Budgeting seems to come naturally for some people. For others, however, it takes research, discipline, and shrewd analysis. Americans sometimes overspend in unexpected areas; small purchases can add up fast, and some recurring charges are easy to miss. If it seems like you’re spending just as much as you’re taking in, evaluate your spending in these four areas. By making a few small changes (or some big ones), you can improve your spending habits and keep your finances in check.
Spending Too Much On Rent? Try This:
For many people, housing expenses account for the largest chunk of money they spend each month. In some situations, there’s no way to get around it; everyone needs a place to live, and the cost of living in some cities is astronomical. While some people advocate spending less than a third of their monthly net income on housing, this is by no means a hard and fast rule. Paying twenty-five percent or less of your net monthly income on housing can be an excellent way to build up your savings or pay off debt. Choosing a less-than-ideal location or a smaller place that needs work can end up paying off in the long run. On the other hand, paying slightly more for housing can allow individuals to spend less on transportation, have access to higher-paying jobs, or live in an area with better schools.
Excessive Transportation Costs? Try This:
Transportation costs and housing often go hand in hand, and many individuals find that they can cut spending in one category or another. In larger cities where the cost of living is higher, many people get by without owning a car. Vehicle ownership gets expensive fast; gas, routine maintenance, parking, car payments, insurance, and registration can be incredibly costly. Commuting via public transportation, carpooling, riding a bike, or limiting the distance and frequency you travel by car can help reduce transportation spending.
Bleeding Out Through Subscription Services? Cut Some Of Them.
Subscription services are a silent financial killer. Things like streaming services, product subscription boxes, and other recurring charges are often small and unnoticeable, but they can quickly add up. Some people pay for subscriptions that they either forget about or use very rarely. If your monthly spending seems out of control, search your bank statements for monthly subscriptions to see what can be eliminated.
Stop Spending Big At The Wrong Stores
One of the best ways to cut spending on necessities is to shop smart. Buying some grocery items, toiletries, or household goods in bulk is an excellent way to pay less per unit, and store and manufacturer coupons can help shoppers save. Pay attention to the price of the same items at different stores — while you may be able to get all of your shopping done at your neighborhood grocery store, it might be cheaper to purchase items like paper goods, pet food, and cookware from big box stores instead.
This article is provided by NAIFA educational partner EveryIncome. Find a financial professional to help manage your finances with NAIFA's one-of-a-kind Find An Advisor tool.