There’s almost definitely something unnecessary in your expenses.
If you’re looking for ideas for a New Year’s resolution (one you’ll actually keep to, I mean), allow me to offer a suggestion: vow to cut at least one extraneous cost from your regular spending in 2021. When you get a financial system together, it can be tempting to just let it play out on its own every month. I get it, we all have plenty of other things to worry about on a regular basis. But if you take a closer look at your finances, you may realize that your system has been sucking up more money than it needs to while you weren’t looking.
Here’s the plan: for a few weeks, you need to be a finance detective. Make a list of every transaction you make during this period. If you’re buying multiple things at once, like at the grocery store, hold onto your receipts for a little while. After a month or so, pull out your list, and carefully read over every last one of your expenses. I’m talking all of them; gas, groceries, electricity, internet, and every little random impulse purchase. I’m willing to bet there’ll be at least one expense in there that’ll make you go “where did that come from?” No, nobody’s stealing from you, you just let the system get carried away with itself.
Once you’ve identified that extraneous cost, work to cut it out completely. Maybe you’re buying some expensive brand of snack at the store every week. Get something cheaper, or just don’t get anything. Maybe your internet bill’s mysteriously risen. Call up your provider and put their feet to the fire. These kind of little costs have a way of sneaking into your bills, but if you can catch them in the act, you can save a lot of money down the line.