How to Take Control of Your Finances

Living in Orange County and need help saving money? Here are some tips to help you take control of your finances and as well as unexpected money leaks.

Create A Budget

Taking control of your finances all begins with creating a monthly budget for yourself by taking a good look at your monthly income versus your monthly expenses. A budget should be created by looking at past spending habits and coming up with a reasonable max dollar amount to allow yourself to spend for categories such as food, groceries, clothing, and more. A helpful way to track your progress for staying within your budget is to record all your spendings and categorize them in a spreadsheet. This may seem tedious at first, but this will be a great help in the long run. Seeing how close you are or how far you are from the max amount you allow yourself to spend will help you be more careful with each transaction based on whether it is something you need or something you want. Having a budget can also be a useful tool for saving money and for helping you only spend a reasonable amount rather than overspending your account balance.

Prioritize Necessary Recurring Payments

Prioritizing the categories in your budget will help you keep in mind of which categories are more crucial to include in your budget over others, such as clothing and miscellaneous items. You might have payments that are recurring on a month-to-month basis, such as utilities, credit card bills, and so on. On top of creating a monthly budget for yourself, prioritize important categories such as those recurring monthly payments in order to be sure that those are paid off first.

Consider Food Expenses

Food is one of largest categories that drains your money over others. This drainage isn’t just from buying groceries or eating out too much, but it also includes the food you buy that goes to waste. Although buying food in bulk may seem cheaper short-term, it can easily be forgotten and end up going to waste to cost more long-term. The best way to minimize your spending towards food is to meal plan and purchases groceries on a weekly basis in order to resist the urge to buy in bulk or eat out.

Implement Energy-Saving Efforts

Energy costs can skyrocket if you don’t pay attention to them and can result in a significant money leak. This may include keeping your lights, heat, or air conditioning on when you are away or when they do not need to be on. Here are some simple ways to reduce your energy costs by using the resources you already have or implementing cheaper alternatives:

  • On a sunny day, open shades or blinds to let the natural light in instead of turning on your lights.
  • On hot days, open all your windows to let air in instead of turning on the air conditioning. You can even buy portable fans that can help you cool off without it being too costly.
  • On cold days, try to layer up to keep warm instead turning on the heater. Using thermal curtains or draft stoppers can also help keep warm air in to keep your home cozy.

Some energy costs that are out of your control can include outdated appliances or old light bulbs because they can be using up more energy than they need. Look into investing in more energy efficient appliances and bulbs because they can be expensive short-term, but worth it long-term.

Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions and Memberships  

Subscription services are easy to sign up for and can easily be forgotten because a small monthly charge may not be as noticeable. Many of these subscription services are even prone to becoming less useful long-term, so take a moment to reconsider whether it is necessary to keep some of your subscriptions and memberships or whether you should say goodbye to the ones you no longer use. A helpful way to make this decision is to look at the financial benefits a subscription or membership would have for you to help you keep your expenses within your monthly budget.

Personal financing can be something difficult to execute, but it is possible. This can prevent you from being in debt, help you get out of debt, improve your credit score and ultimately allow you to take control of where your money is going. With a little planning and some thoughtful decision making, your bank account will become much healthier.

If you have any questions or need any help in regards to financing, get in touch with us today!

Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Watchara Ritjan

Courtesy of Cuselleration