The beginning of a new year always makes people think about money and their goals for spending. Here are some ideas to get you started for some of your own.
1. Set priorities for spending. Make short-, medium-, and long-term goals. Develop a savings plan for reaching the goals.
2. Limit small spending. How much money is being spent on lattes, pop, candy, cigarettes, and other items?
3. Look at services you are paying for but not using. Do you have health-club memberships, phone service, magazines, newspapers, unwatched cable packages, and other expenses that can be eliminated, or reduced? Eliminate items not being used.
4. Food - take your lunch to work a couple days a week. Try scaling back on fast food and eating out. Use coupons or watch for specials.
5. Clothing - Children often outgrow their clothing before wearing them out. This can be an expensive and frustrating experience, so don't let their wardrobes get too large. Watch for sales or share clothes with relatives.
6. Recreation - Look at inexpensive ways to do things with the family. Search out free activities, concerts, parks, and community events. Plan a family night which includes playing board games, cards, etc. Rather than spending money at the movie theater, check out movies from the library, watch a movie on TV, or borrow one from a friend.
7. When buying a house or renting an apartment, select one you can afford. Check what other expenses you will need to pay.
8. Consider ways to cut down on utility bills and energy usage. In the winter, set the thermostat no higher than 72F when you are home. Lower the thermostat when you are away for more than four hours or asleep. You can save approximately 10 percent on heating bills by turning the thermostat back 10-15 degrees for eight hours a day. You can also turn the heat down and put on another layer of clothing. In the summer, set the thermostat at 78F. Save energy by unplugging chargers when the charged item is removed. Switch out incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescent bulbs - the initial cost is more but there is savings in the long run.
9. Another area of expense for families is pets. Many families want and enjoy pets but don't realize the cost of keeping a pet. On the average it can cost up to $1,000 a year to have a pet. One must consider food, vaccinations, boarding, treats, and other items necessary for keeping pets whether it is a cat, dog, bird, or other pet.
10. Be a wise shopper and check the sale ads. Make a list and stick to it at the grocery store. Go shopping as few times as possible. Eat before you go shopping so you are not hungry. Also, by using fewer convenience items, your bill will be lower.
Reach Karen Slunecka at 605-626-2870 or email@example.com.