Everyone is looking for a way to save money these days. Coming up with a monthly budget is essential in practicing a frugal lifestyle. The first step is to sit down and analyze your past monthly purchases. Once you have written down all of your expenses, separate them into necessities and luxuries. One major money-saving strategy is to know the difference between wanting something and really needing it.
Take a look at the “basic” monthly expenses you already have. Do you really need to have every movie channel on your cable plan? Can you combine certain bills with the same company for a discount? Some cable companies offer a discount for having your internet and home phone with them. Do you need a home phone as well as a cell phone? Can you combine your home and car insurance policies for a discount? There are many ways that most people can trim down their budgets.
Don’t let your peers influence your spending habits. A lot people try to “keep up with the Jones’s”, even if it’s subconsciously. Just because your neighbor’s eight year old son got an iPad for his birthday, it doesn’t mean that you have to buy your kids one. Teaching your children about smart financial decisions is an important life lesson that every parent strives for.
There are two different types of impulse purchases; large purchases and everyday smaller purchases. Larger impulse purchases may include electronics, furniture, even vehicles. Every large purchase should be pondered over for a while. After a few days, that purchase may not seem quite as necessary when you weigh it against how much debt it’s going to incur. Vehicles are an important purchase to think over before buying. Do you really need a new car? Consider buying a used car. There are newer model used cars out there that are low on mileage and in good shape, but because they are previously owned, they can cost a lot less than buying a new car. If you have your heart set on a new car, do your research. Not only look at the prices of various cars, but the reliability, economic, and safety ratings. You’ll want a car that’s going to last you a long time, get you the best gas mileage possible, and keep you and your family safe. Take your time to research and reconsider whenever possible.
Impulse buying is even more common in smaller purchases. Many impulse purchases happen at the grocery store. The first step of grocery shopping should happen before you even set foot in the store. Take the time to write out a list of what you need. Search for coupons for those items in the newspaper, online, wherever you can find them. Once you are in the store, go directly to each item on your list – stick to only those items. You will feel great about your savings as you’re walking out with only the items you went in for and not spending a penny more than necessary.
Sticking to a budget to avoid impulsive buying requires discipline and self-control. It’s not always easy, but it is rewarding. Cutting back on unnecessary purchases can not only help you to avoid buyer’s remorse, but it can cut down on clutter and help you to feel more organized. Setting a financial goal for yourself – a certain amount of money in your savings account, for example – can help to keep you focused on the small decisions that will ultimately affect the big picture, and in turn, help you to reach your financial goals.