Sometimes I feel out of control when it comes to money. During those times, I’ll spend frivolously at the thrift store… buy food outside the home…and keep my head buried in the ground like some ostrich that doesn’t want to control my bottom line. Thankfully, since working from home in the last two months, the time when I’ve been most uncertain about money has become the time when I feel like I have the most control over my money! So strange and ironic, right?!
When you don’t have control over your money, it’s usually when you’re not paying attention to your money, spending without thought, and putting things like insurance and mortgage payment on auto-pay without evaluating if you’re really getting the best price or how much you could be reducing them. It’s never too late to manage your money, though. Here are a few tips to get you back on track.
TIP #1: Track Your Expenses
You should know where you spend your money. But this is hard to do! Especially when you’ve got a wallet full of receipts (if you’re collecting them). Try using an app on your smartphone for easy tracking immediately after you’ve spent something. Keep a record for a month or two to see how much goes for mortgage, rent, insurance, food, utilities and entertainment. You may find that you spend a lot on designer coffee and bottled water, or you may be making payments for things you can live without such as a gym subscription. I recently got rid of satellite radio after seeing how much I was spending unnecessarily! Be sure to read my post on How to Track Your Spending.
TIP #2: Reduce Insurance Payments
Unless you have talked to an insurance agent and asked about discounts and other ways to reduce the cost of your policy, you are probably paying too much for your coverage. There are several simple ways to reduce car insurance such as adding a theft device, reducing the amount you drive or increasing your deductible. Don’t be afraid to shop around. Get a quote for lower insurance payments.
TIP #3: Reduce Food Costs
This is what a majority of my money goes towards! No one denies that food is a necessity and that it should taste good and be healthy. However, there is food from restaurants and food made at home. Both have their attractions, but to save money, reduce the number of times you eat in a restaurant or buy your lunch. A few months ago when I was working outside the home, I calculated that I had spent $600 on eating out. Yes, $600!!! That doesn’t include money we spent at the grocery store that month! Less eating out will save tons of money!
Bring lunch from home as often as you can. Homemade lunch doesn’t have to be boring! Bring leftovers from dinner the previous night. It’s much cheaper than buying lunch out!
TIP #4: Be Proactive About Your Energy Use
Little things almost always add up to big things, and this is especially true with electricity. If you make it a point to install energy efficient light bulbs, turn down your thermostat a little, unplug anything that has a power light and never leave lights on in an unused room, you’ll be surprised at how much it will lower your electricity bill. My family just had solar panels installed, too! Check to see if your state has special programs that encourage solar panels and will actually pay for it their installation costs!
When life gets busy and fast-paced, it’s easy to spend money to make things work. Unfortunately, this may have a negative effect on your lifestyle in time if it puts you more and more into debt. With a little care, you can get control of your expenses!
More Money Tips
And in case you didn’t know, I write for another blog, Get Your Life Straight, where I talk about a variety of money topics! Here are a few that you may want to check out!