If meeting your budget goals always seems to be a challenge and you’re asking yourself how to manage money better, it may be time for a spending analysis. A good way to start budgeting is by seeing exactly where your hard-earned dollars are going. You’ll be managing your money better in no time.
Ting is the phone service that helps you save money. On Ting, you only pay for what you use. When you use less, you pay less. It’s a philosophy that you can apply to your budget too. Going over your budget month after month or turning to credit cards to manage everyday expenses are just a few warning signs of financial trouble ahead. Identifying gaps in your budget will require an honest look at your spending habits. However, it will give you a chance to identify (and more importantly rectify) some money mistakes you may have made in the past.
Be better with money: avoid these five common, costly money mistakes
Don’t overlook hidden banking fees: a personal budgeting tip
Do you keep track of monthly banking fees and ATM fees? These extra costs just to manage your money can be easy to overlook but will add up over time. Even if it’s a few dollars a month, you need to track this as an expense somewhere in your budget.
Avoid costly mistakes by: Combing your monthly statements and/or calling your bank to find out if you are being charged any type of maintenance fees for your accounts or convenience fees for certain transactions. Determine whether you always seem to be paying overdraft fees and if so, set up overdraft protection to avoid charges in the future. This will help you spend wisely in the future.
Don’t hold on to memberships or subscriptions you don’t really need and manage your money better
If you’re asking yourself, what should I spend my money on? You’re probably not going to make a list of subscriptions and memberships you never use. Whether it’s a warehouse club membership or an online service subscription, consider how much value those memberships and subscriptions really offer. If you’re paying for services or products that no longer serve you, stop making this an automated expense.
Avoid costly mistakes by: One smart way to save money is by conducting a personal audit to see which services and subscriptions you pay for actually add value to your life. Cancel those that don’t. Review cancelation policies so that you can get a refund for the remainder of your subscription or cancel at the right time to avoid extra charges. You’re on your way to managing money better.
Don’t buy items (just) because you have a coupon
Coupons can be great, but whether you’re a casual coupon user or an extreme couponer, buying products just because you have a coupon isn’t a smart purchasing decision that’s going to help you manage your money better. Stocking up on items that you never actually end up using is akin to throwing money away.
Avoid costly mistakes by: Only using coupons for items that you need or buy regularly and by taking the time to comparison shop when buying items you’ve never purchased before. When you are buying items that you use regularly, be on the lookout for coupons and seek out those items during a sale or promotional period for even more savings. Now that’s a good way to spend money.
Avoid buying heavily advertised items and spend money smartly
Whether it’s an infomercial, an announcement of a price drop via email or a direct mail piece, consider whether you would buy a heavily marketed product if you had discovered it on its own. Many purchases prompted by an advertising campaign end up being impulse buys. That can leave you with a case of buyer’s remorse – and a lighter pocketbook.
Avoid costly mistakes by: Determining whether you really are in the market for the product and taking some time to comparison shop online and offline. Steer clear of impulsive buying decisions. That way, you have a chance to evaluate whether the product is something you actually want or need.
Don’t live without a budget
Our number one smart money saving tip is to make a budget. If you’re living a freewheeling financial lifestyle, you won’t have a fair idea of how much you actually spend each month. You may be setting yourself up for costly money mistakes or even a financial disaster. Putting together a realistic budget will not only help you live within your means but can also put you back in control of your financial situation.
Avoid costly mistakes by: Drafting up a realistic budget and updating it at least once a month to make sure it’s accurate. If you’re just getting started, use a budgeting app or online program to track your weekly and monthly expenses. Pick products and services that help you save.
Do you have a tip to help stay on budget? Do you have a personal financing pet peeve? Let us know in the comments below.
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Find out how you can save on your family’s cell phone bill with Ting Mobile.