Easy Ways to find more money in your finances
Have you ever been going along, working your budget and trying to get a hold of your finances and then WHAM! Some expense you weren’t expecting, and haven’t planned for, comes along and derails everything???
If this is you, I promise that you are not alone. I can’t tell you how many times we have had car repair bills exceed what we had planned (or didn’t even plan for at all). And suddenly we have to come up with a way to pay for this unexpected expense!
What do you do? Well, I want to help you with some easy ways to find extra money in your budget.
If you need to come up with an extra couple of hundred dollars a month, and don’t know where to start, or think it can’t be done on your already tight budget, then I hope this post will give you some ideas, tips and hope moving forward.
Easy Ways to Find Extra Money in the Budget
Track Your Spending
If you need to find some extra money in your budget pretty quickly, one of the best ways to go about that is to know EXACTLY where each and every one of your hard earned dollars is already going.
So go through your past credit card and bank statements and write down exactly where each dollar has gone.
Or, take the next few weeks and track where you are spending your money.
What do you see? Where has your money gone? Are there places where you can trim the unnecessary spending and use that money for your needed purpose?
Tracking your spending is huge in truly understanding your finances and making a budget that will work for you.
Do a Spending Freeze
One of the best ways to save some money fast, and find money in your budget, is to commit to doing a spending freeze.
If you have never done a spending freeze before it is basically where you commit to a time period (for instance one whole week) where you do not spend anything beyond the regular bills.
We recently did a no spend challenge and were able to save $100 in a week! Now that isn’t a ton, but when you need money quickly, $100 can go a long way!
To learn all about how to do a spending freeze, and how it works, you can check out my post. How to do a no spend challenge
Evaluate Your Grocery Budget
When you go to the grocery store, I want you to pay attention to WHAT you are purchasing.
Don’t worry so much about trying to purposefully decrease your grocery budget, as that can seem really hard if not impossible–especially if it is already low. But really examine that items that you are buying with the grocery budget.
Could you put some name brand items back for the generic? Can you find a cheaper alternative to what you are buying or the meals you are planning?
If you can focus less on how much you are spending for the whole pay period, and focus on making small adjustments actually at the store, you may just find that there is some money you can find in your budget, that could be put to better use.
RELATED ARTICLE: How to Save Money on Groceries
Spend with Cash
This might seem counter-intuitive. But if you commit to buying items with cash, such as groceries, fun experiences, etc., you will find that it is actually harder to spend the physical cash, and you will therefore spend less.
There is actually a physical response to seeing the actual cash disappear from your hand as you pay for something. Use this to your advantage to trick yourself into not spending as much.
Then, whatever you didn’t spend from the cash is suddenly money your were able to find in your budget and can be put towards your new need.
RELATED ARTICLE: How to Start Using Cash Envelopes
Use Up what You Have
A great way to find money in your budget is to not spend needlessly. I know that sounds pretty simple but if you want to save money, you have to NOT spend it!
Once of the best ways to do this is to use what you have one hand already.
I know that, personally, I have like 20 partial bottles of body and hand lotion. Rather than going out to purchase a new one, I just need to use up what is already in my possession.
I actually did this with shampoo and conditioner too. I was tired of all the extra bottles of shampoo cluttering up my bathroom. Now, they weren’t my favorite brands, but they worked just the same. So I committed to use up what I already had, and not buy more, until they were gone.
This prevented me from wasting perfectly good products AND it allowed me to not spend money on more products! Voila! I was able to find some extra money in my budget.
Cash in Credit Card Rewards
When you need to find some money in your budget fast, take a look at your credit card reward points.
This is an easy way to add some money into your budget. Right now I have about $150 in rewards points, just waiting to be redeemed. I am saving it to help the amount grow and until it is really needed.
Do you have some credit card rewards you could redeem to put some instant cash into your budget? Take a look at your statements and see what you can find! You might be surprised by how much there is and can therefore use for your current needs!
Ask About Lowering Insurance
Car insurance can often be an expense that is more expensive than it needs to be. While it isn’t super fun to evaluate and can take time to figure out, lowering how much you spend on car, life and other insurances could be a legit way to find some money in your budget.
You can talk to your insurance carrier about:
– Altering coverages
– Seeing if you can save by bundling
– See what happens when you don’t bundle
– See if there are any discounts that you can take advantage of
You might even try shopping around to other insurance companies
Try speaking to a broker that is not tied to one specific company–they will shop around to all the companies to find you the best deal and bang for your buck!
The savings here may not be a lot, but they could add up to hundreds of dollars over the course of a year. And finding a few extra hundred dollars is definitely worth the trouble of evaluating your insurance.
Cut back on Subscriptions
Are you a subscription junkie? These days there seems to be a subscription for everything under the sun!
And they are SO easy to get, and then so easy to forget about. Those monthly subscription fees are small on their own, but they come around each and every month and add up to hundreds, or thousands over the course of a year.
You could even be paying hundreds PER MONTH on subscriptions you don’t really need. So as you are looking through your bank and credit card statements, look at your subscriptions. What you can do without?
I challenge you to get rid of 2 subscriptions from your expense list. How much will that save you per month? How much money does that add to your budget for the year?
Cut Back on Fun
Sometimes you are trying to save money, find money in the budget, and cut back expenses. And sometimes there just doesn’t seem to be anything left to cut.
This is where you have to start making some harder decisions and see how dedicated you are to your financial goals.
Doing things that are fun–movies, eating out, entertainment events, etc. is important. Life is meant to be lived!
But, when you need to find some money fast, sometimes the fun things need to be put on the back burner.
So do you have some money set aside for something fun, or a monthly budget item for fun? Maybe, for a short amount of time, it would be best use that money where it is needed more in your budget.
Again, this doesn’t have to be forever–just to help you get through this patch of needing money fast.
RELATED ARTICLE: Cheap Date ideas you can do at home
Sell Household Items
My last tip to finding money in your budget is to go through your house and find things you no longer need or use, and sell them.
Selling items online has become so easy in recent years thanks to craigslist, ebay and facebook marketplace.
We have personally used the facebook marketplace to sell furniture, toys, clothes and household items we did not need anymore. We have made several hundred dollars selling items.
If you want to really get ambitious, you can host a garage sale and make a big day of it.
Another idea is to utilize consignment stores and sales/events. With these you prep your items in advance, drop them off at the event, and then they handle the marketing, and selling, of the items. All you then have to do is pick up your check at the end.
Selling items you no longer need or use really is another great way to add some extra money into your family budget.
Final Thoughts on Finding Money In Your Budget
When faced with an unplanned expense, it can be hard to know how to pay for it. Where in the world can you find the money on an already tight budget?
I hope these ideas have given you some food for thought about how to find extra money in your budget, as well as ideas for saving money throughout the month.
With effort, and some creativity, staying on budget, even with a surprise expense, is totally possible.
So tell me. What are your favorite ways to find extra money in your budget? What has worked for you? Tell me in the comments as I am always looking for more ways to save!