To create a balanced budget or increase savings, most people will have to find a way to earn more or spend less. If the idea of spending less sounds challenging, try starting small.
It’s important to understand that every purchase we make — excluding such absolute necessities as food, rent, and gas for the car — is a choice. The America Saves coalition offers the following examples of how making some small changes can save you an impressive $150 per month.
|Save $.50 in loose change
|Cut soda consumption by one liter a week
|Bring lunch to work
|Send one free e-card per month instead of buying a card
|Buy grocery store brands
|Use fewer phone features
|Eliminate premium cable channels
|Borrow, rather than buy, one book per month
|Hand wash, rather than dry clean, one shirt per month
|Comparison shop for gas (saving an estimated $.25/gallon)
Finally, in addition to making small changes, resolve to boost your savings by including all of your "windfall" money. This “free money” includes increased income from a pay increase, birthday gifts, insurance settlements, escrow overages, tax refunds, and inheritances.
For more advice, read Bargain Babe's 13 tips to reduce spending.