Its only the 1st week of December and already my budget is crying uncle and asking for a break! If you are putting the last few touches on your Christmas gifts or just starting, you might be feeling the belt tighten on your budget for the rest of the year. If you were smart, you might have started prepping for this earlier in the year by setting some money aside but most of us can barely get through our months with the next month in mind never mind thinking so far ahead as Christmas!
Well, fear not, December will whip past us and then it’ll all be over and we can look forward to the New Year!...On a budget. Yikes! Well, perhaps starting the new year off a little tight isn’t a bad thing. It might force you to look at your spending and make some smart choices to help set your budget and savings to rights--But don’t just stop at getting everything back to the pre-Holiday standard! Why not make it even better? With that in mind, here are four budgeting New Year’s Resolutions to get your year off to a great start!
So, one resolution that is fairly easy to keep is to take a day, every month, to assess your budget. This can be as easy as using a budgeting app like Mint and just taking twenty minutes out of the last day of every month to see how you did. If you are more hands on, it might be an hour or two sitting with your online bank statement and assessing how you did. Either way, it is important to spend this time being mindful and conscious of your spending habits. In the beginning, use this time to assess where you need to cut back and how to prioritize your spending. Get rid of some subscriptions you aren’t using to the fullest and really double check to make sure you are making the smartest financial choices.
So the first part of this one might make sense but you might be a little confused by the second. What we mean by “implement envelops” is that every paycheck, take out the amount of money you have precalculated for your budgets and put them into the corresponding envelope. For instance, let's say you have allowed for $300 for food including groceries and going out to eat. You would put $300 in your “food” envelope and that would be the only money you can spend on food. Not only will this force you to stay to budget, it’ll keep you from swiping your debit or credit card all the time. It is really easy to go over budget or forget about it all together when we are just waving our cards around and not seeing our balance as we use it.
Make a deal with yourself that this is the year you put the time into looking at the services and subscriptions you have and making sure you are being as cost effective as possible. Double check car insurance options--Have you done a comparison lately? What about your gym membership? Could you not change gyms for a lower rate? This might take time and research and, dare we say it, effort! But, it is absolutely worth the time to make sure your money is being spent the right way.
We’ve phrased this one in a very positive way. You get to eat out once a week! Yay! What we really mean though is, stop eating out so much. Limit it to once a week. Pick your meal for the week that you want to eat out, whether it is brunch on Sunday with your friends or lunch on Tuesday with your one coworker. The success to this is making sure you have food for all your meals so you don’t fall into the easy trap of “Well, there is nothing to eat in the house, might as well order pizza!” Use this to also help you eat healthier! It is easier to eat well when you know exactly what is going into it!
And there you have it! Four simple budgeting resolutions you can make with yourself for a year filled with savings and less worry. In the meantime though, have an awesome rest of your Holiday season! It might suck the soul out of your budget but it is definitely fun while it’s here. While next season will hopefully be easier, if you need a little help making up for the “magic” of the Holidays, maybe check out one of our car title loans. They are a great way to help fill in that Holiday gap !