I’ve had this article in a draft since January and forgot about it. It’s still early in 2014 and still very relevant…
5 Steps to a More Frugal 2014
Evaluate your Finances
It’s hard to know where you can cut costs and save money when you have no real idea of how much you are currently spending. Go through each bill to see where your money is going. Save receipts for a couple weeks to check your spending habits. These activities will allow you to know where you can reduce costs.
Set a Monthly Budget
Once you have an idea of how you are spending your money, create a monthly budget. Put your necessary bills in first, then basic needs such as food and gas for the car. Tailor the other areas of your budget to your family’s specific needs. You may want to set a section for entertainment or clothing. Decide where your money will go beforehand makes it easier to live a frugal lifestyle.
Cut Unnecessary Expenses
Looking over your finances and setting a budget should give you a very visual idea of how your money is being spent. You have likely seen expenses that aren’t very frugal, so it’s time to eliminate those if you want to have more money in the bank. Eating out or making coffee stops are just two examples of frivolous expense that could be reduced or completely cut out, depending on your needs.
Also, reduce the costs of your bills when you can. Cable companies usually offer several packages, so going down a level could save you money. The telephone company is the same – there are always additional services such as long distance that can be cut out to make the bill more affordable.
Begin Couponing to Save Money
Couponing is probably one of the top recommendations for those looking to live more frugally. It’s an easy way to save money, especially when you combine the coupons with sales. Follow popular coupon blogs or compare each week’s ads with the coupons you have on-hand to make the most of your frugal journey.
Find Cheap or Free Resources for your Needs
Many times, there are free resources available that will allow you to live more frugal. Stop your newspaper subscription and check the internet at work for news instead. Instead of taking a trip to the bookstore, check out books from your local library. Netflix and Redbox are much cheaper alternatives to a high-priced theater.
Living a frugal life in 2014 doesn’t have to be difficult. Small cuts here and there will allow you to save more money. Budgeting and planning before you spend are the best ways to manage your finances and allow you to be more frugal with your wallet.