If committing to a new family budget was on your list of New Years resolutions, we hope you’re succeeding! Adjusting to a new spending plan can be difficult and takes some fine-tuning for even the most experienced of budgeters. This may be especially true if your Service Member has changed jobs, changed BAH amounts or taken some sort of step in their career that has effected your income. Or, perhaps you’re preparing to buy your first home after a spring or summer PCS. No matter what your life situation, so many things can throw a wrench into good savings intentions.
In the spirit of saving money and budgeting on a daily basis, it’s worth reviewing some of the top (mostly small) things that families spend a great deal of money on over time. By monitoring daily spending and impulse buying, your family will be in much better shape long-term and that much closer to meeting your budgeting goals.
¬†Here Are a Few Tips That go Beyond the clich√© “Don’t Buy Lattes” Advice
(But seriously, cut back on the lattes!)
- ¬†Buying Lunch can equate to $25 or more per week, or about $1,300 a year! Multiply that over the lifetime of your career and you’ve spent about $50,000 on something that can easily be brought from home with a little advance planning.
- Plan your errands into your week and bundle them. This can work two-fold – you’ll save money on fuel and, with a plan, you’ll also have less time to wander and be tempted by impulse buying.
- Joining a wholesale store like Costco or Sam’s Club or BJ’s. These can work to help you save money if you commit to buying food and staying away from those “center aisles” that have all the other tempting objects. Also, meal planning and freezing will help out immensely here. It’s easy to over-buy at a wholesale store and then end up wasting a third of your fresh produce that your family cannot finish.
- Tally up how much you’re spending every day! It’s easy to lose track of small purchases, only to be confused about why your budget is out of whack at the end of the month. Write it all down, get a smart phone app – whatever works for you! The options are endless.
- Stop buying things you already have. It may sound obvious, but it’s amazing how many of us are guilty of this “crime.” Focus on using what you have whether that be clothing, coffee, leftovers, toys your kids haven’t seen in a while, etc. De-cluttering your home is a great way to take a new inventory of your possessions.
- Resist the convenience of the convenience store! They’re 45 percent more expensive than supermarkets for the same items.
- Review those cable packages, gym memberships, thermostat pre-sets, and other monthly bills to see what you truly use versus what can go! This can easily save hundreds with little to no true sacrifice. You also may consider reducing your cell phone minutes to the lowest amount you think you need. Then you can set up reminders to regularly check your usage and change your plan to accommodate your true need and avoid=id overage charges.