5 Tips to Manage Your Frugal Expenses

Your monthly  expenses such as bills, the mortgage, and other financial obligations  are always going to be present in your life. However, if you manage your  expenses frugally, it will be much easier for you to make the payments  and you will live a happier and more relaxed lifestyle. Frugally  managing your finances can be a difficult thing to maintain, especially  with the spending habits of today’s consumers. However, the five tips  that you will find below can make you much more effective at the task.

1 – Use a finance management tool

Finance management tools are designed to help you live on a budget  and organize your income and expenses. There are free tools like  Mint.com that can make it easy to see how much money you have coming  into your bank account every month and how much money you have going  out. They also categorize your expenses for you so that you can see  exactly what your spending habits are like. If you want to manage your  expenses frugally, you have to organize and understand your finances.

2 – Make spending cuts

It’s very important to actually make real spending cuts with your  budget. You cannot manage your finances frugally if you are afraid to  get rid of some of your expenses. This means eating out less,  unsubscribing from high definition television channels, or even getting  rid of your home phone if you can make do with your cell phones. Don’t  be afraid to try new things in order to make spending cuts and  reorganize your budget.

3 – Create a budget

Once you have used a finance management tool to organize and  understand your finances as well as make spending cuts, you then need to  create a budget for your monthly spending. You should now be in a  position to where you can analyze how much money you have been spending  in the past and how much money you want to spend in the future. Creating  a budget and sticking to that amount is very important to managing your  expenses frugally.

4 – Do not spend irrationally

Part of the problem with today’s consumers is that they spend  irrationally. Even though they do not make much money, they feel  obligated to lease a car, buy a house and have all of the amenities that  their friends and family members have. What they don’t realize, is that  this type of spending is reckless and that is why a lot of their  friends and family members will one day find themselves in debt.  Controlling your spending habits and saving money rather than spending  it is a very important step to the process. Try to avoid reckless  spending and stay away from poor financial choices such as payday loans.

5 – Seek cheap thrills

Everyone needs to get entertainment somehow but if you spend a lot of  money in order to entertain yourself, you are quickly going to find  yourself struggling with debt. Try to seek cheap thrills instead of  going for the more luxurious, outgoing types of options. Making yourself  happier with some of the cheaper options in life is going to protect  your budget and stabilize your finances.

Getting Down to the Necessities

Talk to anyone of the Baby Boomer generation and older, and it is easy to figure out why they were able to save for big purchases, vacations and more while living on mostly equivalent wages. Sure, the cost of living has risen some, but it is still mostly proportionate to what it was back then. Interestingly enough, we only have to look to household finances of that time to learn a few things.

Few families relied on credit cards then, and they did it without issue, but how? The answer lies in budgeting. If there was not enough money for “luxuries,” then they didn’t have those. However, they did manage to save money. Even the poorest of families often had a substantial “rainy day fund.”

While the principles are easy to grasp, they are not always easy to implement. It often means changing a few ways of doing things. Rents and mortgages are nearly impossible to change without more expense. However, things like land lines, cell phones, Internet, cable and satellite and even utility usage are usually adjustable.

If any subscriptions are under contract, sometimes the early termination fee is less to contend with than the remaining months of the contract, especially for expensive services. The final thing to adjust is the monthly food bill. Drop the boxed foods and prepare things from scratch. For instance, it does not take long to prepare larger amounts of freezable foods such as soups, stews, waffles, pancakes and even ground beef for future use. It is a lot healthier for the whole family too.

Once Your Goal Is Met, It’s Safe To Spend

Now that you’ve met your goal and saved up for weeks, months or even years on that family vacation or weekend outting, it’s time to have some fun!  For a short amount of time, your entertainment budget will be set aside for this one event that you’ve worked so hard to save for.  Here’s an idea: If your closest loved ones just can’t get enough of country music, the money you saved for entertainment will allow you to score some Alan Jackson tickets and enjoy his latest tour.

That kind of family outing is far too expensive for an everyday occurrence, but it is nice now and then. To further make attending such outings a reality for the family, look for tickets to concerts, theater and sporting events at online ticket-sellers like StubHub.com. Such sites work to bring the best pricing possible to make group outings like these more affordable.

There are sites similar to StubHub that sell, instead of event tickets, discounted gift certificates to restaurants, theme parks and other such family entertainment venues. The key is to treat these outings as a treat — not as regular occurrences. Doing so usually creates longer-lasting and fonder memories. That makes getting through lean times a lot easier than having to do without the entire time.