When you have discussions around saving money and making sure you’re balancing your income and expenses, the discussion inevitably comes back to one simple game plan.
Having a budget is a make or break endeavor when it comes to being able to save money, and as much as you think your budget is iron clad, you have to realize that you’ve probably got a few holes in it.
Sure, you have all the major players accounted for in the collection that is your budget. Your car loan, your mortgage payment or rent, and all the utilities and credit cards you’re paying on consistently (of course if you want to keep your credit score up to par).
But what typically kills the budget are those aforementioned “holes,” which would be described as smaller expenses that typically slip through the cracks and end up costing you thousands of dollars per year, and you don’t even realize it because they’re deemed so inconsequential.
The funny thing about your budget is it almost always accounts for trips to the grocery store for the weekly or biweekly shopping list, but what about adding line items for the miscellaneous stores such as drug stores or big box membership club stores? Think about the last time you did that buying in bulk trip; where did that money come from as it relates to your budget? The drug store also can lead to buying anything from cleaning products to vitamins, and that can be a substantial amount of money.
Speaking of substantial, what about that cable bill? Well, not like you’re thinking as far as making sure the $200 cable bill is on your budget but rather kudos for canceling it. But what about making sure you take into consideration the replacement plan for not having cable. Maybe you’re going to the movies once per week or you’re subscribing to a streaming service such as Hulu or Netflix, and maybe you added satellite radio or Spotify for your music needs (now that cable is gone). Those $9.99 bills add up quickly, so you could end up missing what amounts to $50 or $60 per month, which equates to more than $600 per year, and can be anywhere up to a thousand in that 12 month time span.
Your budget is your lifeline when it comes to paying bills on time and subsequently saving money but if your total expenses aren’t truly a “total” or completely accounted for then having said budget won’t matter all that much.
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