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Challenge Yourself To Avoid These 10 Frivolous Expenses For One Month

Challenge Yourself To Avoid These 10 Frivolous Expenses For One Month

Did you know that simply by having one Starbucks coffee per day, five days per week, that you are spending over $1,000 per year? Just think about what else you could be doing with that money. We all spend money unnecessarily. After all, we think nothing of spending a couple of dollars here and there. But, every penny adds up, and we spend thousands of dollars each year on things that we really don’t need. Here are 10 avoidable expenses that most of us are guilty of wasting money on.

1. Daily Lunches

As a busy person, you may not have time to make lunches to take to work, so you spend money to eat out every day. No matter where you go, you are going to spend at least $5 per day. That adds up to over $1,000 each year. Make your lunches at home the night before to save time and money. Here are great healthy lunch recipes all clock in at $3 or less per serving.

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2. Weekly Pizza Night

If you get a pizza for your family once a week, you are spending at least $20 to $30 each week. That adds up to $1,000 or more each year. Sure, we all need to treat ourselves now and again, and who doesn’t like pizza? But, why not cut back to one pizza night a month. You will be saving $60 to $90 per month, or more. Also, there are always great tasting grocery store pizza that could cost you only $5-$6.

3. Travel

You may love to travel, but it gets pretty expensive after a while. You can’t get a decent motel room for less than $100 per night, and then you have to pay for meals, and have spending money. You also have to spend a lot on airfares. Instead of giving up on travel, find ways to have budget vacations. For instance, you can get great deals on airfares at Kayak and Airfares Flights. Find a bidding site to bid for less expensive hotel rooms and find local eating deals through that city’s online coupons and meal deals.

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4. Books

The cost of books gets higher and higher all the time. A cheap paperback novel now costs upwards of $10. Reading shouldn’t have to be a luxury. But, instead of spending a lot of money on books, why not get them from your local library for free? Book getting can be accomplished with a Kindle Unlimited membership for just $9.99 a month as well.

5. Clothing

You don’t need to have three closets full of clothing, or hundreds of pairs of shoes. All a person really needs are a few main pieces, a few accent pieces, three to four pairs of shoes, and some accessories. You can save money by cutting back on clothes shopping. You can make money if you clean out your closets and sell all those clothes you aren’t even wearing. Neighborhood swapping party to get new sizes that the kids or you need also is a great way to save money on your clothes.

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6. Weekly Movie Nights

It’s nice to have date night with your significant other, but for two people to go to the movies, it costs upwards of $50 if you get popcorn and pop. You can save money by cutting back to one date night a month. Buying tickets at the Box Office will save you $1-2 that you’d pay for online booking. Find a late-run theater and watch movies later. You can still enjoy each other’s company by renting a movie or streaming on online. There are tremendous savings to be had with streaming movie options, investigate if one is a good fit for your household.

7. Beer

Beer, or any other alcoholic beverage, is expensive. It is even more costly when you choose to drink at a bar with friends instead of at home. By cutting back on the amount of alcohol you consume, you will be saving a lot of money. You may even lose weight and feel healthier. If you must socialize with a cocktail, choose Happy Hour times, some places even have late night reverse Happy Hour!

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8. Lottery Tickets

Do you really need to spend money on those lottery tickets every week? Sure, winning is fun, but take a good look at what you spend compared to what you win, and you will realize just how much you have lost over the years. Perhaps making it an indulgence instead of a habit is a better fit. Maybe establish a ‘couch fund’- money found in the couch, for treats like this.

9. Treats for the Kids

Do you bring home treats for your kids every time you go shopping? This can get pretty expensive after a while. It also will cause your kids to not appreciate real treats. Cut back on the treats for the kids, save money, and as a bonus, this may help them to grow into adults who appreciate all that they do have.

10. Cigarettes

If you are a smoker, you are likely spending at least $10 per day on cigarettes, depending on how much you smoke. Quitting is hard, but it is well worth the effort. You will be saving over $3,000 per year, and improving your health. If you can start by weaning yourself down on the nicotine aspect with patches and the oral aspect with suckers, eventually you will thank yourself and feel better as well.

Featured photo credit: pshegubj via flickr.com

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Jane Hurst

Writer, editor

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Published on October 8, 2018

13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

Are you having trouble sticking to a family budget? You aren’t alone.

Budgeting is difficult. Creating one is hard enough, but actually sticking to it is a whole other issue. Things come up. Desires and cravings happen. And the next thing you know, budgets break.

So how can you stick to a family budget? Here are 13 tips to make it easier.

1. Choose a major category each month to attack

As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” With that in mind, one approach to help you get into the habit of sticking to a budget is simply starting slow.

Spend too much on Starbucks runs, eat out too often, and have an out-of-this-world grocery bill? Choose one bad habit and attack.

By choosing one behavior to focus on, you’ll prevent yourself from being overwhelmed. You’ll also experience small victories, which help you gain positive momentum. This momentum can then carry over into your overall budget.

2. Only make major purchases in the morning

If you’re making large purchases in the evening, there’s a good chance you’re doing so after a long day and you’re probably tired.

Why does this matter? Because our judgement tends to be off when tired – our willpower is compromised.

Instead, only make major purchasing decisions in the morning when you’re energized and refreshed. Your brain will be firing on all cylinders and your resolve will be high. You’re less likely to give in and settle at this point.

3. Don’t go to the grocery store hungry

Have trouble with impulse buys at the grocery store? If so, there’s a good chance you’re going grocery shopping while hungry.

The problem here is that when you’re hungry, everything looks good. So you’re more likely to make split decisions on things that aren’t on your grocery list.

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Instead, make sure you eat prior to your grocery store trip. Then take your list, along with your full stomach, and go shopping. Notice how food doesn’t look quite so good when you’re not fighting cravings.

4. Read one-star reviews for products

Is there a product you just have to have (but maybe not really)? Check out the one-star reviews.

By reading all the horrible reviews, you may be able to basically trick yourself into deciding that the product isn’t worth your time and money.

Next thing you know, you didn’t make the purchase, you saved the money, and you feel good about the decision.

5. Never buy anything you put in an online shopping cart until the next day

If you are making a purchase online, it’s typically a two-step process. First, you click “Add to Cart” and then you go in to review your cart and pay.

The problem is that there not typically much reviewing during step two. It’s generally click pay and there you go. However, this is the perfect point to stop for reflection.

Once you add to your cart, your best bet is to step away until the next day. Let the item sit there and grow cold, so to speak.

This gives you a night to “sleep on it” and decide if you really want and need to spend that money. If you wake up the next day and still find the purchase viable, then perhaps it’s time to go for it.

6. Don’t save your credit card info on any site you shop on

One of the other pitfalls of shopping online is that fact that most sites ask you to save your credit card information.

While the sites will frame it as a method of convenience, the truth is they know you’ll spend more money in the long run if your credit card information is saved.

The “convenience” takes away one last decision-making point in the purchasing process. True, it’s a pain to get out your credit card and enter the information every time. But guess what? That’s the point. If that inconvenience helps you stay on budget, then it’s worth it. Which leads into the next tip.

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7. Tape an “impulse buy” reminder to your credit card

Credit cards make spending much easier than cash. When you spend cash, you can literally see your wallet emptying. A credit card comes out, then goes back in. No harm, no foul.

That’s why it’s a good idea to tape a reminder to your credit card. Customize a message that is something along the lines of “do you really need this?” or “does it fit the budget?”

That way when you pull out the card, you get one last reminder to help you question your decision and stick to your budget.

8. Only use gift cards to shop on Amazon

Amazon is probably the easiest place online to blow money. It’s just so easy to click and buy. However, one way you can slow the process down is buy only using gift cards. Here’s how it works.

If you plan on making a purchase on Amazon, go to the grocery store and purchase a pre-loaded Amazon gift card of the proper amount. There’s no convenience fee, so you literally pay for the money you’ll spend.

Now take that gift card home and load it to your Amazon account. There’s your money to spend.

Why does this help? It makes you have to purposely go to the score and purchase the card in order to purchase the item. That’s a pretty deliberate thing that takes some time, commitment, and thought.

This process will effectively kill the impulse buy.

9. Budget using cash and envelopes

As mentioned earlier, it’s a lot harder to spend cash than swipe a credit card. You can take this even farther by using only cash, and separating that cash by budget category.

Create an envelope for each category and stick the cash in there at the beginning of each month. When the envelope is empty, no more spending on that category, unless you borrow from another (be careful of that approach).

This can be pretty helpful for people that have a hard time following transactions in their checking account, or keeping a budgeting spreadsheet.

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The envelopes simplify the tracking process, leaving no room for error. Nothing hides from you because it’s tangible in the envelopes in front of you.

10. Join a like-minded group

Making the decision to stick to something like budgeting is difficult. It takes long-term commitment.

You’re going to feel weak sometimes. And sometimes you may fail. That said, support from others can help strengthen resolve.

Support can come from a spouse or a friend, but they won’t always have the exact same goal in mind. That’s why it’s a good idea to join a support group that’s likeminded.

No need to pay here, as there are tons of free communities that fit the bill online.

For example, reddit has multiple subreddits that deal with budgeting and frugal living. You can follow, subscribe, and get active in those communities.

This will open your eyes to new tips and strategies, keep your goal fresh on your mind, and help you realize there are others dealing with the same struggles and being successful.

11. Reward Yourself

When you set a budget, it’s usually with a large goal in mind. Maybe you want to be debt free, or perhaps you want to see $10,000 in your savings account.

Whatever the case, the end goal is great, but the end is often far away, making it hard to see the end of the tunnel.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to set mini-goals along the way. This helps you still look at the big picture but have something that’s attainable in the short-term to help with momentum.

But don’t stop there – set rewards for yourself when you reach that small goal. Maybe it’s an extra meal out. Or a new pair of shoes.

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Whatever the case, this gives you something in the near future to look forward to, which can help with the fatigue that can result in pursuing long-term goals.

12. Take the Buddhist approach

You don’t have to be a Buddhist to recognize some of the wisdom in the teachings. One of the tenets of the philosophy involves accepting that we can’t have everything we want. And that’s okay.

Sometimes you won’t feel good. Sometimes you’ll have cravings. You can’t deny them. But you can recognize them, accept them, and let them pass by. Then you move on.

Apply this to the times you want to do things that will break your budget. You’re going to have the desire to eat out when you shouldn’t. You might want to stay out and spend too much at happy hour with your work friends.

The feelings will come. Recognize them, accept them, but let them go.

13. Set up automatic drafts to savings

If you wait until you’ve spent all your budgeted money to deposit money into savings, guess what? You probably aren’t going to put any money into savings.

It’s too easy to see that as extra money and end up using it to treat yourself.

Instead, set up automatic savings withdrawals. That way, the money is marked and gone before you can even think about it. It becomes a non-issue. It’s no longer “extra.” It’s just savings.

Conclusion

Sticking to a budget can be difficult. No one is denying that.

However, if you can do a few things to set yourself up for success, and put some practices in place to curb impulse buys, then you can (and will!) be successful sticking to your family budget.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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