It sounds basic, but you can’t improve your finances if you don’t know what they look like now. Look at your statements from the previous year — how much did you spend on food? Rent? Entertainment? Are there easy places where you can make cuts?
For example, I realized I was spending too much on eating out in 2018. This year, I want to make sure I keep plenty of nutritious food in my apartment, which should lessen the need for Seamless orders and help curb my spending.
In order to keep our spending in check, we can use the simple budget outlined by Joseph Benoit here. That budget is broken down into two types of expenses: fixed and variable expenses. A fixed expense is one that is predetermined, such as a loan payment or rent. A variable expense includes things like my restaurant spending, which can change based on my actions.
Jot down how much you expect to spend on major expenses, then track the difference between what you expected and what you did. Many banks have online features that can help you with this, but you can also make a spreadsheet for free.
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9 Ways to Save Money This Year
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