, April 12, 2012 3:45 pm
OK…2011 federal and state income taxes in the mail? Check. Checks attached? You bet. Starting my annual budget review for both my business and personal spending? Check. There’s nothing like the reality of getting one’s income taxes finished to focus on what one mutual fund company refers to as “your personal economy”. I agree. Why not be smarter about how you spend and save your money so your tax bill is reduced next year, if possible? Having a tight budget may do more than anything to force you take actions that will improve your circumstances down the road. Here’s a few ideas you might want to consider:
Track your spending. If you’re buying a big Starbucks coffee every morning, you need to start making your coffee at home. All of us are wasting money on things every month. You only have to look at your credit card statements to confirm it. Write down what you’re spending and then trim the fluff
Change your spending habits. Once you know how much you’re spending, then you need to focus on what you buying. It’s not that you have to do without everything…it’s about not flushing money down the toilet so you’ll have those dollars down the road. Retirement. College. A big trip. Think about all the good that will come from changing your habits
Give yourself an allowance. Hey, it worked when you were a kid, or at least I hope it did. If you were one of those kids who always ran out of allowance before the week was over, then your habits go way back and it’s even more important you get your finances under control. Take out cash at the beginning of each week and make it last. Leave your credit and debit cards at home
How much is in your pocket or purse? If you always know exactly how much money you’ve got on you, then that will help you stick to your budget and spending goals. This is a big one
Stop impulse spending. Who hasn’t done this? I know I have. But I also know I’ve had times when I regretted spending money on a particular item and then felt bad about doing so. If there’s something you really need…as opposed to something you want…then let 24 hours go by before buying it. It’ll be a money cool down period. This will work
Eating out can kill you. Literally and financially. First, who knows what ingredients are used to cook your favorite meal. It may not be very healthy. Having an appetizer instead of a entree will save you money. Scanning the menu may help you kill two birds with one stone so to speak. You can do this. Your financial security down the road may depend on it. Good luck on your taxes. Until next timere, here’s to good planning!