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Wallet Wise: Lower Spending, Balance Your Budget

‘Rome wasn’t built in a day,’ is a saying uttered by those reminding of patience and the importance of small contributions.  Such is good advice regarding building and maintaining one’s budget.  It’s easy to make an impulse purchase or forget to regularly balance books.  Laziness on occasion won’t break the bank, yet ongoing negligence places people in horrible financial nightmares.

Avoid money troubles and financial anxieties, investing the following habits in your weekly routine.

Forget About Cable

Your cable bill could be as high as $200 per month; that’s about $50 per week on television.  Cut that down, subscribing to Netflix for under $10 per month or allotting less funds for televised entertainment.  As an alternative, get away from screens, seeking a weekly hobby.  Take walks, exercise, read, and visit friends and family members.  Don’t base afforded entertainment on the supply of channels and screens.

Make the Coffee at Home

Drinking and eating in the morning is both a health need and social habit.  Most drink coffee, waiting in line at the local Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks.  Popular chains are well aware of social habits and caffeine addictions, charging an upward of $1.50 for medium to large sized coffees.  Some people get another cup for lunch or on the way home too.  Those addicted may find themselves spending the same kind of money as those smoking $10 cigarette packs a day.  We tend to dismiss charges of less than $5 as insignificant, yet continuous $2 charges throughout the day add up quickly.

 Limit Eating Out, Takeout and Delivery

Limit the number of times you go out to dine, grab dinner to go, or have it delivered to your home.  While taking breaks from cooking and enjoying the ambiance of a restaurant are afforded luxuries, limit those enterprises.  Otherwise, the temptation to ‘fall back on’ or use outside sources for food becomes an expensive habit.  Learn to prepare foods at home, investing in a better oven, microwave, stovetop, etc.  Furthermore, lessen the chance of ‘not feeling’ like cooking by preparing food in bulk a few times per week; for example, prepare a huge portion in a Crockpot on a Sunday, supplying enough food until Wednesday or Thursday.

Use Coupons

Coupons are available in the daily paper or online on a regular basis, yet a limited number of consumers use them.  Rather than blindly visiting grocery stores or buying when in need, make purchases based on coupon codes and deals.  Be proactive rather than reactive, saving money in the process.

Stop Using Credit Cards

Establishing good credit is an advantage and modern need, but don’t use cards as alternatives to cash in your pocket.  Rather than rely on credit cards for everyday needs, draft a specific amount of money once per week.  You’ll better track expenses.  Analysis affords better money management and savings.  Those who rely on credit cards often pay minimum charges, accruing ongoing interest fees, an unnecessary expense.  Moreover, using credit cards makes one assume they have more money to spend daily, weekly, and monthly than a more cautious reality reflects.

Russell Matthews is passionate about budget living. He often writes about effective strategies for living well without breaking the bank.

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