Who says there is only way to make a budget? Everyone has different incomes, expenses and habits. So, if you have a habit of going against the grain, here are some not-so-traditional ways to help your budget work for you.
- Have Fewer Accounts
When it comes to checking accounts, less can be more. If you are not careful, then keeping track of multiple bank accounts can land you in trouble. Some accounts come with rules about minimum balances, maintenance fees or the number of transactions allowed per period.
It's hard enough to keep track of one account, let alone three or four. Save time and maybe even fees, by cutting down the number of accounts and paying more attention to the few you have. (Find out how to get the bank to pay you for using their services, not the other way around. Check out Cut Your Bank Fees.)
- Buy More Now, In Bulk!
Who would think paying more now could actually save you later? For items you use regularly, buying in bulk can actually save you money in the long run.
For example, if bottled water is a staple in your household, then buying two cases of 24 bottles today can cost you less than buying one case of 12 bottles each week for the next four weeks. Think about the items you can't live without and find out if they are offered in bulk to begin saving today.
- Pay Your Bills At The Same Time
Many people do not want to pay all of their bills at the same time. Some try to stagger their payments to avoid dropping below a certain balance or to take advantage of float. The reality is that the money will be paid out anyway and float isn't what it used to be.
You can adjust most of your due dates by calling your creditors. Paying them all at once can save time and confusion. (Avoid punishing late fees and keep your credit score intact with these 10 tips in the Procrastinator's Guide To Bill Payment.)
- Treat Saving Like An Expense
Whenever you save money you are paying yourself, but it may be good to approach saving as an expense. Expenses are recurring items which have to be paid in order for services (i.e. electricity, cable, and water) to continue. Therefore, you know you have to pay or else you will suffer the consequences.
Treating saving as an obligation similar to an expense can help you create a pattern that you are less likely to break. (Watch your savings magically grow as you make withdrawals a headache and deposits a breeze. Check out Protect Your Savings From Their Greatest Threat - You.)
- Use Cash
Cash or credit? Commercials from credit card companies make fun of people who use cash, because they slow things down. Credit cards are faster and easier to use, but when it comes to spending money, slow can be a good thing! Research shows people are more likely to spend less when they pay with cash.
To those who think cash is outdated, think again. Cash never goes out of style. Plus, when the networks are down or the power goes out, merchants will only take cash! (Find out how to avoid six of the worst vender ploys this holiday shopping season. Read Sneaky Strategies That Fuel Overspending.)