You are running late to an important meeting at work, the rain is beating against your windshield and you are almost there... and then you realize that you have a flat tire. Even the most reliable of vehicles will run into trouble at one time or another. Car repairs can be very costly if paid out of pocket. What would you do if your car broke down tomorrow and you needed $500 worth of work done? Would you be able to afford it?
Budgeting is at the core of a financially sound life. There are lots of things in life that we want to have, but aren't necessary for us to get by. On the other hand, we aren't too quick to save money for ourselves in the event of an emergency. By cutting back on our wants, we can make sure that our needs will always be met in the most trying of times.
Here are some things that we suggest you do to cut back on your expenses:
1) Eat out less
. This is a number-one money drainer for many people. It is easy to get in the habit of eating out often, since it is fun and convenient. Meals out add up, and add up fast. If you start with an appetizer, and then add a main dish, along with a beverage, dessert, tax, and gratuity, you can see how expensive this becomes. Eating out is a nice treat, but shouldn't be an everyday thing. The same principle applies to your lunches at work. Fast food places are convenient, but it does not take much effort to pack your own sandwich.
2) Cut back your cell phone bill
. If you are on a high-priced contract phone, chances are you aren't using your full benefit. Try working with your provider to cut back onto a smaller plan if you don't need all of the minutes or text messages. If you do burn through lots of minutes and time, then by all means keep your current plan, however.
3) Cancel your cable
. Many television shows are available online for free! With a little tech savvy and broadband internet, you can hook up your television to your computer and watch your favorite programs online, right on your television. Look into purchasing a streaming media device to take full advantage of free TV shows online.
4) Buy the house brand!
This next tip has become much more widely practiced in recent years with the recession. When you go to the grocery store, look for the cheapest priced item, typically the house brand. The quality is just as good as the name brand, and substantially less money.
5) Save money
. Before you do anything else with your paycheck, deposit some money into your savings. If you can do this through direct deposit, do it. Pay yourself first
. Plan out your expenses, and only allow yourself that much money for the week. The rest can go in your savings! If you do give yourself an allowance, always ask yourself if you really need something before you buy it. Ask us how we can help you save a little bit automatically each week!
Your credit union also offers a number of savings tools and an exclusive discount program to major national merchants. Ask us how we can help you save money, and if you'd like, we will even help you develop your own budget. Paying yourself first is at the core of a good budget! To help you with your finances, we have provided a budget blueprint below. We hope that this will be of great use to you.