The magic word when it comes to saving money has and always will be “budget.”
You know, your neighborhood, friendly budget that is the means to an end, with that end being able to save money without even thinking about it.
You piece together a list of your expenses and then your income, and start looking for places to cut the former since you don’t have all that much control over the latter. In most instances, your budget and having one that not only exists but you implement is the trick to getting your finances in order but also saving money where you need to the most.
But can a budget be a bad thing?
Truthfully, it certainly has the potential to do so, given that budgeting can’t be taken to the extreme when you set realistic expectations that you simply can’t meet. Not being smart with your budget doesn’t mean simply not to follow it but also can equate to having a budget that makes things way too difficult on yourself moving forward, no matter how bad things might be.
Living without cable television or cutting your cell phone down from one of the major carries to one that is more of a smaller time entity or a pay as you go should be fine, and doesn’t fall under the “extreme” umbrella. What could cause you problems, however, is banishing your food budget to just cans of tuna and beans for the next 6 months, and not allowing yourself to spend dollar one on a meal out at a restaurant.
Granted, eating out and spending breakfast, lunch and dinner on restaurant or fast food dining will take up a lot of your free spending money, but that doesn’t mean an anniversary or birthday dinner needs to be skipped sporadically.
Just because you put pen to paper doesn’t mean the budget works. It has to be realistic and set forth a plan that you actually can follow. No one, as far as dieting goes, can transform from burgers and French fries to carrot sticks and boiled chicken within a week. You have to slowly ween yourself off your diet; the same can be said for your budget.
Start with items that you know you don’t need and work from there; start cutting small and then work your way up to things like refinancing a home or car, if you truly need to go that route.
What won’t matter, if you take that path, is your budget as a whole. It will be nothing more than a dream that won’t ever come to fruition.