Budget Bonanzas

Most people think that budgeting is too much work. Here are some tips to help you easily create a meaningful budget that will save you money.

Review budget categories in which you spend the most money.

Trimming 5 or 10 percent from these categories will make a big difference in your savings. Prime categories to trim are groceries, entertainment, meals out and clothing.

Track a few categories in detail.

How much do you spend on each type of family recreation? What do lunches out cost each month? What do you spend on cigarettes, alcohol, candy bars, and fast food? The answers may shock you into fiscal responsibility.

Keep track of your cash.

If cash sifts through your fingers, keep a slip of paper and a pencil stub in your wallet with which you record each cash expenditure for a few weeks. Every time you take out your wallet, job down the amount you spent and what you bought. This will reveal budget leaks that can be stemmed without drastically affecting your life-style.

Review your habits.

  • Do you routinely take several trips a day in your car on errands that could be bunched to save gasoline?

  • Do you spend money at the corner grocery for items that could be purchased less expensively on your weekly supermarket trips?

  • Do you watch all the cable channels to which you subscribe?

  • Is call-waiting really necessary on your telephone?

  • Could you wait to place long-distance calls until the rates are cheaper, or use a less expensive long-distance service?

  • Would recycling cans and bottles earn you money while you save the environment?

(This article was excerpted from the book The Way to Save: A Ten-Step Blueprint for Lifetime Security, by Ginita Wall)

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