Happy Monday Divas 🙂
I hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing weekend. This is my first official week back at work full-time….yay!!! Ok…I’ve got a little more enthusiasm than that. I’ve had a pretty sweet break so I’m ready to rock and roll back into action.
A little over a week ago, I stressed the importance of having an emergency savings and the fun contest hosted by Mint.com and DailyWorth.com to save $1000 in 90 days. This week I’d like to share some easy and painless ways to trim from your budget and, of course, get your feedback on actions that worked for you.
Taking my lunch to work or going home on my lunch breaks. I’ve always had this thing about taking my lunch to school and work. Even as a kid. I just didn’t like it. But when I sat down and really looked at how much I was spending on a weekly basis, I was floored and quickly changed my ways. I still eat out but I have a budget of $20 a week. Once it’s gone – it’s gone. This forces me to be very creative. Now that we’ve moved about 2 miles away from my job I find myself going home more often and enjoying about 45 minutes of alone time in my house
Enrolling in 401k. My company matches up to 3% so I started with that base amount and increase it by 1% each year. I’m, almost, fully vested so if I do leave the company I’ve doubled my investment for my retirement.
Couponing and shopping the sales. No, I’m not one of the crazies on the tv shows. My rule of thumb is that I only buy what my family will use. It is true that for the real savings you have to establish a stockpile. I know that word conjures up mountains and mountains of items. But for my family, it means I have at least 4-6 items per person. Once I reach that amount, I don’t buy anymore until we’re down to about 2-3 items and it’s back on sale again. I buy most of my personal hygiene and paper products from the drug stores and use their reward programs and coupons to maximize my savings.
Look for energy saving ways in your home to help reduce your electric, gas and water bills. By hanging blackout curtains, turning thermostat down when not home during the day, washing your clothing in cold water, changing your light bulbs to the CFLs instead of standard one, etc…you can cut down on many of your home utilities.
Pay down/off credit card debt as quickly as possible. The longer the debt is outstanding the more interest you’re paying to the bank.
Create a budget and bill calendar. Paying your bills on time minimizes late payments and knowing when everything is due ahead of time allows you to plan accordingly.
Those are just a few action items that I use and have worked for me. Feel free to share some tips and ideas that you use in your own budgets to help us all out 🙂