A new year is here, which means, if you’re financially responsible, then it’s time to plan your budget for the coming twelve months. The past year has certainly been difficult for many people, with the pandemic and subsequent economic downturn limiting many workers’ earning potential. When times are tough, we’re often left with no alternative to cutting costs and saving money. While giving up on cherished habits and possessions is never easy, there are ways to limit expenses while making only minor lifestyle changes. Just a few small changes could have a major impact on your budget over the course of the year. Here are five simple strategies that you could adopt in the interest of cutting costs in 2021.
Keep Track Of Your Spending
The first step in controlling your spending is getting a handle on where your money is actually going. It’s only by tracking your expenses and then identifying trends that you’ll learn what behaviors you have to change. You might notice, for example, that you’re spending a surprising amount of money each week on takeout coffee. Once you’ve identified this problem, you can set about finding the solution. Perhaps, you’ll realize that buying a coffee pot and making coffee at home would save you money in the long term. These types of solutions will only present themselves if you put time and energy into tracking your expenses.
Always Do Your Grocery Shopping On A Full Stomach
Grocery stores are seriously seductive places. All around you there are shelves and shelves of delicious food, all marketed in such a way that you’re practically bound to start salivating right there in the store. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up checking out with twice as much food as you were planning to buy, some of which might go bad before you have time to eat it. While there’s no magic defense against seductive treats, you can make it less likely you’ll splurge by entering the supermarket only after a heavy meal. With your stomach full, all those snacks won’t look nearly as tempting.
Make Shopping Lists To Avoid Impulse Purchases
When you track and study your spending, you might well find that far too much of your money is spent on needless impulse purchases. When going to the store to buy particular items, you might have your head turned by other products that you don’t really need. One way to fight this phenomenon is by always shopping with a list. Determine what you need to buy before heading out your front door, and commit to never buying anything that doesn’t appear on your list.
Switch To A Prepaid Cell Phone
Cell phone plans are inordinately expensive, and lots of people spend a decent chunk of their monthly paycheck on a service that they don’t really need. By switching to a prepaid phone, you can retain the ability to make emergency calls without spending money that you can’t afford to lose. Not only will this strategy save you money, but it will also encourage you to decrease your screen time and spend more time doing the things you really love.
Only Eat Out On Special Occasions
Eating out is an expensive activity, and yet many folks make a habit of doing it regularly. If you’re frequenting bars, restaurants, and cafes, then your gastronomical lifesyle is probably putting a serious dent into your savings. There’s no reason to swear off restaurants altogether, but try to save eating out for birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions.