If your New Year Resolutions was to Save Money, then make a Simple Budget.
Before you yawn, and think "boring" just a few minutes of your time, could put money back into your pocket instead of someone else's.
We all tend to start new programs with extremes. Such as dieting, or exercise or saving money. We start off great with all this enthusiasm, then it starts to wane after we realize, that it is not a realist goal, and then we throw in the towel.
This year, try something a little different, start small.
So if you have visions, of sitting in a corner in the dark eating mac and cheese and having no life in order to save money, get rid of those visions, because you can still have a life and save money, you just need to put some thought into it.
So, before you pickup a second job, take the time and take a good look at where your money is going on a daily basis.
You need to keep track for about a week. Get yourself a notepad, and every time you open your wallet or purse, write it down. This is the same process as a food diary for dieters. You need to know where your money is going, in order to stem the flow.
After a week, take some time, and sit down and look at this notepad, and get out your calculator. This is where you find out your money habits.
You may not think that buck or two a day at the coffee shop is much, but it adds up. Do, you also buy a muffin, because you are late and just need something to eat? Do you buy your lunch eat day? Do, you buy treats to keep yourself going in the afternoon from the vending machine? or a soda? or another coffee?
All of these can add up big time by the end of the week.
example: You buy a coffee and a muffin on the way to work for $3.00
Do, you get another coffee or soda later in the morning, or another snack? $1.50
Later in the afternoon, you feel yourself tiring, and get a vending machine snack $1.50
Right there you have $6.00/day and this is assuming you bring your lunch, and don't buy anything else that day or on the way home from work, or this total will be much higher.
But even with this $6.00/day, that adds up to $30.00 per week on a 5 day work week. That is enough for the movies, or some other fun. or it can be put in your bank account for $120.00/per month.
So, now you are wondering, well this is great, now I have no coffee, no snacks and will not have a very good day.
Here is what you do. Get up earlier, or set your home coffee maker to come on in the morning, and while it is brewing, pack up some healthy snacks from home, as well as your lunch. Get a crock pot, and start dinner so that there is NO chance that you will stop for take out on the way home.
Consider talking your department at work, into a coffee machine that you all take turns making, or bring a thermos.
I have a friend, that was always busy, her feet were moving as soon as they hit the floor in the morning, but she just never seemed to have any money, and yet she made a great salary. She "reluctantly" wrote everything down for a week, and was absolutely stunned at what she spent on "consumables".
Here was her breakdown:
coffee/muffin in the morning $3.00
salad at lunch $5.00
special latte in the afternoon $3.50
soda and snack $3.50
This adds up to $15.00/day
That is $75.00 per week (on a 5 day work week) and that is not including the takeout dinners she was getting at least 3 times a week because of working late, or the fees she was being charged at the ATM every time she took out 20 dollars.
So, with some planning ahead, she was able to put $300.00/month in her bank account towards that great vacation she wanted each year. She did this without having to really penny pinch or give up too much. She just took a few minutes each night to organize her snacks and lunch for the next day.
This is just her daily consumption. Everyone tends to look for the big things to save on, which is good if you can do it, but what you really need to look at, is your daily spending. So, before you start clocking that overtime, or picking up that paper route for extra money, take a look at where your daily cash is going, you may be surprised.
We all get so busy, that our budget and saving money end up last on the list, and yet at the end of the day, we are suppose to be seeing some of this money we are working for. Saving money and a simple budget, should be at the top of the list, not the bottom.