If you have recently started a monthly budget (hooray!) you will notice that some months the money doesn’t stretch as far as you need it too. Maybe you forgot about your Mom’s birthday or the dog’s annual physical. It would be easier to just grab the credit card and give up on the budget. I’m telling you to don’t give in to the card!
As you get into a groove with your budget you will know how to plan ahead for these moments so they won’t be as daunting. In the meantime I’m going to share with you five small changes you can make in your monthly or even weekly routine to help you find some extra dollars. So, put down that plastic card and get ready to take back some dollars for your budget.
1. Car wash…Having a clean shiny vehicle is great but going to the car wash can add up if you get the deluxe package. When your budget is tight, get out your sponge and bucket and wash the vehicle at home. This can also be a fun family activity. Who doesn’t enjoy a water fight on a hot summer day!
2. Lunches…Going out to lunch might sound better then leftovers, but if you eat out several times a week the money can fly out of your wallet quite quickly. Start packing a lunch every day or limit your eating out to just one day a week and you will definitely free up some cash. Think about how much healthier you can make your lunches by preparing them yourself.
3. Hair salon…Who doesn’t love to get pampered! It can be quite expensive to keep up with your hair care needs and all the other beauty regimens. Instead of getting your hair cut every four weeks try to extend it to every six weeks. You can save a huge amount of money coloring your hair at home and limiting the salon visits to a couple times a year. Many boxed hair color kits or a professional grade color (there are some great inexpensive options on Amazon) cost less than $10.00. Do the math and see how much you can save by just making this change.
4. Beverages…If Starbucks or gas station beverages are part of your morning ritual it might be time to change things up when your budget is tight. I love my morning coffee and tea but we all know the cost can add up quickly if you are a frequent coffee buyer. Cut back to once a week or even less and start making your own coffee or tea before you leave home. If you stop for a large soda every week, consider going to the grocery store and buy a case vs. individual servings. This is typically cheaper and now you can easily grab one on your way out the door.
5. Date Night…I strongly believe in date nights! Having the one-on-one time with your spouse, fiancé, a great friend or other family members is a great chance to catch up on your lives and strengthen your bond. If your budget is tight there are many great options that don’t have to cost a lot of money for an awesome date night. Instead of going out to eat at a pricey restaurant why not enjoy some tasty eats at a local burger joint or grab some subs and have a picnic. If your date night usually includes some dancing or concerts, check the local entertainment guide for free community activities or dances. You can even throw a great dance party at home. Bonus: You get to pick the music and you don’t have to worry about people seeing your crazy dance moves! Try to focus your date night on building your connection with the person who is with you and not about the places you go.
What other small changes have you made that have helped your budget?