Have you taken a look at your budget lately? Pretty daunting, isn’t it? What was once a simple document is now filled with numerous categories for every single item that you purchase. This includes food, clothing, kid activities, holidays, dining out, movies and so much more. There are so many categories listed on your budget that you find it hard to choose what category something goes into. What’s worse, the money you need to pay down debt and set up an emergency fund seems to decrease every paycheck. In other words, you’ve overextended yourself. It’s time to pare down for a simple budget.
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one to do this. The aftermath of the Great Recession has resulted in millions of folks working to decrease their spending and reduce their personal possessions. Many people are doing this in order to relocate to another part of the country, downsize their living space or even switching to a Tiny House. Their reduction of expenses and objects is making people leaner, meaner and financially healthier.
Sure, it can be hard at first to let go of many of the comforts that you feel are deserved for the hard work you put into your life; however, you’ll soon come to realize that these things are temporary and don’t lead to a more fulfilling life. Here are a few suggestions of what can be cut back in order to make your budget report more manageable.
Groceries — Look in your pantry and refrigerator. Best guess is they’re chock full of packaged foods that you don’t eat. Still, you decided to purchase them because they were a good deal at the supermarket. There’s no need for all of these items to sit there uneaten. First, they’re probably bad for you. Second, they’re taking up precious space for items you make yourself. To fix this you should donate a good portion of the uneaten items to the local food bank, then take a look at your weekly or monthly grocery list to see what can be removed. Scratch out anything that comes in a box or cellophane wrapper, save for items like sugar or flour. Add more fruits, vegetables and healthy fats and carbohydrates to the list. You may want to consider growing some of these items yourself or making them in a kitchen that rarely gets used.
Going out — It’s great to eat out or see a movie once in awhile, not every day or week. Calculate how much you spend on a regular basis on meals out, movies and other events. You may be shocked at the amount of money spent and how much could have been put toward paying debts or beefing up the emergency fund. Be more selective in the meals you partake in or the events you decide to attend. It’ll save money in the end if you go out for a very good meal once every few months instead of fast food two or three times a week.
Clothing — Look inside your closet. There’s probably a rack full of clothes that you never wear anymore or wore only once after paying a good deal of cash for them. There’s no need to buy totally new clothing when it becomes used the minute it’s put on. Donate or sell the unused clothing and head over to the thrift store to look for new duds. There’s a good chance you’ll fine some new or slightly used items for have or three-quarters less than you would pay at the department store.