You've probably been told that when it's time to save money, every dollar counts. While this is true, cutting out your morning coffee isn't going to have as profound an impact as downsizing your home. Put your effort into reducing your largest expenses to fix your budget with minimal stress.
Photo by jridgewayphotography.
As advice site The Muse explains, every financial decision you make takes time, effort, and mental energy. Some of the changes you can make have bigger impacts than others. Putting your effort into these bigger changes will make the most out of your stress. For example, if you can cancel your cable bill with one phone call, that will do a lot more for you in the long run than resisting the urge to have a coffee every single morning. The bigger the expense, the more time and effort you should put into reducing it:
Make smart choices about big items in your budget, and don't obsess over pinching pennies. After all, if you're spending 50% of your take-home pay on rent, cutting out coffee isn't going to help much anyway... Taking aim at the big expenses may mean finding a roommate, opting for a cheaper car, or spending a few hours calling up service providers to negotiate better rates on your heftiest bills.
Of course, that doesn't mean you can't spend time or effort on the little things. Just treat them proportionately. If your house was on fire and the dog just peed on the carpet, obviously one of these crises needs to be dealt with much sooner than the other. Likewise, if you're spending five to ten hours a week couponing to save $US30 ($40) at the grocery store, but your rent is 50% of your household income, the high rent should demand much more of your immediate attention if possible.