It’s the end of the week,
Here are a few ways to keep your expenses in check:
1. Create Your Spending Priorities
Before you can map out the best course of action, you need to figure out what’s important to you. What goals have you set for yourself? Are you thinking of owning a home? Maybe going back to school? Or purchasing a car? If you begin with a clear idea of what you plan to save up for, you’ll be prepared to work towards achieving that goal.
2. Say No to Coffee and Pack Your Lunch
Early mornings are never easy, I get it. But stopping at your local Starbucks for $2 coffees five days a week adds up. This will require a little more effort on your part, but if you give yourself 10 more minutes before heading out the door each morning, you can make your own coffee at home and save up to $20 per week.
Eating out for lunch is another sure-fire way to drill a hole into your savings. Avoid this trap by making your lunch before you leave the house or the night before. If you really want to be ahead of the game, take the weekend to prep your meals in bulk and store them in the freezer so they’re ready to eat for the rest of the week. By doing this, you can save up to $100 per month or $1000 per year.
3. Get Yourself on a Cash-Only Diet
This one sounds like a pain, but once you limit yourself to using just cash you will see the rewards. Let’s say you give yourself $150 per week for miscellaneous spending—you can use that to eat out with friends or watch a movie. When you have cash in hand, you force yourself to see how much you can spend at the moment and budget how much you’ll have left for the rest of the week. It’s easy to lose track of your spending habits when you’re only using debit or credit cards.
4. Automate Your Savings
If you already have a savings account, you’re one step ahead. Instead of deciding on when to make deposits into your savings, you can have this done automatically. Head over to your bank and set up automatic transfers to your savings account based on your payroll schedule. You can put this money into a regular savings account, TFSA or an RRSP. Once this process is automated, your savings will begin to grow without you even giving it a thought.
5. Use Smartphone Apps to your Advantage
You carry your smartphone everywhere you go, so why not put it to good use? There are endless free money management apps available like Mint, Goodbudget, BillGuard, Mvelopes and Expensify which are good places to start. They can help you set a monthly budget and customize categories for food, rent, etc., and also send you notifications when nearing your limit, tag receipts through “SmartScan” and protect your card(s) from fraud, hidden fees and scams. Click here for a more in-depth look at what each of these apps can do for you and your budget.
Aileen Ormoc | The Edge Blog