There are many of us that would like to save more money, but just feel that we try everything but nothing seems to work. I think that a lot of us would agree that we can easily be a week before our next pay check and be struggling to manage the money that we have left. However, there are things that we can do which will make it much easier to manage and they can be very simple and not make a huge difference to our lifestyles. It is worth having a go at some of these or alternatively using them as inspiration to try some different ideas of your own. You know what your spending habits are like and may be able to think of something more appropriate that you would find relatively easy to do which will help you to manage your money better.
Comparing prices is a really simple thing that we can do which will help us to spend less money. It does sound really obvious but there are many of us that shop without looking at prices. Even if we do look at prices, it may be that we always shop at the same stores and so only compare prices within those stores rather than looking at prices in a selection of stores. It is easy these days to compare prices online before shopping and this can be a really helpful way to see which are the cheapest without actually having to visit lots of different stores.
It is also possible to compare prices for things that we buy that are not sold in stores. This is everything from insurance to TV channels, electricity to loans. By researching first to see what is available and how much it costs, it can be possible to save a significant amount of money. You may feel it is just a few dollars here and there but if you add it all up across everything that you buy, even if you only save a few cents on some items, it could make a big difference overall. It could make the difference between having enough money to last until the next pay day and not having enough.
Avoid impulse buying
We all buy things impulsively. It can be easy to deny that we do it, but how many of us can truthfully say we go to a store with a list and only buy what is on it, every time we shop? Most of us will not do this and it is so easy to wander into a store, see something you like and buy it, whether it is a one dollar chocolate bar or a fifty dollar dress.
Being more aware of our behaviour and how retailers manipulate us to buy things that we do not need, will help us to stop buying things without thinking. It can be so easy to be fooled into thinking that we need things, when actually we can do very well without them. So when you are shopping always think about whether you really need the items that you are buying or whether you should think about it a bit longer before buying or just avoid buying altogether.
Keep a check on the money you have and need
It is so important to make sure that you are aware of what money you will need, how much you have and therefore how much you can afford to spend. This makes it sound rather more complicated that it actually is.
You just need to start with making a note of all of the money that you would normally spend in a month on all of your essentials and then see how much is left for other spending. It is important to know when you have to pay different things so that you can make sure that you have enough money left to cover those. If you have an expense due to leave your checking account towards the end of the month, then you will need to make sure that there is enough to pay it. You should know how much money you have coming in and so you can take away the total of essential expenses and that will allow you to know what is left to spend on other things.
Set a budget
Once you know how much money you have left after paying for essentials you will know what you have left to spend on everything else. You can then decide whether you want to set yourself a weekly or daily spending budget. This will depend on how often you spend money and in what quantities. Decide what you think will be most useful to you.
If you go out daily and spend money, then a monthly target will be sensible. However, if you only do a weekly shop, then a weekly one will be better. However, you may prefer just to keep note of the total that you have to spend and keep subtracting items that you buy, so that you have an ongoing list which will show what you have left.
Get your family helping
It can be really useful to encourage your family to help out when you are budgeting. If they spend money out of the same pot that you are trying to keep track of then they will need to aware that you are keeping careful track of spending. They will also need to note what they are spending to make sure that they do not spend over the budget.
You may decide that it will be best to give each person in the family or household their own budget to stick to or that you will control the spending completely and not let them spend anything or do some compromise on one of these. It will all depend on how much the family normally spends, what sorts of things they buy and how old they are.
It can be hard if it seems that it is your partner or spouse that is responsible for the bad spending habits. Money can often be a cause of problems in relationships so try to talk about it calmly and reasonably without getting overly emotional.