Has Your Household Budget Sprung a Leak?
Do you live paycheck to paycheck?
Do you think you have more month than money?
Do you wonder where your paycheck goes?
If you answered yes or even a maybe to one of these questions, then your spending plan may have sprung a leak. No one likes to discuss the “B” word, but a budget or spending plan can help you to control the leaks and have better control of your cash flow.
First, look at your expenses. It is helpful to write them down on a piece of paper or track them in a phone app. Whatever method you choose, you need to stick to it for at least a month or longer since some expenses are less frequent. For example, school supplies, birthday and holiday gifts and car tags are a few once-a-year expenses that if you do not plan for, they can take a big bite out of your budget.
Have you looked at all the extras that we like to spend money on? A few dollars a day does not seem like much. If you look at that amount over a month or a year, it can add up to substantial savings.
A can of pop and a candy bar for an afternoon snack can cost on average $3.98. If we figure the cost of this in a month, it will add up to $119.40, and in a year, you could save $1,452.70. Could you use an extra $1,400 to pay off a debt or maybe put it towards a vacation you have always wanted to take?
Packing a lunch can save you money by not wasting food at home. If you compare that to purchasing a fast-food lunch each day, the savings would be around $7 per meal or more! A month of lunches could cost $210, and year savings would be $2,555.00.
One of my favorite splurges is a large mocha latte. It costs $5.80 at my favorite coffee shop. In a week, I could save $29.00. In a month, I could save $116.00 and, in a year, I would have an additional $1,508 to spend elsewhere. Maybe it’s time to rethink my morning drink!
All those small insignificant expenditures do add up. One way to analyze where your spending leaks are is with an expense tracking tool. Once you have your leaks identified, plan for how you want to spend your money. This way, you are in control of your money, and your money is not controlling you!
If you find you need more money to make ends meet, there are numerous ways to increase your income with a second job or side hustle. Sell items online, take paid surveys, rent your home as a vacation rental, drive for a delivery service. A little self-reflection and creativity can help you find a solution for increasing the cash you have coming in each month.
If things are tight at your house, then look for community resources to help. SNAP, WIC, and other food programs can help you to supplement your grocery budget. If you need help paying utility costs, check into programs such as LIEAP for assistance. The best way to control your spending leaks is to know what you have coming in each month, look at how you spend your money and then set a goal for how you plan to spend and save your money for the future.