Simple Strategies to Boost Your Budget -- Savings Experiment

Simple Strategies to Boost Your Budget
Simple Strategies to Boost Your Budget

Whether you're a college graduate, a new parent or a retiree, the most practical way to get a grip on your spending is by creating a solid budget. If you're looking for long-term savings that'll last, here are some easy tips that can help you start budgeting right.

The first thing to do is figure out how much you actually make every month. This isn't as simple as taking your yearly salary and dividing it by 12. Make sure to deduct income taxes and other upfront costs, like health insurance, as well. Once you've done that, you've got a much more accurate number to start budgeting with.

Once your framework is set, the next step is to determine how much of that money you actually spend. There are a few ways you can do this. One way is to go the old fashioned route and save every receipt and bill over the course of a few months and then calculate your average. If that sounds like a big headache to you, there are lots of budgeting programs out there that can help you keep track of it all.

One of those programs is called Mint. This tried and true app gathers all your spending patterns, bills and other expenses and presents it in a clear way that's easy to understand and learn from. And it's free!

Lastly, form a specific long-term savings goal so that you have something tangible to aim for. Let's face it, making an effective budget is going to involve some cuts to your spending that won't be fun, like reducing your dinner and movie nights. However, if you create an end goal you'll know that you're working towards something tangible, so those small sacrifices won't be quite as difficult.

While some methods of budgeting work better for different people, these tips are the essential building blocks everyone can use to get started. Give them a try, and you'll see that saving more isn't always about spending less; it's about making the best choices with what you already have.

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