Friday, August 19, 2011

Financial Diet



Oh me, oh my, I'm going on a diet. No, silly-billy gumdrop not a food one (although that might not hurt), but a financial one! Actually I could probably kill two birds with one stone, because my financial weak area is FOOD! I eat out almost everyday at least TWO TIMES a day! This is all very bad on my pockets. I just re-joined or should I say re-engaged with Mint.com and they show you via a handy-dandy pie chart where your money for the month is going. Let me tell you it's SCARY when you see what you WASTE your money on!

Well, here goes these are the Basic Guidelines:
(For more detail, check out the original post here on Verbal Melange.)

1. Identify and list ALL your monthly expenses. Track them on a spreadsheet for better organization. A reader highly recommends using Mint.com, a free budgeting website. I've never used it (I use an Excel spreadsheet), but I hear it's awesome.

2. Figure out what expenses you can cut. What you cut is up to you, but remember that the more you cut, the more you can save.

3. Start saving! Take all the money that's leftover when you subtract your expenses from your income, and set it aside for savings. This is money that you only touch in true emergencies. There aren't many ways to fail at a financial diet, but using your emergency money for non-emergencies is one of them.

4. Reward yourself. It's important to set aside a little "petty cash" each month, so you don't feel like a scrooge. Decide how much you want to set aside for each month, and stick to it.

5. Spend wisely. Save some extra cash on groceries by clipping coupons, whether they be from the Sunday paper, junk mailings that you usually toss, or stuff you found online. For clothes, try to only shop at thrift stores for a month and see how much money you save. Or, stick exclusively to the sales racks at already-affordable stores like Target and Marshall's.

6. Share! If you have a tip, email verbal{dot}melange{at}gmail{dot}com. It will be added to a list of tips on the Financial Diet page of the blog, and we can really help each other with this one.

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