As we near the close of already the first quarter of 2019, it’s possible that your fitness and weight-loss goals are becoming less of a reality than you intended as the gym visits become less frequent and the diet may not be going as you had hoped. Instead of focusing on the scale, now is the time to focus on savings. By tweaking a few areas of spending, you can free up extra money to not only give yourself a financial cushion right now, but can really contribute to a retirement account that will build up a nest egg for when you finally do close the working chapter of your life.
You never know how bad spending is until you put under a microscope, so a good place to start is to pull statements from your credit or debit card and go over each purchase. From there you can see how much is going into food, gas, utilities, not to mention spending money that goes into the month, because after all, you could be in for a surprise in just how much is currently allocated to each area, which is probably a cause of concern why there is not more in your account at the end of the month.
Come Up with a Budget
As you now know how much you’re currently spending on each area such as monthly bills, food, gas, spending, you can have an idea in mind of how much you’d like to get to. By creating a household budget, you can create some accountability to spending that was not there previously. While creating a budget can seem easy, the difficult part comes sticking to it, where is a point of failure to most. As you tweak along the way, you can start to build in a vacation fund, or even Christmas shopping, so it’s not of an impact like it would be spending all at once.
Reduce the Unnecessary Purchases
Sticking to a budget can tighten up the finances, so freeing up every extra dollar you can will go a long way. By reducing unnecessary purchases you’d be surprised how quickly the savings can add up. Take going out to eat for instance. You probably spend more than you think, by the time you add up stopping for coffee, grabbing lunch at the cafeteria at work, or carryout or restaurant for dinner, if you can reduce down to even a fraction of that and go grocery shopping instead, you can watch hundreds of dollars add up.
Don’t Forget to Pay Yourself
As you start to free up extra money, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can increase what you can spend in your household budget. It can be easy to go on a shopping spree and blow your savings quickly, but the focus should be getting (or staying) out of debt, building an emergency fund of a few months’ worth of reserves, and contributing to a retirement account. While retirement still may be decades away, don’t forget to pay yourself now so you can reap the benefits later on when you can focus more on traveling, instead of the need to work.