In order to stay on top of your monthly finances there are a few behaviors to adapt to. First, if you can build an emergency fund you can prepare yourself of any unexpected charges that come up without putting yourself into debt. Next, although it might seem that retirement is far away, the longer you wait to fund your account the less it will be able to grow over time, so funding is a priority now. Beyond that, reducing unnecessary expenses is important so that you can free up money to put toward other financial priorities. A good way to track expenses is to take a look at last month’s credit or debit card statement and actually go line by line, trying to see what you could have saved money otherwise.
Keeping Your Cable TV
Cable has been a part of our whole viewing lives, so it can likely be tough to get used to change, but cutting the cut is a must, especially when you can get streaming services such as Netflix for $10 a month that has most of the best TV and movies available to stream. You can also get an HD antenna to not miss out on local channels. Sure, watching live sports still might not be perfect ease, but the fact that we are trending into not needing cable even more, it is all the more reason to cut the cord and save a couple hundred dollars a month.
As the end of the year approaches you will start to get hard on yourself on what you haven’t accomplished this year and start to make a resolution for next year, and the most popular changes you’d like to make would be losing a few pounds, so gym memberships see a huge spike. As the first few months of the year pass, the crowds die out and soon enough you are paying money each month to not go. Do yourself a favor and cancel the gym membership and get active outside daily, for free.
Overpriced Baby Products
Having a newborn, it opens up a whole other side of products that I either didn’t know existed, or never cared to notice before. Like anything, you want to not only avoid paying full price for products, but if you can get a comparable product without the name brand for less, why not take advantage. With formula and diapers, having the Target brand, for example, could save you have the price, and you will not even know the difference between the main brand and Target. With the amount you will be buying over the next year or two, it’s worth it to save anywhere you can.
Overspending on College
No matter which way you look at it, college is expensive. If you have student loans you can look forward to likely paying back for the next decade or so with a bachelor’s degree, even longer if you factor in medical or law school, or a master’s program. Any way you can save on education, take advantage. One example of how you can save would be reducing the years going away to school, which may not be ideal for the student, but if you can live at home for the first two years going to a community college for a fraction of the price, you can transfer for the university of your choice for the last two, being able to afford room and board a little easier.
Stopping for Coffee
It may not seem like stopping for a coffee that costs a few dollars is a big deal, but when you add up every business day of the month, not to mention stopping again after work, on the weekends, or adding in breakfast in there, you could be spending a hundred or two on just this. By getting a programmable coffee pot for $20 or so you can brew your own by setting the timer and having it ready by the time you are ready to leave for work in the morning.
Going Out to Eat
Along the same lines as stopping for coffee, although way more expensive, is the cost of having someone cook and serve you, not to mention cleaning up afterwards, is going out to eat. By avoiding going grocery shopping and eating your meals out, you can be spending hundreds of dollars a month on food that you could have avoided by going to the grocery store and preparing all of your meals at home.