9 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Budget

Budget

Sticking to a budget can be difficult for anybody. Most of us start the month off with the best intentions of saving money, however, at the end of the month, many of us find out that we have exceeded our spending limit. This is common scenario.

There are a lot of reasons why one might overspend. For instance, splurging on a particular item, or seeing different temptations while shopping. However, one must realize that it might be time to adopt some new habits and strategies to save money and stay within budget.

Here are a few tips and tricks that will help you stick to your budget and become more diligent about your spending habits:

1. Pay Cash
For some people, credit cards are too convenient and may tempt some to spend more money than they have. If you stick to paying for everything with cash, it can make a difference in your spending habits. Carry only the cash that you have previously allotted in your budget. Spending a large sum of money while you’re paying cash can help you rethink your decision.

2. Use Coupons
Using coupons is a great way to save money. There are many stores that accept coupons. You can find free coupons in magazines, newspapers and even online. Some stores even have their own free apps that have daily, weekly and monthly coupons that are available to you after you download the store’s mobile app.

3. Make a List
A great way to avoid spending extra money is to make a list of only the items you need. They can be grocery items, household items, gas or utility bills. If you make a list of all the things you need to purchase and how much those items cost, you will have a great idea of how much you need to spend each month.

4. Shop Alone
If you shop with your family, someone is bound to find at least one item they want to purchase that is not on the shopping list. Agreeing to make these purchases can make others in your family happy, but can also force you to spend over your budget. A good way to avoid this is to either shop alone, or set a certain amount of money aside for such requests.

5. Negotiate Prices
Try to negotiate the prices of things you buy. Some retailers will sell items at a discounted rate. The worst thing that could happen is the retailer doesn’t agree to discount the price.

6. Resist Advertisements
Many stores tempt customers with offers and discounts that may seem harmless at the time, but in the long run, these deals can damage your budget. Avoid giving into these temptations to help stick to your budget.

7. Track Your Spending
Many small purchases can amount to a large sum of money by the end of the month. Spending a dollar here or a dollar there might not seem like a big deal, but it can take a toll on your budget over time. The best way to overcome this problem is to track your spending. You can do this online, with a spreadsheet or write your expenses on paper. If you keep track of all expenditures, no matter how small they may seem, you may be surprised to see how much you can reduce your overall spending.

8. Limit Shopping Trips
The less you go out, the less you’re bound to spend. If you shop frequently, then the chances of you buying non-essential items can also increase. To prevent this from happening, you could assign one day for all of your weekly shopping and buy everything that you need on that day.

9. Log Expenses Frequently
Instead of logging your expenses at the end of the month, you could try logging them daily. Ask for a receipt any time you buy something. This way you will be able to track your spending activity and get a better understanding of your spending habits.

With a few changes to your spending habits, you can learn to stick to a budget. You can avoid not only unnecessary expenses, but also increase your savings. By adopting these tips, you can not only stay within budget, but can also save a lot of money.

Energy-Efficient: What are you doing to conserve energy?

Energy-Efficient

Fewer Americans Are Turning Out Lights

Americans are less apt to turn out lights when not in use — or seek out energy-efficient appliances — than they were just a few years ago, according to a new poll.

The poll, from Harris, found that majorities of Americans still do basic things to save energy, but the percentages have dropped since 2012. For instance, 79% do things like turning off lights, televisions or other appliances when not in use. But that’s down from 82% in 2012.

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Achieving a Stress Free Retirement, the Tools for Success

iStock_000016634442SmallLast time we covered when you should start thinking about saving for retirement, some statistics that prove starting early will pay huge dividends, and some factors to consider when making your contributions.  Today we’re going to look at some financial tools to help you stay on top of your budget on a daily basis.

It IS 2013 after all, and the Internet is an amazing resource, with a multitude of financial tools that have sprung up, many of which offer a free version.  Some of these tools are a great way to help keep your finances organized and guide you in making wise financial decisions. Continue Reading…

Achieving a Stress Free Retirement, the basics

Happy Senior Couple on the Bow of a Sail BoatWhen should you start planning and saving for retirement?  Truthfully there is no exact answer to this question, but believe it or not, it’s a good time to start when you land your first job out of college.  Developing good spending and saving habits, and learning to budget and invest while you’re young will help you avoid unnecessary debt and reap the rewards in your financial future.  It’s kind of like brushing your teeth… you start young brushing your baby teeth so that when you’re older you’ve developed good habits for your adult teeth. This way your teeth won’t all FALL OUT and you won’t be living on the street when you’re 75!

You’re never too young to start saving, but keep in mind that as you age, the cost of saving increases with each passing year.  According to Money Magazine’s “Ultimate Guide to Retirement”, a 25 year old who sets aside $3,000 per year for 10 years and never contributes another dime will have more than $472,000 at retirement (assuming an 8% return)!! A person who doesn’t start contributing until the age of 35 who sets aside $3,000 a year for 30 years will only have that money grow to about $367,000. In a nutshell, Saving for only 10 years when you’re 25 will get you MORE than saving for 30 years if you start just 10 years later! WOW! The benefits of starting young are clear, but you’re never too old to start!

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