By: Patti Brill, CPA
In these tough economic times, simple measures to cut costs and save money can make a big difference. The key to knowing where your money goes is creating a budget and sticking to it. Even if you don’t stick to it precisely, you’ll be better off than having no budget at all. To start the process, it helps to carry a notebook around with you to track expenses for one or two months. This is a must to budget properly. Other tips to cut costs and save money follow:
- Credit cards – try to have only one and try to pay it off in full or you end up paying so much more for your purchases; tape a small picture of something you are saving for right on the card to remind you to put it away
- Mortgages – low interest rates are available so consider refinancing but always check FEES
- Insurance – Definitely shop around for car insurance and check the deductible
- Negotiable services – Make sure you have the best price for trash pickup, utilities, cable, phone, health care (ex. Braces – interest free financing, breaks for paying in cash). You’ll be surprised how much these providers want to keep you!
- Deals – Check those flyers in the paper and there are many end-of-season deals. Check on-line for comparison prices
- Charitable contributions and entertainment can add up…make sure you budget for these categories
- Home office – set it up where you can get to it (this will help you stay on top of tracking receipts, expenses etc)
- Holiday shopping – make a list of who you need to buy for, how much you want to spend and stick to it!
- Website to check to be alerted if someone is investigating your credit http://www.truecredit.com
- To get a free copy of your credit report once a year go to http://www.AnnualCreditReport.com
- To increase savings – take out a certain amount each week. Even if it is a small amount it’s a good habit and it adds up.
- For on line budgeting tools go to: www.moneystrands.com; www.mint.com; or check the excel templates
It’s hard to do all of this at once so pick a couple of tips you think you can manage and try them for a couple of months. Habits are formed over time so stick with it and good luck!
Written by: Patti Brill, CPA and owner of Patti’s Personal Accounting, LLC. Patti is also part of the Here’s to Life Now! on-line network of exceptional healthcare practitioners.Tagged: Budgeting , credit , finances , financial planning , Money , saving money , spending money