It may seem like there's never enough funds to cover all of your expenses. Family members need clothing, meals and spending money. There's a mortgage or rental charge every month too. Although dealing with money may be frustrating, there are a few bright spots in the financial world. Explore some of the ways that you can stretch the everyday dollar. Simple alterations to your life may be the ticket to easier budgeting than before.
Before you can take control of any part of your financial life, budgeting must be completed first. The Balance reports that budgeting is one area where people fail to stretch their dollar. You must spend less money than you make. Stretching the dollar doesn't equate to taking out multiple credit cards and spending money to the limits. You want your cash to go as far as possible.
Sit down and write out all of your expenses, including:
Compare these necessities to your income. If you're spending an excessive amount of money, it will be apparent as you look at the hard numbers.
Stretch your dollar by knowing exactly what you're spending as you're spending it. Put your debit and credit cards away. Take out some cash, and divide it out into marked envelopes. They might be labelled as follows:
As you spend the money on specific items, you'll see the funds dwindling. If you really want to buy a shirt that's on sale, for example, you might negotiate a price so that your envelope funds don't disappear so quickly. This stretching scenario works for almost any budget.
You may remember the days when clipping coupons from the local newspaper was a weekly task, similar to car title loan requirements. Today's fast-paced world can still use couponing, but on a digital level. Join clubs and websites that have group coupons. People agree to certain discounts, and the applicable stores accept the coupons. Consumers can potentially save hundreds of dollars with this dollar-stretching strategy.
It's easy to look at your bank accounts and spend every dime within them. However, it's always a good idea to have positive, cash flow in times of emergency, reports U.S. News & World Report.
The ideal amount depends on your income. Most experts agree that six months of income in savings is comfortable for most families. This suggestion isn't always practical, however. Start with a small amount, such as $1,000, and build your savings. With less money to spend, you'll be encouraged to stretch your dollar with shopping discounts and frugal living.
Don't forget to use your bank's interest accrual through savings and CD accounts. Ask about the programs at your bank. The interest gained can be used to stretch your income.
Most households pay the monthly bills without really looking at them. Stop this month and read the charges. You may not realize that these charges aren't even what you signed up for in the first place.
Call each provider about your services. Remove channel packages from your cable bill because no one watches those programs anyway. These small changes make a huge difference in your monthly budget.
Stretching your dollar doesn't always equate to buying items in bulk. Take a close look at your family's needs. You don't need 1,000 paper plates when your dinnerware is perfectly suitable for daily meals, for instance. Avoid bulk deals that will only take your funds away from a savings account. There are only a handful of items that are truly necessary in the bulk aisle, including toilet paper and trash bags.
Create a goal for yourself, such as taking a trip to a foreign land. Calculate the cost of this trip. This goal will give you the motivation necessary to ward off excessive spending. Cook meals at home, enjoy a day at the park and explore other low-cost diversions. If you earn a bonus or gain some unexpected money, save and forget about the funds. Use this money toward your goal instead of frivolously spending it.
You may be planning for every hiccup in life, but don't be surprised if a financial issue arises. Take stock of what you have in the bank and your options. With good credit and a solid budget, working through life's expenses is possible without much effort on your part.
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