Spending less money and saving more than loose change is often the first personal finance goal of many people. Saving more money and spending less includes a lot of subcategories. You want to get out of debt. You want to save money for any emergencies that may arise. Lastly, you want to save money for retirement. These three things give you financial freedom and comfort in knowing that regardless of the state of the economy, you have the money you need.
Yes, spending less and saving more can be difficult to accomplish, but it is not impossible. In addition, you can achieve this goal without stressing and worry about needing the money right now. The following are some tips to use for stress-free budgeting.
Understand and Know Your Financial Goals
A lot of people want to save money. However, they don’t have an idea of their financial goals. For example, you may think the goal of having a budget is to keep track of every cent you spend. That’s wrong. Yes, you need to keep track of where your money is going such as the extra cup of coffee you purchased on Monday or paying for movie tickets.
The goal of budgeting is to control your spending. By controlling your spending you spend less and only pay for needed things. Remember, understand that your budget controls the money going out because you’re only paying for needed things.
Watch What You Spend Each Week
Before you begin budgeting to save money, track what you spend. If you can, do this for 30 days consecutively. This means that each week you should write down what you paid for such as dinner, bill or that extra latte.
The purpose of watching your spending is to obtain valuable information on your spending habits. Do you spend more money that you should after you pay your credit card bill? Do you save your cash and use credit on things you don’t need? These are the type of questions you’ll find out when you track your spending for a month. If you can’t keep track of your spending for 30 days, try one week. You’ll still be surprised by your spending patterns.
Use Categories Instead of Trying to Write Everything Down
Many people use a diary to keep track of their spending. However, you don’t have to drive yourself crazy writing down every time you spend money. Instead, use spending categories. Why? Well, knowing how much money you spend on coffee or gas is interesting, but it won’t stop you from understanding your behavior.
Besides, most people spend too much money on specific things. Some examples of categories people overspend on include clothes, eating at restaurants, entertainment and electronics. You may have the same spending issues or different ones. Choose three categories where you spend too much money and like to spend less. Monitor how much money you spend in those three categories. This will help you create a budget where you are saving money without stressing.
Try a Plan that Helps You Save Money
This takes a little work and research. There are a lot of budgeting plans available to help you save money. However, they may not fit your needs and your ability to keep following them. That’s why it’s important to find the plan that works for you. One plan is spending half your income on your necessities. This means your utilities, rent and other bills. You split the other 50 percent on your lifestyle such as entertainment and long term savings.
Another plan is to have a portion of your paycheck automatically go into another account that you don’t have access. This could be a savings account without an ATM card. You save the money you’d typically spend on those three categories by placing that money in an account you can’t touch.
Save Money at the Beginning of the Month
It’s always important to remember the first rule of budgeting: save money by spending less. Many people choose to save money at the end of the money. For example, they take a specific amount of money out of their last paycheck and put it into the bank. That’s the wrong approach. It’s important to put the money away during the first of the month. Move the money from your checking into your savings and save more by spending less. How? You don’t have access to the money.
Implement a No-Spend Day Each Week
Decide what day of the week you won’t spend any money on things that aren’t necessary. Yes, you read correctly. Pick a day where you spend absolutely no extra money. If your latte is an extra expense, then every Monday you won’t buy a latte. The purpose is to keep you within your budget. You spend less on this day, to save more. If you are really serious about not spending money, you’ll pick a month to only spend money on the necessities. You’ll be surprised about how much you save.
Decide How Much Money You Need to Save for Emergencies
Emergencies happen. The last place you want to go is to a lender or payday place that will charge you a high percentage for a loan. That’s why it’s important to decide how much you need in an emergency fund and fund it. If your emergency fund is $300, you can put $10 away or a different amount until it is funded. Don’t touch the money unless you encounter an emergency.
Spending Less to Save More is Achievable
Whether we’re in a booming economy or stressed financial times, three things are important. You need to have an emergency fund, save for retirement and get out of debt. By saving money, you can pay more on your debts such as credit card bills. You can also put money away for retirement. The best part is that you will have money in the bank. This means you won’t be living from paycheck-to-paycheck.