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January 26, 2022

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.

Everyone has at least one person in their family who seems to have trouble sticking with the plan – giving in to seasonal or spur of the moment expenses and then shamefacedly wondering why they never seem to have any cash.

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



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...