Spending plans can go really far, if you take time to analyze purchases. I'm sharing 12 things I stopped paying for to save money and make funds last longer.
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Budgets vs. Spending Plans
Some people don't like how the word budget sounds. Spending plan sounds more like you are participating in a plan of action, which is definitely a good thing. You want to be an active participant in your spending habits.
I find it easiest to plan out my spending for month before the previous month ends, or even a few months before. This allows me to have a wider view of my finances and more easily see what I can and cannot spend.
If you like writing things down, there are many financial planners out there that are really helpful with keeping track of money coming in and going out.
I like this 12-month Budget Planner by Recollections from Michael's. Remember to use Ebates to get cash back on your purchases!
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If you keep track of your spending electronically, there are tons of apps (or even spreadsheets) that can be set up to maximize your spending plan.
Making Small Spending Plans and Budgets Work
More than half of the US population is classified to be Middle Class. This class includes anyone who makes below $100k annually.
Working in the private sector, I've never made more than $45k in a year, and most of the time, I made a lot less.
So I'm telling you, that I get it. Money is hella-freaking-super-duper-tight-AF.
Sometimes, you don't know if you should spend the money on rent or making that car payment. Other times, you're making a box of pizza last all week so you have food to eat.
If it works, do it. When money is tight, we can get really creative to stretch things as far as they can go.
Our reality is that sometimes bills won't get paid, and that's okay. You'll catch up, if you plan well.
So plan well.
Spending plans are great, because you'll know where every dollar goes, and when things need to be paid (or how long you can stretch out non-payments).
Check out this post: Easy Ways to Make Money Online
Things I Stopped Paying For to Save Money
Until you start calculating what every item you buy costs as well as how long it'll take you to catch up and make up for those expenses, you aren't going to be able to prepare a proper spending plan.
Every dollar has a home, and most of them should stay with you.
These are some of the things I stopped paying for to make my money go farther and last longer.
Coffee. You might think you need that Starbucks or Peet's Coffee every day, even if it's black dark roast, but it adds up. A Fresh Brewed Coffee, Grande = $2.10 plus tax. That adds up to $42.00 plus tax monthly if you bought a cup of coffee 20 days out of the month. Make your own at home and keep the $42.00 for yourself. At the end of the year, you'd have $504.00.
Fast Food. Oh man, fast food is super convenient, but it comes at a super high cost. Average spending for lunch is $10. If you put that $10 a day away for 20 days, you'd have $200.00 at the end of the month and $2,400.00 at the end of the year.
Clothes. My favorite clothes to buy are the basics from Forever 21 or Aeropostale, when they go on sale. The key is to only shop when there is a HUGE sale. Buy key pieces that can be mixed and matched to create several different outfits. Keep shopping trips to once or twice a year, and set a strict budget. I went almost 2 years without buying any clothes and saved a ton of money for other things. Remember to shop online if you can and utilize cash back programs.
Haircuts and nail treatments. I was spending $90 on a haircut semi-annually and $50 on nail treatments at the salon monthly. I cut my own hair now and do my own nails. That's $780.00 saved annually!
Gifts. I stayed in a lot, and that is probably a wise thing to do when you don't have a lot of money to spend. I didn't need to worry about buying gifts for people, because I would decline invitations and just stay in. I know this will be hard for some, but remember - priorities. You're trying to survive.
Entertainment. If you have the internet, you can entertain yourself pretty well. There's Youtube, which is free, and once in a while, you can allow a rental movie for a few bucks on iTunes. There are also a ton of "free things to do in...." whatever area you're in. Just do a quick Google search, and people in your situation will already have posts up about things you can do for free and still have fun. If you can afford it, Netflix will keep you plenty entertained as well.
Cell phone plan. I ditched my cell phone contract and went prepaid for 2 phone lines. I was paying over $100.00 a month, and now I only pay $55.00 for two lines and data. That decision saves me $540.00 annually. HELL YEAH. TAKE THAT PHONE COMPANY.
Gas that's not from Costco. A Costco membership is worth the $50 annually. Lemme just say that. It saves me on gas and bulk food purchases. Bulk is your best friend when you're trying to make things last.
Bottled water. Not only to save the environment, but to just stop with the unnecessary expense. Investing in a water filter is cheaper, and you have an unlimited water source in your kitchen - the sink. We have the filter pitcher, so we just fill it up and put it in the fridge to cool. We saved over $200.00 annually on drinking water.
Food. When times were really hard, I only bought rice, chicken, eggs, almond milk (lactose intolerant), oatmeal and cereal. If you're at this point, these items will keep you full and healthy. Drink tons of water, and you'll be sustained.
Wasted electricity. Turn things off and unplug them when you aren't using them. Keep the thermostats between 70-74 F to save money on heating and cooling. If you need to get cool, open doors/windows or take a cool shower. If you need to keep warm, bundle up.
At the end of the year, I saved over $4,424.00 plus tax.
When you're making pennies count, be sure to remember to count those pennies. Every dollar you can save can help you in the long run. Your dollars may work differently than mine, but there's always a strategy that can be made with whatever kind of lifestyle you have.
I hope you found this post helpful and inspires you to take a closer look at where your dollars are going. You work so damn hard for the money you make, so make it work for you.