Create a cost-cutting plan right for you
A recent Intuit survey revealed that 65% of American adults don’t know how much they spend monthly and one-third regret overspending last month. It’s not surprising—creating and sticking to a monthly budget can be daunting.
If you find yourself wishing you could get a better handle on expenses, the first step is to take a deep dive into what you’re spending. By auditing your current spend and tracking monthly expenses, you’ll tangibly see where your money is going. That’ll help you develop a sustainable budget with money-saving tactics. And by doing so, you may find you can save money and still spend on items that bring you joy.
We have tips to set your cost-cutting plan in motion. Let’s get started on how to budget and save.
Your cost-cutting plan: There’s an app for that!
Auditing what you spend money on means you need to begin tracking. But tracking doesn’t have to be cumbersome. There are several online systems to help. This American Consumer Credit Counseling® Monthly Budget Worksheet can help you get started with a comprehensive list of expenses.
Once you make note of your monthly spending categories, consider exploring top-rated budget tracking apps you can download to your phone:
- PocketGuard for a simplified budgeting snapshot
- YNAB and EveryDollar for zero-based budgeting
- Goodbudget for shared envelope-budgeting
- Honeydue for budgeting with your partner
- Personal Capital for tracking wealth and spending
If you’re managing the budget as a family, an app is a great way to let multiple household members contribute to keep your monthly budget updated.
Remember to track as many expenses as possible through all payment methods—cash, credit cards and direct account withdrawals.
Start a money-saving plan
Once you have tracked your expenses over a month or two, you’ll begin to see patterns of where your money is spent. If you are spending more you would like in a category, focus on a cost-cutting plan.
If you would like to reduce spending on food, for example, consider eating out less, watching for grocery store sales, and switching from brand names to generic products. Then see how your spending pattern changes over the next few months. Adjust as needed.
It’s also worth doing a line-by-line assessment of your credit card statement—or even your purchase receipts. For items that don’t fit in a basic needs category, ask yourself, “Did this bring me joy?” If you start thinking of purchases in terms of needs and joys, you may find the things that don’t fit those categories are not worth the cost.
Next on the cost-cutting plan: Recurring expenses
To figure out how to budget and save, look also at your recurring monthly expenses.
- Contact your utility company for money saving programs. Many have time-of-use programs that offer customer discounts for those who reduce electricity use during peak hours. Utilities may also offer cash-back programs for installing energy-saving devices or appliances.
- Shop around for phone, insurance and internet providers. These industries are so competitive, it’s worth analyzing their offerings and incentives annually.
- If your grocery store has a free customer loyalty card, sign up for savings and deals.
- If you are carrying debt, like student loans or credit card balances, consider consolidating this debt into a lower-interest loan. At Greater Alliance, we may be able to reduce your debt through our personal loan options, helping you save in the long run.
- Have you looked at your home interest rate lately? If you haven’t refinanced your home mortgage recently, check out our mortgage loans. We may be able to help reduce your monthly payments.
Join forces with a budgeting and money saving partner
If you’ve decided it’s time to for a personal money-saving plan, Greater Alliance can help. Contact us for financial wellness guidance. We have tips on how to budget and save. Give us a call at 201-599-5500 or contact us to take control of your budget and start saving today.