If you have been wondering how to budget money and be smarter with your expenses, wonder no further. We have you covered with 7 simple tips.
Budgeting has always been an important part of adulthood for most people. Add in the uncertainty of these times, and the idea of budgeting becomes more important than ever. In times of financial uncertainty, it’s important to have a game plan to ensure the overall health and safety of your family. The good news is that whether you have a large amount of savings or none at all, there are things you can do to help get you through these uncertain times. So, if you’re looking for ways to trim your budget in light of these uncertain times, these tips might be just what you need.
*A version of this article first appeared on HoustonOnTheCheap.com
How To Budget Money – 7 Simple Tips To Save
1. Set Your Goals Before You Budget Money
What do you hope to accomplish? How long do you think it’ll take? What are the steps to getting there? All these things are very important to figure out before you set out to budget money. Once you’ve determined what’s important to you, determine what’s feasible in the short, mid, and long term; devise a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely) strategy and a tight budget to achieve it; begin saving, and track your progress.
2. Examine Your Utility Bills
One of the best ways to see lower utility bills is to look at the amount of energy you’re using and to ensure that you’re paying the lowest amount possible for the energy you use. Start by taking an inventory of your energy habits. Is there anything you can unplug? What kind of light bulbs are you using? Do you have a habit of leaving things on when you leave a room? All of these things will help trim your electric bill. Of course, if you’re paying too much for your electricity the change won’t be dramatic.
Real Simple Energy can help to change that. Using this free service allows you to get the help you need to find the cheapest available energy costs for your home. You just choose one of the plans, sign up for free, and let Real Simple Energy do the work. These services help slash electric bills, allowing families to save hundreds of dollars each year!
3. Negotiate Your Credit Debt
If you’re like most people you have credit card debt. You spend a certain amount of money purchasing things, but often the majority of your payment is all about interest. The higher the interest, the more you have to pay and the longer it takes to pay the card off. However, you can contact your credit cards and negotiate lower interest rates. This will work with some cards and not with others, but what do you have to lose in asking? Many cards are happy to lower your rates, especially in a financial crisis. This could help you to save money and to pay off your credit debt faster.
4. Find Unnecessary Expenses
What are you paying for that you could give up if you had to? For example, if you had no money and no way to pay for it, you could live without cable. Maybe you’re a member of a monthly coffee club and it’s time to put your subscription on hold. Many families spend thousands of dollars per year on subscription services that they like, but don’t need. This is a great way to trim the budget and if things improve, you can always continue the subscription later.
5. Call Your Service Providers to Ask for Deals
If you still have cable, one thing you can do is call and ask if they have any promotional pricing. While these deals aren’t made for current customers, most companies aren’t going to let you walk away from your membership without trying to keep you. This can save you some money. Another option is to consider streaming services, which often give you similar content for a price that’s much cheaper.
It’s also a good idea to call your other service providers to negotiate better rates, including your internet service provider and cell phone service provider. Oftentimes, they’ll cut you a deal to keep you from canceling your service.
Don’t want to deal with the hassle of calling all your service providers up and trying to negotiate a better rate? Let someone else do it for you. Billshark is a bill negotiating service that will negotiate lower bills for your phone, internet, and other services on your behalf. You could save 25% on your bills in just 2 minutes. Click here to learn more.
6. Identify Your Needs vs Wants
When creating your budget, look at the most important things first. You have to pay your rent/mortgage and any utilities. Rent is generally a static price, but you can use Real Simple Energy to lower the electric bills. You’ll also need food, water, and household items, and so on. Once you know the price of the necessities you can add in some wants from there. You can also use tools like switching from cable to streaming to save some money and allow you more access to some entertainment in your budget.
7. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
If you’re coming up short even after lowering your energy bills and shaving your budget, seek help if you need to. There are several nonprofits and charities that offer to help with utility bills, rent, and necessities like food. These charities are here to help families that need a little extra support, so use them if you need to.
What budgeting tips have you found yourself using to keep things under control financially? Let us know in the comments.
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