If you've ever taken the time to actually write out your household budget, you may have noticed it seems like a never ending list of bills and household expenses. You may have even noticed that you're not left with much money at the end after you subtract all of your financial obligations. Trying to mitigate your budget, or making it easier for you to manage, may require not only some cutbacks in your spending, but putting in a little extra money toward your debts as well.
Pay more than the monthly minimum on your credit cards. Do the same with any other loans you may have, including school loans and automobile loans. You will find this will reduce your debts more quickly, ultimately putting more money into your household budget.
Set aside a certain amount each month for groceries. For example, if your four-person household can get by on $500 a month on groceries, stick to this amount. Browse store circulars for deals and shop at those locations. Clip coupons when necessary. Be sure to create a list of essentials to purchase at the store each time you go, and stick to it. You will find that budgeting a certain amount each month for food expenses will help you not only to stay within your monetary budget, but it will help you pinpoint any unnecessary food expenses.
Cut back on frivolous spending including dining out, going to the movies and buying clothes. Only allow yourself a certain amount of money each month for these things. For example, if your monthly income is $1,200, allow yourself 10 percent of that to spend on these non-essentials.
Clip coupons and research deals. This doesn't apply only to shopping for food. There are plenty of websites that are dedicated to finding you deals in your city pertaining to dining out, going to events and even getting a haircut. Try using Groupon.com and Scoutmob.com for daily deals and discounts in your area.
- If you have a gas guzzling SUV, you may want to consider trading it in for a more fuel-efficient car like a gas-electric hybrid. This will add some expense to your budget, but in the end, you will be saving on gas each month.
- Consider shopping around for insurance premiums with smaller monthly payments, but don't cheat yourself out of full coverage in the process.
Sarah Brooks has been writing since 2008, contributing articles to various online publications. She previously served as a staff reporter for a daily newspaper in Amsterdam, N.Y. Brooks holds a bachelor's degree in magazine journalism from SUNY Plattsburgh.