Have you ever found yourself struggling to save money?
Some days it can feel like you’re a super awesome money saver and others days it feels like you have a mountain of receipts piled up, wondering how you are going to recover from a rough financial month.
Life is always easier and happier when you aren’t stressed about money.
So to keep the happiness alive I wrote down the 10 questions to ask yourself to maximize your money saving efforts. Usually, when we go through a rough month for spending it’s because we’ve broken one or more of these 10 questions
I’ll admit, when I go through a rough month it’s usually because I’ve broken question #3!
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10 Questions you need to ask in order to save money!
Save Money Question #1: Do you have an effective monthly household budget?
Having an effective family budget is one of the most important ways to save money every month. Notice the emphasis on effective!
A budget doesn’t do you any good if you can’t stick with it and most people make at least one critical budgeting mistake that hurts your families financial well being in one form or another.
Your money needs a plan. Without a plan your money will be gone and you’ll end up working 10, 20, and maybe 30 years without having any savings built up. A budget provides you a plan so that your money isn’t wasted.
Make sure that your budget is in order and read the ultimate guide to budgeting.
Budgeting is so crucial for your financial well being that I’ve created a free course dedicated to building an effective budget. I’ll help walk you through the steps needed for building the budget your family needs.
Save Money Question #2: Are you spending more than $500 per month on groceries?
I love delicious food just as much as the next person but one of the biggest expenses every household faces is how much money is spent on food.
$500 is a good guideline but depending on your situation, such as a large family, you may need to spend more.
You need to take advantage of batch cooking! Batch cooking is cooking inexpensive large meals, freezing and saving the leftovers for another meal.
Here’s how batch cooking can really help your finances. I recently made a large batch of chili that will feed my family dinners for at least a week and it only cost about $16 to make!
That’s an incredible $2.29 per night!
Save Money Question #3: Are you eating out more than 2 times per month?
Eating out is increasingly popular especially when it feels that work is draining the life out of us and it’s incredibly convenient that someone else can give us a meal on our way home from work.
For myself included, it’s tempting to grab a quick meal on the go. The problem is that it’s costly!
Nothing is more dangerous for your wallet than something that is tempting and costly.
That’s why I recommend only eating out twice a month. Take your spouse out for a nice meal and blow off some steam!
Remember, there’s nothing wrong with eating out. You just need to do it in moderation and for what makes sense in your budget.
Save Money Question #4: Did you get more house than you can afford?
Another huge trap that most of us face is buying more house than you can afford.
I know it’s hard to look at houses in your price range and feel like all you can afford is a step down (or a few steps down) from your standard of living. Making matters worse is when realtors start to show you houses outside of your price range so that you can “see what life would be like if you only paid a little bit more.”
Financial expert, Dave Ramsey, recommends that your monthly payment for your house is no more than 25% of your take-home pay. However, I recommend your payment be less as it will be hard to have a successful budget if 25% of your income is going to one expense.
You should try and buy at the low end of the house markets so that your payments are less. Obviously, you don’t want to live in a bad area but once the house is paid off you can start saving for an upgrade.
Always try and have a 20% down payment so that you can avoid the personal mortgage insurance.
Again, make sure that you check out our free budgeting course so that you can get your finances in order before purchasing a house.
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Save Money Question #5: Do you make enough money to be considered average?
The one thing that most of us never want is to be average. I can imagine that none of us want to be below average, right?
The same applies for our finances and the community we live in. Do you know how much the average household in your area makes?
How do you compare? If your communities average household income is $50k and you make $30k, you’ll find it harder to build a successful budget that allows you to save money each month.
However, if you can increase your families income to be average (or even better, above average), you’ll start finding that life and saving money starts to become easier with a successful budget.
Save Money Question #6: Are you paying for things you can do yourself?
I don’t relish in the fact that I have to mow the lawn or change the brakes on the car, but it sure does save me a lot of money.
When something needs to get done, you have two options. Use your money or use your time.
I recently had to replace the fuel filter on my car. The part was $6 and it took me about an hour to replace after watching a few YouTube videos.
For kicks, I called a repair shop and asked how much it would cost me for them to replace my cars fuel filter. They said they could do it for $115!
What’s an hour of your time worth? Unfortunately, I don’t make $115 an hour. Let’s say you make $15 an hour; you could either work almost 8 hours to pay for the shop to do it or you can do it yourself and save money.
Save Money Question #7: Are you wasteful with your utilities?
Unfortunately, I’m guilty of this one. My wife constantly reminds me that I left lights on or that we don’t need to cool the house down at night if we heated it up in the morning.
Keep an eye on your utility usage because utilities are another top expense for families.
Save Money Question #8: Are you doing anything on the side to make more money?
Saving more money requires you to either reduce your expenses or make more money.
Not everyone wants to start a side business or work a second part-time job and that’s ok. Remember, you have to decide what works best for your family and budget.
It is still possible for there to be a sole breadwinner of the family, but it’s much harder these days.
If you are feeling entrepreneurial, I say go for it! If you have the energy for another job, great!
It’s starting to become the norm to have more than one source of income. What works for you?
Save Money Question #9: Are you buying things you don’t need?
In life there are a few things we need such as food, sleep, shelter, and water.
When we start getting a surplus of money we let it start burning a hole in our pocket and we start justifying buying the things we want by saying we need it.
Most of us don’t need a new iPhone, a brand new car, or the next biggest thing. However, if you have an effective budget set up and enough money saved for that item, buy it.
The key is to be responsible with your money and build an effective budget so that you know when you can afford something and when you should keep saving.
Save Money Question #10: Have you invested in your own financial education?
Budgeting and money skills aren’t something they teach in school, yet everyone has to deal with money!
Always look for learning opportunities to educate yourself on how to budget and save money. I recommend finding and taking a course on money with your spouse so that you can both be on the same page when it comes to your money management.