Time to get a handle on those expenses
Looking to simplify your life and put aside a bit more every month?
If your spending is out of control, January is a good time to scrutinize your finances. Odds are, you’ll be able to trim more than you thought.
You can reduce the amount of money you spend in all kinds of ways, and many of these items don’t necessarily require that you reduce your standard of living.
The trick is to make more careful decisions about what’s really important to you – differentiating between what you need rather than what you want.
Nobody said it was going to be easy though.
This handy online ‘hidden-expenses’ calculator will help chronic spenders to tally how much they spend on a monthly basis on up to 16 unbudgeted or overlooked expenses a year, including home repairs, prescription drugs, vacations, dental work and birthday gifts.
Of course, these are generally not the killer expenses. That’s why it’s probably better to cut back on one or two big items than nickel and dime your way into the black. If you normally take two vacations a year, for instance, you’ll save thousands taking only one. And cutting out every second restaurant trip can save you hundreds of dollars.
Looking for inspiration? Here’s a series of interviews with people who’ve been forced to make big changes in attitudes and spending habits.
Do you see yourself in their stories? Have you been trying to get a handle on your spending?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money