Check out the latest post which is a guest post by Elena which gives you tips when attempting to cut your budget. Please see her bio at the end of the article.
When you are barely making ends meet, it is critical that you implement a strict budgeting system to manage your expenses and, ideally, save money at the end of the month. Like all other plans, financial planning requires some homework. That is why you need to keep track of your expenses even before you start controlling them. Get to know about all your expenses and your spending habits for at least one month. Monitor where the bulk of your money is going apart from your mortgage, rent and grocery bills.
Include all purchases big and small and take them into account at the end of the month. Carry a small notebook with you to jot down every detail so that you don’t skip anything. You can also benefit from several mobile apps to have a financial budget app right in your pocket. This way, updating your expenditure list will be trouble-free.
If you observe that your finances dramatically exceed your income, drastic measures must be taken immediately. For instance, getting additional work on the weekends, or taking up a part-time job can add more to your monthly income. Selling stuff or putting up property for rent can be other beneficial ways of earning more. Other options might include relocating to a cheaper state or motivating yourself to control your expenses can help you stick to your budget without making too many unnecessary sacrifices.
Check out these other posts that may help you to make extra money when trying to cut your budget:
- 17+ Ways to Make Extra Income in 2017
- 10 Unique Ways to Make $250 this Month
- 10+ Online Side Hustles to Make Extra Cash Quickly
Here are some important ways you can cut your budget when there is nothing left to cut:
Let Go Of Guilt
The first step starts with your mindset. Stop feeling guilty and forget the mistakes you have made in the past. You may have lost thousands of dollars or may be struggling with debt due to a couple of bad decisions you have made in the past. However, the first step towards the journey of financial freedom should be to forgive yourself.
This is honestly the hardest one of the hardest parts. I have been there. Feeling guilty for myself for making stupid money mistakes. The great thing is though, you can always turn around your financial situation.
Download a Budget Management App
When you automate your transactions, savings, and investments, you are likely to make fewer mistakes along the way. Download a budgeting app to automate tracking your expenses, such as bills, payments, investment, charity donations, and grocery bills.
My favorite application for money management is Mint.com. Mint.com allows you to link all of your bank accounts, credit cards, retirement accounts, etc… and it will keep track of your finances for you. It even organizes your spending into categories. This is especially helpful when you are trying to cut your budget. For example, my goal was to spend less on food and alcohol each month. With the tracking in Mint.com, I was easily able to check on the status of my goal.
There are several ways to automate your billing and financial management processes. Learn to automate all your online bills and enable email alerts so you can be easily up to date with any recent financial changes. In addition, you can automate alerts from your credit report so that you know if any changes have been made right away.
You can choose to automate your bills and saving directly through an app or you can even set it up directly through your bank account. I love using Qapital to automate my saving because it is a free tool and I never even notice the money is gone.
Related: 4 Best Apps to Automate Saving
You need to monitor your budget closely and regularly. Set a weekly time when you can reflect on how much you have saved or spent in the past week.
Personally, I like to do this every Sunday evening. It is a nice way to reflect on the previous week and plan accordingly for the next week. Although you may have a standard budget, things happen where more money is spent during certain weeks. For example, more money may be spent when a holiday or family birthday is approaching.
Work Towards a Goal
You can’t reach a goal when you haven’t set one. Set a realistic financial goal with a deadline that is achievable. There is no sense in setting goals which are too difficult to attain or a deadline that is far from being practical.
For example, a goal may be to save 3 months of your expenses in order to fully fund your emergency fund over 12 months. Once that goal is set, you can calculate how much money you need to save each month in order to reach the goal.
You can also have fun goals! A goal may be that once you stick to your budget for 3 months in a row, you will make a small splurge or even try one of these free activities that you haven’t done in a while like a free concert in the park or visiting a museum.
Procrastination is the root of most problems people face today. Don’t delay something which needs immediate attention and that includes your money matters too. Have you been paying for a subscription you hardly use? Do you own a car that you don’t use for commuting? Differentiate between your needs and wants to know what you should keep and what needs to go out.
This is another big one! It is easy to ignore the fact that you may need to make changes; however, the longer you ignore the problem the more time that it can get worse.
Give Yourself an Allowance
Regardless of your monthly budget, allocate some money for your weekly expenses. This will help you stick to a fixed amount instead of going overboard and spending thousands of dollars shopping for unwanted accessories. Leave your credit card at home and just take your weekly allowance with you. You will be surprised to see how much more you end of buying with this allowance.
When it comes to my spending money, I like to use cash. The reason that I like to use cash is because once the cash runs out I know my spending is also done. In addition, personally, it really makes me realize how much money I am spending.
After you Cut your Budget, Reward Yourself
We are humans and we like appreciation, even if we have to do that on our own. Encourage yourself to save at least something at the end of the month and reward yourself with some part of this ‘saving fund’ after every six months. Give yourself something special or look forward to something that you always wanted but couldn’t manage because of your budget. Just make sure you don’t blow all your savings on rewarding yourself.
Choose Your Own Way
There are a few ways to go about your budgeting strategy. Some may choose to use cash while others cannot stay away from using their credit cards. An interesting way to replace credit cards is to shop with your debit card. This way, you can also keep track of all expenses made through it. Do not abandon the good old method of using envelopes to put money in every category yet.
The key is to make your budget in a personal way so you can monitor your expenses and save money. Find a method that works for you and stick to it to reap the many benefits of cutting and stick to a budget.
You may enjoy these other posts about saving money:
- 9 Simple Ways to Save Money While Eating Out
- How to Save More Money This Year
- How I Save 50% of My Income
Bio: Elena is the Content Marketing Writer at Malta Real Estate, responsible for managing the content calendar and contributing to the creation of Sotheby’s Realty’s free educational materials, such as blog articles, eBooks, and webinars.
How have you chosen to cut your budget when it appears there is nothing left to cut?
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