Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Six Signs You Need To Modify Your Current Budget

It takes a special discipline to be able to start and keep a budget. Setting aside money for a 401(k) plan, groceries, bills and allowances can be a drag, especially if there's no money left after the essentials. But before loose spending can even be worth talking about, make sure the current budget is realistic for everyday needs.

Never enough money for groceries

If you're buying high-priced foods, such as frozen prepared meals, this will eat into money quickly. Instead of grabbing a frozen lasagna meal, buy tomatoes, pasta noodles, spices, cheese and other necessary ingredients. While you may only need about half of these items to make an entire pan of lasagna, the rest will be left over for other meals. Keep this spending habit in mind for any frozen dishes. Make the meals yourself, and freeze what's left to save on groceries. 

Can't afford to fill up the car gas tank

There's a minimal amount that you can do about toll fees and regular auto maintenance, but there is something to be done about gas-spending prices. Use smartphone apps, such as Gas Buddy, to keep track of which gas stations have the best prices for your car. There's no need to drive several neighborhoods over to purchase gas, but at least do comparison pricing to find the best prices in the area. Also, check auto websites for coupons, such as money off on oil changes, tune-ups and for spending a certain amount on larger chargers.

No money for smaller bills because of larger bills

Maybe paying a lump sum for rent all at once will eat into expenses for the next two weeks. Try setting aside half of the money for rent or a mortgage for one pay period and the other half when it's due. This way you have a better opportunity to avoid late fees and other everyday living expenses that are short-changed because of bigger bills.

High electricity bills

Some electricity programs, such as the Multi-Family Home Energy Savings Program, are providing real estate companies with supplies for a more eco-friendly home. Make sure your landlord is doing the same for apartment dwellers. Using eco-friendly equipment like compact fluorescent light bulbs or CFLs may cut down on electricity bills and payments to replace supplies that would last far more hours or even years. 

Short on allowance money for kids

There are plenty of chores for children to do around the house, but if the issue is having the money to spare from your budget then reach out to friends. Teenagers usually need more money, especially around graduation and senior prom time. Ask friends if they need extra help around their offices. Consider after-school programs or summer jobs to help kids learn about expenses. The more they learn about how money works, the more they'll respect you trying to spend wisely.

Higher bills for credit cards

Depending on the credit card, even one late payment can modify the monthly rates. If you're spending more than you're paying, it's time to cut up the credit card. Initially it may be difficult to do so because credit cards come in handy when a wallet is empty and a checkbook has a zero balance. But if the balance continues to get higher and you're late on payments, it's time to reconsider.

Creating a budget is much easier than staying on budget. Avoid throwing out unrealistic numbers that you know you'll never meet, at least on your current salary. But if you set a monetary amount for a budget, stick to it. When you've got that down, then it's time to use these ways and others to figure out how to stay within that budget. Over time it'll become second nature even if it's initially an annoyance. Be sure to talk to financial professionals if you don't know where to start or are in too much debt right now.

Informational credit to A C Waring and Associates Inc.

1 comment:

  1. This is so important - a budget can make or break your finances, and even your life. These are great tips to keep us on track.


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