By Alexa Gavin
Every time New Year’s rolls around, like most others, I set goals for myself. “New Year, New Me” – right? Yet, I always find myself having a hard time meeting those goals because life just gets in the way. Sometimes setting realistic and easily attainable goals can make all the difference. What a great feeling it is to accomplish something and to be able to say to yourself, “Hey I did it and I am darn proud of myself!” One goal I usually have on my list is some sort of financial achievement, like saving a certain amount of money. Below, I outline easy ways to save and budget to meet your financial goals for 2019.
An easy goal I have set for myself is to track everything I spend. When I say everything I mean, everything! First, set up an outline. This can be a note on your phone or a detailed Excel sheet, to get your numbers in front of you. Write down what you take home from work and every single monthly and yearly recurring expense you incur.
Start tracking every single little thing you spend money on for a month. Every coffee, laundry load, Uber ride, pack of gum: it doesn’t matter how big or small. After that month is over, are you satisfied with what you have left to spend, or are you in the red? Meticulously tracking each expense can be an eye-opening experience because sometimes you don’t realize how quickly those daily lattes can add up!
When I first started tracking my spending, I couldn’t believe how much money I was wasting on coffee. At almost four dollars a day, five times a week, that’s about $80 a month on coffee! Right when I saw that, I knew I had to make a change. Luckily though, switching to office coffee is an easy solution. Through tracking my spending I was able to really see where my money was going and what I was spending too much on. I started asking myself where I can make changes without sacrificing too much. Instead of going out to dinner with friends, I would suggest hosting a potluck. By making these small changes I could see small financial improvements and fewer months being spent in “the red”.
If tracking your daily spending is way too much work, then the good news is that there’s an app for that. Mint is a great app that allows you to track your spending and link your financial accounts so you can keep everything in one place.
You know that saying from when you were younger, “Sharing is caring”? Well, I think this carries over to finances as well! After you evaluated your spending, you probably realized you have a lot of subscriptions such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Spotify, etc. If you have trusted friends and family members who use this service, then you may be able to split the cost of these subscriptions by sharing a membership. This can cut down a chunk of your monthly costs.
Sometimes starting small can have the biggest payouts. By getting your finances in order, and finding simple ways to cut down on costs, you’re on your way to easily saving more money than ever before.
Alexa is a Long Island native with a passion for all things spaghetti. A Fordham University Alum (soon to be twice over!), she studied marketing as an undergraduate and is currently working towards her MBA. Upon graduation, she dabbled in the fashion industry by working in e-commerce at Estee Lauder and then at Lucky Magazine. Currently, Alexa is co-founder and director for SPACE38, a revolving retail storefront that works with brands to deliver awareness and analytical insight via the pop-up storytelling experience. When she’s not eating spaghetti you can find her running along the East River, petting stranger’s dogs and planning her next beach vacation. You can follow Alexa on Instagram at @al_gavin or @spaghetti.monsters.