Whatever the reason for your financial woes, it is important that you stick to a strict monthly budget plan and save money as part of the process. In fact, not having a solid budget plan is one of the major reasons that otherwise intelligent and responsible people fall into debt in the first place. Yes, even when you’re in debt, whether it is from a loan or credit cards or whatever, you should have a solid budget plan that you can stick to month in and month out.
We’ve gone over a lot of budgeting (and expense tracking) tips on Project Debt Relief in the past. If you haven’t checked it out already, our lengthy post on ‘25 Ways to Get Out of Debt’ is a great place to get up to speed on these.
For those of you that have already checked them out (or have looked at standard budgeting tips elsewhere), today’s post is for you. It lists six little known budgeting tips, tips that don’t get widely circulated, but that can help you save big money (while still having enough for your everyday expenses and debt payments).
1. Wait on Purchases
A common piece of advice involving weight loss and healthy eating states that you should wait for between 15 minutes and 30 minutes before eating something that you are craving. The idea is that when you wait this long, you’ll find out whether or not your body is actually hungry or if you really just want an unneeded snack. If the craving is still there after a half hour, then you can go ahead and have the snack. Most of the time, however, you will find that the craving has passed and that you can easily wait to eat until your next planned upon meal time.
This same train of thought can be applied to your spending habits and your overall budget. When you want to make a purchase, whether it is large or small, force yourself to wait for a period of time before making it. While a half hour will sometimes do the trick, an entire day or even a handful of days is even better. Waiting like this will allow you to think things through and will greatly reduce the chances that you buy something that you really don’t need and spend in an unnecessary fashion.
2. Get in the Mindset of a Bank
Banks are the true experts at everything financial so why not start thinking like one? By getting in the mindset of a bank, you can save money with some of the same tactics that they use. One of the best ways to do this is by charging yourself interest when you take money from your savings account. The longer that you keep the borrowed money out (without putting the same amount in) the more you will eventually have to put in to fully pay your ‘self-loan’ off.
Doing this benefits you in any number of ways. For one thing, it can actually help your savings grow. Instead of taking money out of your savings and never putting it back in, thinking like a bank will force you to put even more money in when you can. Furthermore, knowing that you’re going to have to end up sticking more into your savings will encourage you not to take the money out and make whatever the purchase is in the first place. Like tip number two, thinking like a bank encourages you to spend more time thinking your spendings through.
3. Don’t Keep As Many Accounts
For most people (at least those that are debt management ninjas), it is very beneficial to keep only a handful of bank accounts. In fact, one checking account, one savings account, and perhaps one retirement account are all that is needed. When you have more accounts than that it becomes extremely difficult to track your spendings and stay within your budget.
4. Use Leftover Money for Bills
Perhaps one of the best little known budgeting tips of all is to use any leftover money from your monthly budget to put towards your savings or retirement accounts. In fact, treating that leftover money as just another bill – something that you have to pay – will make it all the easier to actually stash away. Act like you have to put the money away and you will do it.
5. Pay Your Bills At Once
One of the trickiest things about paying your bills is that their due dates tend to fall on different days. However, instead of waiting until the due date on each before making a payment, you can usually pay them off all at once, well within their terms. Doing this is essential because it gives you a better idea of how much money you have available after making your required monthly payments. It also reduces the chances that you will miss a payment and be fined with a late penalty.
If you have multiple debt payments to make and are struggling to make them on time, consider consolidating them. In addition to making them easier to manage by having their due dates all on the same day, debt consolidation can also help you get a lower interest rate on your bills, which will save you money in the long run.
6. Try a Spending Fast
Spending money (when you have it) is one of the easiest things in the world to do. After getting a new paycheck or earning a little extra cash, it can feel like it is burning a hole in your pocket. This is especially true if you have not establish good spending habits throughout your lifetime.
Try to break your habit but do it on a single day each month. Don’t spend at all that day but don’t worry if you need to spend here or there on the other days of the month. Doing this will get you in the habit of not spending money but doesn’t require a cold turkey cut off. Chances are that after a month or two of day-long fasts you will find it easier to go for weeks (or longer) without spending any extra dough.