You’re working, your paycheck is fat, and everything is coming up roses. It’s not our intention to rain on your parade, but things change and everything can turn upside down in a split second which is why you should always have your Plan B. Financial security is extremely important, and squirrelling some money while you’re young and on a roll can make all the difference when life’s no picnic. Believe it or not, but the most common budget killers aren’t big or expensive. They’re usually small, sneaky expenses that we don’t even pay attention to, but they tend to have a snowball effect that can ruin your future and shatter your dreams of early retirement. Here’s how to spot and squash them easily.
Stick to your shopping list
Trips to the grocery store can be extremely costly, especially if you frequently forget to buy something that you need and have to go shopping again. All these extra trips will result in buying lots of additional stuff and spending money unwisely. Kimberly Palmer, author of “Smart Mom, Rich Mom: How to Build Wealth While Raising a Family” says that planning meals for the whole week ahead, keeping track of the groceries in your pantry and fridge, and making a shopping list will not only save you a lot of money by turning you into a-once-a-week-shopper but it will also prevent your food from spoiling as you’ll kick the habit of overstocking your pantry and fridge. If we take into consideration that people in the US throw away $165 billion worth of food on a yearly basis, it’s clear that monitoring your food expenses is beneficial on several levels.
Value your money
Feeling entitled to nice and expensive things is a one-way ticket to a financial disaster. This especially applies to young people who have just got their first pay rise, and now they believe that the sky’s the limit. In order to be able to treat yourself to the finest pair of Italian shoes, or a high-end smartphone, you need to work hard and accumulate a significant nest egg. Phil Risher, the founder of YoungAdultSurvivalGuide.com, believes that trying to have the same lifestyle as your parents while having no financial means to support it is a very bad idea that will turn against you eventually. Before you start a shopping spree, think about your retirement money and check out a reliable aged pension income test to find out what your options are.
Gym memberships and all kinds of subscriptions add up and consume a big portion of your hard-earned salary. Instead of opting for a fancy gym with various amenities, find a council-owned or an independent one that isn’t a part of a big chain which means that it will be more affordable. Another valuable piece of advice is that you should stay away from joining a gym or subscribing to a cable TV service during a promotion because it’s limited to several months, after which you’ll be bound to pay the full price until the end of your subscription. A recent survey by GFK has shown that a full 25% of the US homes don’t subscribe to a pay-TV service, and this trend has been picking up steam ever since streaming services like Hulu or Netflix started dominating the world of entertainment. So, you have numerous cost-effective options at your disposal.
Don’t exceed your gift-giving budget
Gift giving is wonderful, and some of the most fulfilling moments in our lives are when we make someone happy by giving them something nice. However, your budget for Christmas or birthday shopping should be carefully planned out. It’s OK to be extravagant from time to time, but Nicole Cooley, a money coach, believes that generosity doesn’t have to be expressed strictly through the amount of money you spend on a present. Instead of that, be creative and come up with a gift that you’ll make yourself. The meaning of gift-giving is in appreciation and gratefulness, so show others that you care not by dazzling them with expensive presents but by being thoughtful.
You don’t have to be a Scrooge or live the life of frugality since only small cuts can make a big difference.