t carry your precious cards so just what do you carry then? Cash, of course. Realistically, look at your budget, and decide how much money you want to save every month. Take the extra money that’s left over after you subtract your bills and your savings and divide it evenly by four or five (depending on how many Fridays there are in the month). Then on every Friday you will have your “expense fund” to carry around with you for that week. You can choose to save up for something more expensive or use it for entertainment purposes like going out to movies with friends.

It always pays to fit the bill. Make sure you’re all caught up on all of your bills. Figure out a way to do this as soon as possible. Paying more because the bill is late is pointless. It didn’t get me any extra electricity or upgrade my cable. Instead, I’m doing the company a favor not my wallet. Once everything is caught up try to schedule your payments to automatically draft from your bank account as well. Word of caution, though. Be careful not to go over your projected estimate for your bills. Water bills, cable, and internet are pretty consistent, but watch out for that cell bill and electricity bill. I’ve always been told if I went over on a bill, my petty cash had to take care of it…which means even less spending for me :(

Know your limit. Everyone has a moment of weakness every now and then, and we get off track. Your budget is a guideline and so is your bank account. Figure out a personal limit for your bank account that you will never go below. That amount could be $100, $500, or whatever you like it to be, and NEVER GO BELOW IT. If you get close to that number, stop all the extra shopping and revamp your budget to build your saving back up where it needs to be.

I’m sure we’d all agree that money isn’t everything, but all I’m saying is it sure feels good to have some…lol! So make sure you always have a plan in place to manage your funds. Happy savings!


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