If you are like most people today, you need to watch every penny you spend. You may have a budget, but it doesn’t leave a lot of room for negotiation. You clip coupons and watch closely for sales, but what if there’s something else you can do of which you’ve not thought yet? Budgets are fine to help track spending, but adjusting a budget can save you money.
One of the first steps to spend less is to ensure your current budget outline is accurate: Do you overspend in one area and compensate but reducing expenses in another? Meeting the bottom line in a budget does little good in the long term if you have to borrow from one expense category to meet obligations in another.
Balance the outline against reality. Are you forgetting to keep your receipts for constant checks against your budget? Have you really cut all the corners you can to reduce your utility bills and other household expenses?
For example, if you live either alone or with another person, and you have cell phones, is that land line really necessary? Most cell plans allow long distance calls, so is a discounted long distance plan on a land line needed? Tens of thousands have saved millions on long distance bills by making a one-time purchase on a gadget you plug into your phone jack and get unlimited long distance calls for a small monthly fee that is far below most long distance plans by carriers.
Using your cell phone as primary contact methods saves even more, despite the affordability of a popular VoiP service called Vonage.
Once you have accurately adjusted your budget, reduce the amounts allowed. Most people can reduce a food bill by $10 per month, for example,without significant hardship. Reduce the amount you allow for your electric bill by trying the utility company’s budget plan, for example.
Twice-yearly adjustments bring a set amount per month, and if you diligently watch your usage and unplug items not being used, you will realize a savings within a year – more often in a shorter time.
Cut the amount you allow by 5 percent, then 10 percent and realize that your budget was fatter than you thought. It’s simply a matter of tracking spending, then allowing less where possible.
Written by Jaye Ryan, a freelance writer who loves writing about budget tips and shortcuts for OctopusLoans.
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