NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Saving money means taking steps first to make the best use of your budget. As News 2 learns from a personal finance expert, there’s a hidden fee that can add up quickly that consumers need to know about.
“We really like using the 50, 30, 20, budget, which means 50% of your take-home pay is going towards your needs. That’s things like your housing, your food. 30% to wants, so things like a restaurant meal, and then 20% to debt payments – any debt payments you have as well as savings,” said Kimberly Palmer with Nerdwallet.
In the needs budget, Palmer said the quickest way to save is by watching what you eat.
“You can do things like avoiding restaurant meals and takeout, shifting more to cooking at home,” she said.
But, what if you’re already cooking at home? Palmer said there’s some steps you can take to get the grocery bill down.
“Things like planning your meals, making sure you’re not wasting food, just shopping more thoughtfully when you’re planning your meals, and choosing items that are less expensive,” she advised.
She said create meals based on what is already in your pantry, which helps you avoid putting more items in your basket.
“We like to call it left-overing or next-overing. So, it can seem a little bit more fun than just eating leftovers. ” Palmer continued, “Basically, if you make a roast chicken one night, can that turn into tacos the next night or a pizza topping the next night. So just thinking about how you can reuse the food you already have in your fridge. And it also helps you reduce waste.”
Finally, track your spending closely, especially if you don’t use cash regularly.
“What we’ve seen is that a lot of people sign up for things like free trials or other recurring expenses. And they’re not even using the items or the subscription anymore, but it continues to charge you every single month. And it might be a small amount, like $5 a month or $10 a month.”
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She continued, “But, if you think about it all year long, it adds up really quickly. So, we really urge people to comb through your debit card or credit card statements and see, are there expenses that you don’t even recognize or you don’t even realize you signed up for?”