Saving Money

How To Trim the Fat Out of Your Budget

One of the most frustrating things about personal finance is feeling as though you cannot save any money. You know how important it is to save for such milestones as retirement, and that it is vital that you build up an emergency fund. But finding the money to do so can be difficult. If you are looking for ways to save more, you might want to try spending a little less. You might be surprised at how much fat you can trim from your budget. Some experts estimate that the average household wastes between 10% and 15% of its income each month. Here’s how you can find the fat, trim it, and turn it into savings:

Determine Your Financial Goals and Priorities

First off, it helps to have a purpose for your money. Understanding what you want to accomplish with your finances is vital to figuring out how to use your money more efficiently. Once you set goals for yourself, it is time to decide on your financial priorities.

Consider what is most important to you, and what you feel must be done with your money in order to help you reach the financial goals you have set for yourself. Rank the things that you are most willing to spend money on, creating a list with the most important items at the top.

Analyze Your Spending

The next step is to analyze your spending. If you have personal finance software, or use an online money application, this can be rather easy. Run some reports to see exactly where your money is going. If you haven’t been keeping track of your spending, now is the time to start. Be conscious of your spending, and keep a record of what you spend your money on for at least a month (two or three months is even better).

Once you see where you have been spending your money, you can analyze whether or not your expenditures are keeping in line with your financial goals and priorities.

Identify the Expenses You Can Cut from Your Budget

Compare your actually spending with your stated goals and priorities. You might be surprised to find out how much of your money is wasted on things that do not help you reach your objectives. Once you identify expenses that are not high on the list of priorities, you can cut them out, and put the money you would have spent in a savings account, or invest it in a long-term account.

Of course, this only works if you stick with your program and make an effort to remain disciplined. However, once you really look at what you want to accomplish with your finances, and compare it with what you are actually doing, you might find that you really can save a little bit more.

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19 Comments

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