When considering your financial standing and, more specifically, the fact that it should be better than it currently is, you often take a look at the large scale, big ticket items that plague your overall debt to income ratio.
Cars, homes, student loans and other expenses of that ilk are your focal point, and you might believe that a drastic move, like selling your home or car, is the kind of downsizing that is applicable and just for your situation.
While those decisions aren’t necessarily out of the question, they’re often looked at as last resorts or the kind of money saving techniques to be employed by someone who perhaps has lost a job and has nothing in savings.
What you can focus on in the interim, before you sell off your sizable, expensive assets, is the exact opposite: the little expenses you forget about that can add up quickly. Those adept at saving money realize that it is a marathon and not as much a sprint.
Selling your TV, laptop or tablet might sound appealing to make a nice chunk of change initially but it isn’t going to save your long term money woes. Ironically, the incidental amounts, the ones that you don’t always think about, are the ones that are the difference between being on the plus side of your monthly savings.
First, if you don’t have a budget, then your blueprint to success as it relates to money is never going to happen. Budgeting helps you track those aforementioned big budget items but the little ones often go overlooked for those without some sort of system in place.
Think about a $4 cup of coffee that you have five days per week that you don’t think anything of until you add up the yearly cost: $1,200 per year. Who wouldn’t want to have that kind of cash on hand in case of emergency or just to put into a savings account? That take out lunch is even worse than the coffee and only compounds the money you’re spending. A $10 lunch five days per week seems harmless until that number soars to $2,400 dollars per year. Brown bagging isn’t all that bad, right?
Beyond the money, and your daily cup of Joe, your planning doesn’t stop just with budgeting. Think about how you shop, particularly groceries. Do you use a list? Those who use a shopping list spend roughly 40% less than those who go at it blindly.
If you don’t have a list, consider you might be buying things you already have at home or tend to overspend and subsequently throw food away you aren’t going to get to any time soon. And anyone who thinks they’re too good for clipping coupons hasn’t reveled in a bill that is half of what they typically spend.
A few sporadic adjustments might be the salvation you’re looking for, rather than selling off everything you own or drastically changing your life when a small fix could be in order.