Happy February, y'all!
We're officially one month down in 2012, which means I've already started reflecting on which resolutions I'm totally slacking on. Though I have tackled some head on, there is one in particular I want to focus on this month: saving money. But more specifically: budgeting.
Now if you're like me, just seeing that word makes me cringe. Ugh. There is nothing I dislike more than thinking about finances and money, especially obsessing over them--which is essentially what budgeting is. But I try to remind myself that budgeting is supposed to be obsessing in a good way. And hopefully if I get the whole budgeting thing down, I'll have MORE money to obsess over, which wouldn't be a bad thing...
So after a little research, I gathered some tips and have decided on what I'm going to make an effort to do this month to get the ball rolling, and of course I thought I'd share those little tips and tricks with you.
Five quick and super simple ways to save money and budget in February:
- Write down everything you spend. This will help you get your head around exactly how much you're spending and immediately point out things that you could cut back on. Seeing it in print will really get the point across. After knowing what you're spending, you can set goals for cutting back your "discretionary" expenses.
- Automatically transfer funds to your savings account after you get paid. If you're fancy, you already have your place of employment do this for you. But if you're like me, you don't. A good amount is 10-20%, if you can swing it. But just $20 is better than nothing. Plus, if you don't do it right away, chances are you never will.
- Take out a certain amount of cash at the beginning of the week and only allow yourself to spend that on "extras." You'll quickly be deciding if the morning coffee from Starbucks is really worth it, or if you absolutely need those new shoes. I've tried this before and it totally works... you just need to have the willpower to leave your debit card at home :)
- Join Mint.com. (And keep up with it!) I joined while I was in college, but never check it anymore. The site keeps track of all your spending, loans, mortgages, etc. and can easily show you how you are spending your money each month. Super handy, you just have to use it!
- Set an end goal or splurge. Incentives always work for me. So I try and think of one "big" thing I really want and once I've reached my goal of saving a certain amount (plus enough for the splurge) I let myself purchase it. Have you been dying for a new purse? Start saving your pennies! Knowing that you'll get to splurge a little bit may just be the motivation you need.