Sense & Centsibility Blog

Don't Nickel and Dime Your Finances This Year

The New Year is here and it's time to take charges of your finances. We're flashing back to this post about how small changes can add up to big savings.

When you have cash can you make it last or do you find yourself pulling money from the ATM and it's gone in a day or two? A pack of gum here, a chai tea latte there...just for those couple of items it'll probably cost you $5. And that's not even a meal. From fast food to coffee to gum to chips, there are a ton of little items that can nickel and dime your wallet and bust your budget.

Here are 6 easy ways to help you reduce spending without having to sacrifice your quality of life:

1) Pay at the Pump

Avoid the temptation to buy snacks or other items by simply paying at the pump. Gas stations make a ton of money because of people going inside to pay and buying things that they don't really need.

2) Buy in Bulk

Think about the small purchases that you spend $1-5 a day on. Soda can be purchased much cheaper by the case. The same goes for coffee, candy bars, chips, fruit, and whatever else you may like to snack on. Instead of buying individual packets of crackers, buy a bigger box and put a serving in a baggie or container to take to work or school.

3) Make a List

Go to the grocery store with a purpose. If you stick to your list, you'll save time and money. And if you use coupons, that will save you even more at checkout.

4) Avoid Vending Machines

Avoid vending machines whenever possible; it's expensive and not to mention usually unhealthy anyway.

5) Bring Your Coffee and Lunch

LunchIf lunch is $5-10 (if you're lucky), that adds up to $25-50 per week. Add coffee for $3-5 each day, that's another $15-25 per week. Monthly that would total $160-300! So use the groceries you just bought and bring your lunch with you as much as possible to save money.

6) Avoid Endcaps

Yep, you see them at the end of checkout aisles at every grocery store, Target, and Wal-Mart of the world. Avoid them because they usually have items that you don't need or can get in bulk or somewhere else cheaper. This fits with #2 above...if you drink soda, get a 12 pack or a case and split it up instead of buying an individual bottle on your way out of the store.

Where does YOUR money go each week?

Take a close look at what you spend...and just use common sense. It's fine to grab a coffee on the go every once in a while, but when you walk into your local coffee shop if you find that you're like Norm from Cheers (where everybody knew his name when he walked in), you should probably re-evaluate your spending habits.

Once you make a few changes/stop some spending, you might even find that you have a little extra money. If you want ideas for making the most of that extra cash, read Savings 101: Emergency Savings vs. Periodic Savings and Will a Debt Management Plan Help Me?.

To set up a personalized spending plan and get options to improve your finances, call LSS Financial Counseling to schedule a phone or in-person session at 888.577.2227 or click here to get started online. It's free and confidential and our counselors will help you create a plan to achieve your financial goals. Don't forget to like us on Facebook, too!