A new year gives us all a chance to hit the refresh button and make positive changes to help shape how our upcoming year will go. This year, try the following top 10 tips to better your budget and your life for 2018:
Tip #1: Take inventory.
Thoroughly review what you bought (but really didn’t need) from 2017 (i.e. almost a thousand dollars on specialty coffee, nearly two thousand on lunch outings at work, that outfit you charged and only wore once etc.). Knowing the money mistakes of your past is the first step to improving your future budget. Make small changes like brewing coffee at home, packing your lunch to work/school and giving yourself a set dollar amount for clothes, accessories and entertainment each month to prevent those impulse buys.
Tip #2: Drop the bad habits.
There’s no better time than the New Year to quit the bad habits. Smoking, chewing tobacco, alcohol and other unhealthy substances aren’t just terrible for your health, they can also crush your annual budget. Did you know that the average smoker spends about $2,000 per year on cigarettes!? Not to mention the high cost of future medical bills associated with the negative side effects like cancer and even death. Quitting smoking is really a no-brainer, but cutting down on your alcohol in-take is also beneficial. Drinking in excess is never recommended, but even one cocktail can dramatically raise a restaurant bill. This year, give your body and your bottom-line a break and kick the bad habits to the curb.
Tip #3: Switch to water.
Speaking of unhealthy habits and cost, soda is another vice that tends to sneak up on us if we’re not careful. The average soda drinker spends about $850 per year on the carbonated beverages; not to mention all of the added sugar and calories which can also hurt your health in the long run. The switch might be tough at first; but after about two weeks on H20, you won’t even notice the difference when picking the much cheaper, much healthier option.
Tip #4: Get your student loan debt in check.
Once you’ve trimmed some of the fat listed above (both in cost and in calories), it might be time for a quick student loan debt check-up. Student loans are one of the largest causes of debt in households all across America. In fact, right after home mortgages, student loans are the second highest contributor of debt in the country – taking up more dollars than car loans and even credit cards. If your student loan bill is battling with your rent/mortgage for the highest payment in the house each month, you might want to consider a consolidation. Whether you need help filing for a longer/shorter term or want to see if it’s possible to LOWER your monthly payments (which can be as low as $0 for those who qualify), third party pros like Docupop are here to help you find and file for the right repayment plan to fit your needs and your income. To see which great programs you qualify for, give their experts a call direct at 866.884.5021 or check out their website at www.DocuPop.com.
Tip # 5: Out with the old.
Got a house full of stuff you no longer use? Sell it! Take those old clothes, furniture and toys to a second-hand store that will pay you for gently used goods; the rest, you can donate to a local charity who would love to take in the nice gifts.
Tip #6: Use cash.
Once you set your budget for the week/month, use cash for those everyday purchases. Credit card points are great IF you can stop yourself from going over (easier said than done, right?!).
If you have a hard time with overdrafts or credit debt, try carrying cash based on the amount that you know you will be ok with spending each week. Once the cash is gone, you’ll know your money limit is up!
Tip #7: Set short-term financial goals.
Even if it’s $5 dollars per week; set small, achievable goals to start saving up for the bigger purchases you really want (i.e. pay down your debt, those fancy new shoes or even a house etc). Every little bit helps and once you boost your confidence with these little wins for a few consecutive weeks in a row, increase the dollar amount. Before you know it, you’ll be crossing those larger items right off your 2018 wish list.
Tip #8: Split cost with friends & family.
Need childcare? Team up with a fellow parent (or parents) and split the cost of a nanny each week. Pick a designated home (or trade off locations) and have your friends, family or even co-workers join in by hiring someone you all can trust and afford together. Try car pooling with some of your fellow employees who work or live nearby. It’s also nice to switch off dinners if/when you can. Since most recipes end up making several servings, trade off cooking days to stretch your food dollars, ease the stress of having to prep every-night and also get the added perks of seeing those closest to you more often.
Tip #9: Buy in bulk.
For the things you buy the most – and know you will use (i.e. toilet paper, paper towels, soap etc.) buy them in bulk if/when your budget permits. It may be a bigger cost upfront, but the price per item is usually much cheaper than purchasing things one at a time.
Tip #10: Get a side hustle.
Lastly, if you’ve chopped down all of your expenses, but still find yourself having trouble making ends meet; try a side hustle! Ride sharing programs, app-based delivery services and even nutrition companies like Isagenix offer some awesome opportunities to be your own boss and make more cash on your time. *DocuPop is not affiliated with Isagenix. Isagenix is an affiliate of Worthyy, a preferred partner of DocuPop. Always be sure to do your own research and look into these companies to see if they’re a good side hustle fit for you.
Don’t break the bank with old habits, put these tips to use & make 2018 your best budget yet!
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