How many of us can actually say we are constantly aware of our spending habits. Have you ever taken the time out to actually add up what you spend monthly, weekly, or even daily? For me, I am constantly on the go and I find it hard to cook all the time especially when I work two different places and I'm gone all day. Therefore, I'm usually stopping by a restaurant somewhere or driving through a drive-thru for a quick meal.
Recently I decided to take one of my bank statements and go through it to see exactly how much I'm spending on food. The results shocked me. Looking at my July-August statement, I had spent a total of $292.55. This total is just the results from my bank statement when using my debit card. This amount did not include the cash I spent (which I have no idea how much). So basically in one month, I spent over $300.00 just from eating out!!! Ridiculous!!! When I receive my August-September statement, I will be doing the same thing! Hopefully I haven't increased on the amount spent on eating out, but when you are not aware of it you tend to keep the same patterns.
What I'm doing differently:
Meal prep: Meal prep goes a long way! Not only does it save money, it is much healthier than eating out. Being able to prep your meals also saves time. My goal is to do meal prep on Sunday's so that I can have more healthy/economical savvy meals throughout the week!
Watching My Spending:
There are different strategies I plan to utilize in order to track my spending. One way I can do this is to keep a certain amount of cash on hand per week. For instance if I have $25.00 cash that I spend on nothing but food for the week then that already is cutting my spending down to less that half of what I am currently spending. It will take some adjusting and getting use to but I plan to make it work for me.
Another way to help with spending is to utilize money management apps such as Mint, Pocket Expense Personal Finance, or Goodbudget Budget Planner. Apps such as these can be valuable resources in helping you to effectively manage your money. You can also use Excel to create spreadsheets of your budget and create graphs according to your spending.
Limit Dining Out:
Sometimes we go on diets to cut back on eating. Well, I could go on a spending diet to cut back on spending money eating out. If I only limit myself to eating out twice a week. Ok.. who am I kidding :) Let's try 3 times a week and see how that goes. Limiting my outings will definitely help to cut back on spending.
Have you found other areas that you overspend in? What are some ways you find are helpful with balancing your budget? Share your stories and solutions!