Prudent budgeting is not rocket science. Anyone can master the art of spending wisely. If you examine your everyday expenses closely, you might find some things you pay for are simply unnecessary or could be replaced with cheaper alternatives. Here are ten useful pieces of advice that will help reduce your routine spending.
1. Check valid deals before going on a shopping spree
Check out the latest offers on rabato.com to keep track of all the valuable deals from retailers in your area. A powerful platform popular in 12 countries, it provides selections of weekly ads for all kinds of consumer goods — from groceries to furniture to electronics.
In the internet age, coupons are now available online and delivered to your mailbox. However, rather than keeping dozens of separate subscriptions, opt for a comprehensive solution. A single newsletter will inform you of all the relevant offers, so you can take advantage of them immediately.
2. Create a system
Spending should never be random. Work on building your own approach to budgeting. To do that, begin with an assessment of your regular purchases. Note down what items you buy and where. This can be done by documenting your store visits over a 30-day period. Split these into categories.
Next, establish the optimal monthly budget you can stick to. Use software, regular spreadsheets, or simply paper and a pen. Note down your expenses and deposits over the period. Once the budget plan is ready, all you need is willpower to follow it.
Remember to track your subsequent expenses regularly. You could set a time and day for a comparison of your actual expenses against the target figures. This will help you to avoid overspending and spot opportunities for extra savings.
3. Stick to cash
Despite the rise of the cashless economy, remember that plastic causes us to spend more. This fact has been backed by numerous scientific studies, especially in the field of behavioral psychology. Parting with physical money is much more difficult than swiping your credit card in a store.
Hence, look at the budget plan you have drawn and identify the categories you could cover with cash. The most common examples are eating out or entertainment. When you pay by credit card, not only is it easier to buy more. You are also spending borrowed money, and the debts only keep mounting.
Overall, avoid spending money that you do not possess. Naturally, it is possible to use debit cards for regular payments. Make sure the spending limit is low enough to prevent overspending.
4. Buy groceries in bulk
Develop the habit of planning your meal plan on a weekly basis. Shopping for food in bulk at wholesale locations, such as Costco, could save you quite a few bucks. This way, you will only buy what is really necessary. Make sure the sell-by dates are acceptable.
5. Shop secondhand
Some secondhand items may still look like new, while the price tag is much more attractive. Hence, garage sales and thrift stores are well worth exploring. Auction sites like eBay or Craigslist may also feature the items you are looking for.
6. Choose quality over quantity
Sometimes, buying fewer items makes sense. Higher-quality goods will last longer. Besides, if you stick to a classical style, your purchase will never go out of fashion. The longer a product serves you, the less it costs in the long run.
8. Price comparison
Never buy an item before you have checked its prices at several retail stores. With the internet, the task is simple. Some stores will also give you a reduction as part of price-matching schemes: if you find an identical product at a lower price elsewhere, the store will match that price.
Today, most retailers provide digital coupons. Specialized platforms like rabato.com deliver selections of the best weekly ads and deals. Do not forget to check if there are valid coupons for your retailer.
9. Delay gratification
It is always easier to choose instant satisfaction over long-term benefits. For instance, if you were offered $100 right now or $150 in a year, what would you choose? This human foible is the root of our addiction to social media and all other activities bringing immediate joy.
Whenever you feel tempted to make an impulse purchase, think whether you really need this item at all, let alone immediately. It is best to delay the purchase by a day to have some time for reasonable reflection. You may find it does not even appeal to you any longer.
10. Pay down your debts
Whatever kind of lending you have resorted to, make eliminating the debt your top priority. The longer you wait, the more interest will be accumulated. The obligations will eat into your cash reserves, becoming an obstacle to savings.
Reach out to your creditors to discuss the terms of borrowing. They could agree to lower your interest rate. If you have several debts, take advantage of the avalanche scheme. This means you begin by making the minimum required payment for each account, and then use the remaining money to pay extra on the most expensive loan.