Global inflation has prices rising everywhere, making it harder to save money or stick to established budgets. Rising prices on necessary items like groceries and gas mean less budget for everything else, but here are tips for reducing spending where you may be able to.
First Things First: Track Your Spending
Do you know how much of your monthly income you are spending? Tracking all expenses is the first and most crucial step in living within a budget. Record every single purchase you make for 30 to 60 days, then categorize your purchases. under brackets like entertainment, utilities/bills, groceries/necessities.
Good examples of spending categories for your budget include:
- Utilities & Bills – your electric or heating bills, or rent. These may be fixed costs or fluctuate from month to month.
- Groceries / Dining Out – some people choose to record dining out and groceries separately
- Entertainment – drinks, movies, and other non-essential purchases
- Savings – any leftover money not spent from your monthly income, or you may even have planned allocations to set aside each month.
- Vices – if you smoke cigarettes, also track this expense separately
Once you understand how you’re spending your money, you’ll have a better picture of where you may be overspending. So how do you reduce it?
Pack Your Own Lunch / Eat at Home
Even with grocery prices rising, fast food prices have risen too, and packing your own meals is still the most cost-effective way to have lunch at work. Along with that, choosing to eat at home is another good way to reduce spending. Even if you do choose to go out, watch out for overspending on add-ons like alcoholic drinks. In the same vein, brew your own coffee at home! Purchasing a latte every day adds up.
Make a Grocery Shopping List and Stick to It
Impulse purchases at the store are an easy way to overspend on your grocery budget. You can avoid these extra items if you plan your shopping list ahead of your trip. Pick out your meals for the week and see which ingredients you’ll need. Do allow yourself some snacks on your list, but then don’t buy any additional snacks or items not listed when you’re shopping.
Eat Those Leftovers!
Meal prepping is a great way to save money, but you need to commit to eating those frozen leftovers. Eating the same thing every day isn’t for everyone, so consider preparing several different meals so you can still enjoy daily variety.
Turn Off Unused Subscriptions
There are more subscription services than ever before, but do you really use all of yours each month? You’d be surprised how many people waste money on services they don’t use. Gym memberships are a classic example, but there are plenty of digital services making money from inactive users. Check your statement if you need help remembering all of your subscriptions, and then unsubscribe from those that you may not need.
Look for Free Entertainment Opportunities
There are always free events happening around the community. Attend these instead of spending money on nights out at the bar or movies.
Saving On Gas
When you carpool to work with your colleagues, you can split your gas bills multiple ways instead of everyone shouldering the full costs to drive themselves! If you live within a couple of miles away from your job, riding a bike to work could save you on both a gym membership and gas costs! That’s two for one!
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