When it comes to the monthly finances, it probably doesn’t take much before the bank account is on empty after paying bills, not to mention hopefully contributing to retirement account, or having anything leftover to save. It’s no wonder that most are living paycheck to paycheck, which means that it really only takes a paycheck or two to really have a major financial burden on your hands if you were to all of a sudden lose your job. While you may not be able to predict how long you are safe in your role at work, you can give yourself a needed budget so that you can get ahead in your finances and hopefully avoid the struggle until the next paycheck is deposited in your account.
Build an Emergency Fund
While a job-loss is certainly something to take lightly, what if you were to have a major expense occur, such as a vet bills, appliance, or auto repair come up? You would likely have to put on a credit card and risk going into, or deeper, in debt. By saving up a few months’ worth of expenses, you can give yourself the financial relief to continue with your normal monthly expenses and not worry if something out of the blue were to come up and wonder how you would be able to pay. While your account may not build up overnight, with patience and discipline you can start to see your balance rise.
Start Keeping Track of Spending
You could be in for a shock if you currently don’t know how much you’re spending on entertainment, let alone food, gas, or monthly bills, or maybe you pretending not to know. By taking a look at last month’s debit or credit card statement you can actually go line by line and see how much you’re spending in each area. Just for fun, or maybe to bring tears to your eyes, you can add up all of the charges that could have been avoided. Something to think about going forward, is all of the money you could have leftover if you have watched spending a little better.
Create a Budget
Now that you are able to see how much you’re spending, you can have an idea of what is within reason or where you need to get to, in order to have the rest of your financial goals work out. By creating a budget, you can allocate certain funds in each area, even preparing for future spending such as vacations, birthday, or Christmas shopping, so that when the time comes it won’t be as much of a financial shock to your wallet.
Cut the Cable Cord
While this may seem like a crazy thought, but as more of our TV watching is spent on streaming services, not to mention DVR’ing all of the shows we watch anyways, it’s a wonder why we even pay for cable anymore, especially if you think about how much you actually flip around the virtually hundreds of channels out that are filled with programs you don’t care about watching, or can’t stand to sit through commercials. By cutting the cable cord and opting to streaming services, even spending $20 up front for an HD antenna you can still get local channels, and you’ll free up at least a hundred dollars per month.
Get Rid of the Gym Membership
Speaking of freeing yourself for something you don’t use, next would be ditching the gym membership. While it was probably a good idea when you wanted to make a change for your resolution, you may have started out strong by going a few times a week, but once you start missing, that quickly ends up to paying your membership dues every month when you haven’t gone in months. Something the gyms likely prepare for, but that doesn’t mean you should continue to shell out $50 a month for you and your spouse to not go.
Avoid Going Out to Eat
This may be the most difficult part, especially if you don’t like cooking. Sure, it’s easy to go to your favorite restaurant and have someone else cook, serve, and clean up after you, that comes at a price much higher than what it would be if you went grocery shopping and ate at home, not to mention a healthier habit at home. For a fraction of the price to going out to lunch or picking up carryout on your way home from work, you can get breakfast, lunch, and dinner ingredients to last you all week.