The most recent recession was a cross-generational game changer. Baby boomers experienced a slew of lay offs while Millennials graduated college with tons of debt and limited job prospects. We’ve all have to adjust, and living within our means includes learning to spend wisely and prioritize needs over wants.

 

Developing financial savvy might seem daunting. However, it doesn’t have to be!  We’ve compiled this list of simple strategies that will help you save a pretty penny.  Even if you aren’t particularly good with numbers, these effective techniques will keep you out of the red and allow you to save some green.

 

First, Figure Out Where Your Money is Going.

 

You can do this the old-fashioned way by saving receipts for a month and then doing a money-spending analysis. Or you can use a handy app like Mint or DailyCost.

 

Using one of these methods, determine your biggest expenses (not including rent and utilities). If you notice you’ve spent a lot of money on clothes, perhaps limit yourself to one new (or gently used thrift store) item a month. If you ran up big tabs at your local bars, consider limiting drinks to weekends, networking purposes, and celebrating special occasions. You don’t have to do this forever, just until your finances are in order and you’ve gotten a handle on budgeting. Speaking of which…

 

Make a Budget and Stick to It.

 

One popular way of achieving this is by utilizing the envelope method. After you’ve evaluated your spending patterns, make a budget of your current income and divide expenses into categories like food, gas, clothes, rent, health care, personnel maintenance, and entertainment.

 

Determine how much money you can allot to each category and create a labeled envelope for each item. Fill each envelope with the money you’ve budgeted for each category. Use the money until it’s gone. And once it’s gone, no borrowing from other envelopes (unless it’s truly an emergency). If you have some left over, put it in your savings.

 

This way, you can actually see your money disappearing. Using the envelope method, you learn to live within your means. And it’s less tempting to splurge when you doing so means parting with cold, hard cash.

 

Cut Out Small Daily Expenses

 

Do you really need to spend $4 everyday on Starbucks? If you cut back on going out for coffee, you could save $112 dollars a month! That money could go toward your savings or buy you that new work outfit you desperately need! Instead of drinking Starbucks, invest in a French Press and purchase some gourmet, freetrade, store-bought coffee grounds to enjoy at home.

 

Similarly, consider cooking at home more often. You’d be surprised how much you probably spend on food. And once you’ve eaten that delicious restaurant meal, that money is gone! We’re not saying never eat out again! We’re simply suggesting making it a once-or-twice-a-week treat instead.

 

Get Rid of Cable

 

I know this one is hard to hear. However, it’s one of the easiest ways to cut costs. Try ditching your ridiculous cable bill and watching television shows on free platforms like Hulu and Primetime Network websites. Seek out news on the internet or even buy the weekly paper. Research cheaper entertainment options like Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu Plus and sync your computer to your television. You’ll have more time to read (make sure you have a library card) and be creative! Plus, you’ll be flush with cash!

 

A Penny Saved…

 

Well there you have it… our guide for achieving financial balance. What are your money-saving strategies? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.