Black Friday – arguably the most sought after shopping day of the year is upon us (already!?). Yep, that time of year has come back around and Black Friday is knocking at our front door with Cyber Monday right on it’s coattails. But with how crazy these last few years have been it’s not crazy to feel like you’re coming up a little shorter than usual.
Money is tight and while we all wish we could just pull extra out of thin air there are much more practical options to consider.
You wouldn’t drive into the middle of nowhere without a map – same concept. Creating a budget allows you to visualize your money and your money goals. There are different ways to arrange any budget but the main factors to keep in mind is:
It is way easier to save money than to make more of it, tracking your expenses can help pad your savings if you’re staying committed. Whether it’s through a third party app like Mint or through your everyday bank, just having a good know-how of your spending can show where your money is going.
While it’s not the biggest budget breaker, it’s definitely one that people forget about when tracking their spending. Subscriptions can be dangerous to your bottom line because they are literally a think-less expense. Take the time to go through your account statements and see what you may be paying for that you aren’t even using.
Eating out is one of the most budget sucking expenses you will find when looking through your expenses. By staying in and meal prepping your grocery list each week/month you can save hundreds on “going out to eat”.
Fighting the temptation to do some impromptu shopping is a hard pill to swallow, so the best course of action is to eliminate the factor altogether. We found that out of sight, out of mind applies when it comes to online shopping. So, get to cleaning out those inboxes and purge them of unwanted pitchy sales emails.
The average cup of coffee costs Americans about $2.70, with many paying towards $5.00. Multiply this by 5 days a week and you can easily see how that “one cup a day” translates into hundreds each year. Those hundreds could be your Black Friday shopping money.
We touched on this a bit with opting out of unwanted emails but that won’t help if you’re actively jumping online to your favorite boutiques and doing a little window browsing. Online shopping can easily add excess weight to your expenses so by limiting your shopping siege you could see a drastic decrease in money flowing out of your bank account.
Who doesn’t love “Free”? If you absolutely have to make a purchase (whether in the budget or not) it’s worth doing a little research first to see what coupons or special offers may be out there. For example, apps like Ibotta reward you for shopping with cash back on your everyday purchases (win!).
Phone companies are good about trapping you with unnecessary add-ons that you may or may not be using. Dive into your services on your most recent statement and ask those questions like, “Do I really need/use this?”.
Insurance is right up there with subscriptions and phone service. People know they need it but don’t necessarily question it too often. Certain life events like marriage or even which state you live in could drastically change your insurance rate. Be sure to ask about any additional discounts you may qualify for and get re-quoted yearly to make sure you’re still getting the best bang for your buck.
It’s a toughie, I know but it’s completely do-able. The weekends are the usual hotspot for unnecessary spending since you have the time to go out and be free. This weekend instead of searching for the usual entertainment, try some free options like the park or visiting a friend to keep you occupied and see how much you can save.
The grocery store is a great place to cut your spending but only if it’s done right. Going in there blind (or hungry) can lead to nonsense purchase and overspending.
This week, before you head to do your shopping, make a list of meals you want to create and set your shopping list accordingly. You’ll be surprised to find that a ton of recipes reuse the same ingredients for the most part.
This last one isn’t so much for saving money as it is for making a little extra on the side. For those of you that feel like you’re doing all of the above to cut back and still aren’t satisfied, then it may be time to shift your thinking from saving more to making more.
During the holidays it’s extremely common to see seasonal positions pop up, maybe even at a favorite spot of yours. Take a look at what’s out there and see if you could make some extra cash before the Black Friday season comes around.