As a professional in the finance and business, accountants are usually way ahead of the game when it comes to analyzing their budgets, but sometimes assuming you are an expert can lull you into thinking there are no improvements to be made. Regardless of how on top of your finances you are there are a few things which sneak into the budget you may have forgotten about, or a better way to spend your money. Today we take a look at some CPA budget tips to fine tune the way you spend and save your money.
Dripping expenses sink the boat
First is something which is glaringly obvious and you've probably thought about, but might not have taken care of. Small, automatically paid, monthly expenses seem like no deal but can drain our bank accounts like a small leak in a bucket. You sign up for Netflix because it's not a lot of money, but then Amazon Video has a show you want, and you listen to audiobooks on Audible, and finally, because you don't like commercials you've paid for Spotify Premium. These are just examples of common monthly subscriptions people hold and come in at unassuming prices of $10-15/month, but just the four we mentioned add up to $576/year. Throw in the trendy meal subscription you pay for, the cable and internet bill, your unlimited streaming data plan you never justify having, the gym membership you forgot you have, and the sports tv package that only goes on for one season of the year, and many of us could easily be looking at thousands of dollars, weeks of pay, of non-vital bills that you aren't actively saying yes to each month.
The easiest way to start taking care of all this is to download a finance and income tracker to your phone. There are plenty in the app store and most track these monthly, automatic payments. Even taking an hour to analyze these expenses once a year could save you thousands.
Re-shop, bundle, and change your cell phone, internet, and cable plans
This one doesn't take much work either but can result in a huge, often immediate, payoff. Many of us signed up for a cell phone plan years ago and haven't looked back since. The thing about this is you may be sticking with an overpriced and outdated plan. Having a 16GB of data a month plan was a lot more expensive three years ago than it was now, or maybe you got married and didn't bundle your spouse's plan with yours, and maybe a personal hotspot on your phone could replace the one you pay to have at home. Also, ask yourself what's really necessary? Is that "free" unlimited streaming worth sticking with the more expensive cellular provider? Do you have cable but find yourself only watching Netflix? Could you somehow consolidate every one of these services to one provider, cutting the mess of bills into one and saving a few bucks in the process? With a few short phone calls, a visit to the store, or even going online to review, update, or re-negotiate your services could save you a pretty penny very quickly.
Consider switching your credit cards
The best way to treat credit cards is as debit cards. Have them paid off monthly to avoid pointless interest and fees. Some choose to opt out of them altogether, but they do have major bonuses of cashback, points, and automatic payments made easier. The same dilemma exists as with your cell phone though - your card may be outdated, and it's likely a better one is available. Many swear by the Chase Saphire Preferred for its high return rates and flexible rewards, but simply Googling "best credit card" offers a variety of third party reviews that pair you and your needs to a good card. If you like to travel, you should check out "The Points Guy" to see how to make your cards work for you. More than anything, you should go into your credit card history online and monitor the fees you are paying to make sure you aren't missing anything big charges you can readily fix.
Doing these three simple tasks could end up saving you a few paychecks every year, but even scarier of thought is that not doing anything or analyzing for ten years could cost you tens of thousands of dollars unnecessarily. So do what it takes with a little time and investigation to help yourself out!