Here’s one last check you should make this week. Take a look at your budget. (If you don’t have a budget, this weekend is a great time to work on one! A budget isn’t a restriction or a punishment. It’s a tool to help you keep track of where your money goes.)
Look at where your money is going. If the budget doesn’t reflect reality (maybe your heating expenses have increased or your car payment has ended), make the necessary changes.
If the budget is generally accurate, look at where your money is going? Does it reflect your priorities?
Clearly, having a roof over your head, food to eat, and basic utilities are priorities for everyone. But are you paying high rent because you don’t want to be bothered with looking for someplace less expensive? Did you buy more house than you can afford or use? Or are your housing costs higher because it’s a priority to live in a good school district or to be able to use public transportation or to have a shorter commute so you can spend more time with your family?
Are you saving for other priorities: a secure retirement? a college education for your children? your dream house? a special vacation? Are you being as generous as you want to be? Are there causes or organizations to which you’d like to donate more? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then you need to start looking for money in the budget. Now, your circumstances may be very tight. If that’s the case, these suggestions may not work for you – but they might help.
Where can you cut? Start with things that are NOT priorities. Do you really need 500 cable channels and three streaming services? What subscriptions and memberships are no longer important to you? (Note: many libraries allow you to read magazines in electronic form – for free!) Could you cut back on eating out or on movies or shopping for clothes?
Money is a tool. It should help us achieve our goals.