Everyone wants to make more money to save more money – it’s just something Americans strive to do to create a better life. But sometimes, life gets in the way of the saving money and working with a budget. It’s not uncommon to run into a snag here and there, and need a bit of help along the way.
While you do have options like cash advance loans and pay day advances when your bills become too much, it’s always a good idea to practice budgeting and saving when you can. If you make a conscious effort to budget your spending, you may need to borrow less if any emergency situation ever comes up. Saving money isn’t easy when responsibility comes knocking, but there are a few simple things you can do to start a budget:
Save Your Receipts
Think about how many times you swipe your credit or debit card at the store and decline when the cashier asks if you want a receipt. Or, how many times do you grab that receipt and promptly toss it in the trash? With online access to bank accounts and spending logs, people are less inclined to save their receipts. Who really needs more junk taking up space in their wallet or purse?
To really embrace the idea of a budget, you need to be aware of what you’re spending. Sure, you can log in to your bank account later, but the accountability of the purchase is immediate with a receipt. The first step to any money saving venture is to become conscious of your spending. You’ll probably end up surprised about where your money is really going.
Write Down Every Purchase
Saving every receipt from every purchase you make isn’t enough. If you don’t do something with all of those receipts, they’ll just end up overtaking your junk drawer. So, take your new receipt-saving habit one step further and keep a log of those receipts. Yes, we mean grab a notebook and a pen, and copy those receipts down into a log.
When you hand-write information, you tend to be more aware and remember what you’ve written. If you actually take the time to transfer that receipt to paper by hand, you’re practicing a budgeting mindfully. This means your budget, spending frequency, habits, and more will consciously stay in your mind, rather than getting lost in the excuse of “I’ll check my account later.”
Cut Out The Excess
After you’ve started to save those receipts and keep a hand-written spending log, you can start to cut out the excess. After a week of recording your spending, sit down with your log and see where your money is really going. Seeing how much money you spend on needless things can be the wakeup call you need to kick your budget into high-gear.
Then, start to cut out excess spending. If you stop for a latte on the way to work every morning, start making coffee to-go at home instead. Keep cutting out one excess spending habit a week until you feel more satisfied with your budget.
Start A Money Jar
If you’re trying you keep your budget in check for an upcoming vacation or event, moving money into a “money jar” can help you save. Moving your money from one place to another essentially becomes the “out of sight, out of mind” practice – if it’s not there, you can’t spend it. So, if you and your friends are going on a trip and you want extra spending money, start putting a few dollars away every week until you meet your goal.
Once you get into the habit of moving your money around (and not touching what you put away) you can make bigger moves! Open a real savings account where you can move money right from your checking account into savings. You can even set automatic money transfers to go into you savings each month!
Budgeting = Preparedness
No matter how hard you try to save and how tight your budget is, you can still run into money emergencies. That’s why you should never rule out the option of cash advances. A good budget will just help you borrow less when it comes down to it!
With these four easy tips, you can create a budgeting habit. Being conscious of your spending is half the battle. The easier you make it budgeting on yourself, the easier the practice will turn into a healthy habit.