It's a new year and we are resolving to budget our resources better in our home. I've been researching all sorts of helpful tips and tools, and found many that are consistently posted all over the web and news, like trying to save between 15-25% of your salaries for retirement and not spending more than 35-40% of your salaries on "vital" items like your home, healthcare and food and transportation costs, these things are more or less feasible depending, I think, very much on your personal situation, job status, loans, number of kids, place you are living and so many other variables.
However, I did come up with a few tips that ANYONE can apply to their present situation, which can add up to a whole heap of savings, by my calculations, over the year, or next several years (the longer you save, the more you have, of course!) The first was to seriously reconsider what is essential, and what can "wait." Thinking of "waiting" instead of "denying" yourself or your family of something you want or might even need, like a vacation or new coat, makes it easier to hold back on the expense. No, you don't have to deny yourself the item or experience, you just have to save up for it and have some patience. To do this, in your budget, make sure you have a bucket for "misc." or "save for later" items. These are not long-term retirement or college savings; these are things you and your family will need and enjoy in the very near future, as soon as you have saved up a bit (instead of going into debt for it right now).
Another tip is to stop and really think about what you need and where you source each item. Stores like Kmart offer great deals on every-day items. But sometimes even something a bit special, like a cool watch, can be found for a bargain at a thrift store. We spend a lot of money on books, for instance, partly because we cannot get to the library as often as we would like to. But then I discovered that we could download e-books from our library and read for free that way. And for those titles we need or want that are not available in this format, I also recently found out that our second-hand bookstore could actually order them for us, at a discount! Of course, there is Amazon.com, too. Taking some time to research how to spend less on items you buy often can go a long way to saving you money this year.
Do you have any easy budgeting tips to share?