If you're like most people, you may not really be sure where all of your
Take Control of Your Finances in Four Easy Steps
If you’re like most people, you may not really be sure where all of your money goes. Naturally, you have bills to pay and other expenses that you’re obligated to handle. But where does the rest of it end up? Why are you looking forward to the 1st and the 15th just so you can have a little cash in your pocket?
Take a good, hard look at your expenses. Not just what you have to spend, but what you spend on without realizing it. You might be surprised at where the holes in your pockets are.
Cutting Back on Daily Expenses
Daily expenses include that coffee you stop and get after PT, lunch, and those energy drinks you pick up at the commissary. If you smoke or dip, that’s another expensive habit. When we’re talking about daily expenses, little things add up pretty quickly.
Have a look at what you could do without and then try skipping those items for a week. Can you make your morning coffee at home and bring it in a thermos? Could you bring lunch, buy your energy drinks in bulk to save money or avoid them altogether?
Cutting Back on Weekly Expenses
You’re probably filling up your gas tank once a week, and if you go out on the weekends, you have those expenses to consider. Got kids? It’s likely to hit the grocery store once a week; more if you have teenagers. Childcare makes a huge dent in a monthly budget, too.
While you still need gas to get to work, as well as someone to watch your kids when you’re at work, you can still trim your weekly expenses. What if you stayed in on Friday and went out on Saturday?
Clipping coupons isn’t for everyone, but shopping at the BX, PX or MCX and the commissary means you don’t pay any taxes. Also, some commissaries have a Commissary Rewards Card that you can get at the checkout; you’ll never have to look for sales or cut coupons again, because you can go online and connect them to your card. When the cashier swipes it, all of your discounts are automatically applied.
Cutting Back on Monthly Expenses
Insurance, rent or mortgage, car payments and loans are all monthly expenses that are tough to change. However, if you’re subscribing to premium satellite or cable, have a huge cell phone plan that you barely make a dent in, or are paying for other services that you don’t need to survive, consider making a few small cuts here and there. Even if you only save $50 a month on all of your expenses, that’s $1,200 a year. It ends up being a pretty substantial amount when you add it all up.
Cutting Back on Yearly Expenses
Most servicemembers don’t have substantial yearly expenses. Property taxes are usually lumped in with your mortgage, and car insurance can be paid monthly.
Taxes are another story. If you always owe at tax time, talk to your personnel department and find out how many exemptions you’re claiming. When you joined the military, the people filling out your paperwork may have put you down for zero. If your circumstances have changed, you may want to talk to the NCOIC of your personnel department to change your tax status.
Don’t Think of it as a Budget
We all have a hard time sticking to a budget, so don’t feel like the odd man out if you bristle at the idea. Don’t think of it that way; just think about having more cash in your bank account at the end of the day each time you want to pull out your wallet. Before you know it, you’ll have complete control over your finances.
If you find yourself looking for financial assistance in the meantime, always remember to consider Reliable Military Loans when looking for military loans. We aim to help current and former servicemembers, and their families. You are our top priority.