If month after month, you find more expenses left at the end of the month than funds, it’s time to take a serious look at your budget…or the lack of one. Truthfully, there are likely some ways in which your money slips through your hands that you may not be aware of. Though everybody has a different life and money plan, I know there are things to be done about a poor financial outlook. Here are some ways to stretch your monthly budget.
Stretch Your Monthly Budget #1: Budget In Your Smaller Expenses
Larger, regular expenses such as rent, mobile phone bills or insurance costs are usually stable and accounted for. But do you know how much money you spend at coffee shops, work canteens or on magazines? All of these non-essentials add up quickly when you make them a regular habit. I recommend writing down all of your expenses for a week to see exactly how much is going out the door. Based on what you discover, adjust your budget to include these items or consider cutting back.
Stretch Your Monthly Budget #2: Use A Budgeting App
I’ve used a budgeting app in the past and have had good success with it. I was amazed at how clear my budget became, as well as the areas that needed some attention. You simply tell the app how much money you have available each month, how much you want to save, how high your fixed costs are, and the app does the rest. Some apps also help with setting up a daily budget.
Stretch Your Monthly Budget #3: Join A Lending Club
A lending club is a great option for consumers who want to purchase household items without using up their savings. With a lending club, you not only have the option of borrowing money, but the service also helps you manage simplified investments and small loans. This way you can also build up your credit rating each month. Find out more at Bonsai Finance.
Stretch Your Monthly Budget #4: Have A Meal Plan
Having a family meal plan each week saves a considerable amount of money. It keeps you from over-spending at the store and making those impromptu visits to the drive-thru. You know what I’m talking about… For even more effective budgeting and planning, try making a few days of meals in advance and freezing them for the week. And also consider what you’re spending for lunches away from home. If you plan ahead and prepare healthy lunch recipes, you can easily save a couple hundred a month by not eating out for lunch.
Stretch Your Monthly Budget #5: Have A Weekly Shopping Plan
Organize your shopping list before you get to the store. You will less likely make impulsive purchases or forget items this way. Designate a certain day to shop and who will do it. We’ve made it a family affair in the past by offering incentives to the kids for finding bargains and helping with the shopping.
Stretch Your Monthly Budget #6: Cancel Subscriptions
It may be time to cancel those expensive magazine subscriptions if you do not need them anymore. The same applies to digital subscriptions such as Netflix, Hulu, or rarely used apps. And what about those auto ships that pile up in the cabinet? In my experience, products like skincare and supplements almost always get sent before I’ve finished with last month’s supply.
Stretch Your Monthly Budget #7: Get Cheaper Contracts
Whether it’s insurance, electricity or mobile carrier, old contracts may be eating into your budget. Many of these businesses update deals all the time. Check with each one for any new programs or bundles. Most of these carriers will offer you a better deal, especially if it’s a matter of you staying or going with someone else.