The following is a guest post. -G

Household budgeting can be tricky business – particularly for those facing cash flow shortfalls. For most money managers, spending in major budget categories comprises a substantial share of each month’s budget, leaving whatever remains to cover costs in other essential areas.  While the equation balances at times, household finances are also susceptible to unanticipated spending and cost overruns, sometimes leading to a lean and imbalanced financial flow.  When money grows tight – or anytime you want better cash flow accountability; it is important to make the most of your financial resources, without leaving money on the table.

Tamp-Down Waste for Financial Gains

As long as income is sufficient to cover costs, household waste has a way of falling through the cracks, without drawing attention.  As resources grow scarce, however, curbing unnecessary spending naturally draws a critical eye toward all the money wasted as it flows through your hands/home.

Energy-Conscious Savings

There are many reasons to use energy responsibly, not the least of which is global stewardship.  But alongside social responsibility and the virtues of a sparse existence, wasting energy is an expensive habit you can do without.  Conserving energy in your small corner of the world may not singlehandedly save the planet, but energy-efficient behavior can have an immediate impact on your bottom line.

Your utility bill illustrates usage habits, which may be driving your energy bills higher.  Are your wall outlets plugged with countless electronic devices, steadily drawing current and raising your spending on electrical service?  Do you frequently come-upon lights in the on position, with no one present using them? Do heating and cooling costs wreak havoc with your budget during peak seasons?  Each of these forms of household energy waste represents money down the drain, compounded again and again as you repeat the same bad habits.  For better results, manage your heating and cooling plant with an eye toward savings, installing a programmable thermostat and adjusting settings for spending economy – without sacrificing comfort.

Food Spending Control

Food waste accounts for sizable sums, taking big bites out of  family budgets.  If you are focused on conserving your resources, take a close look at your food spending habits, which can be a major source of cost overruns.  Is your pantry prone to food spoilage?  Do leftovers end-up in the trash can, rather than filling tomorrow night’s plates?  Are you wasting money on prepared food instead of stretching your resources with cost-effective home cooking?  Correcting any or all of these conditions leads to greater food spending efficiency, helping conserve valuable financial resources.

Curbing food waste relies on several key habits, making the most of your meal budget.  When spoilage is the culprit, undermining spending at the market, correct food waste by refining your shopping strategy to a list.  By sticking to a pre-ordered shopping list you’ll avoid making wasteful impulse buys, instead accounting only for items on the week’s menu.  And by maintaining an advanced food menu, looking ahead to the week’s needs, you’ll reduce food spoilage on two fronts – both raw goods and leftover meals.

Time is Money

Life’s most precious resource, time often takes a back seat to other more pressing concerns.  Although it isn’t as tangible as some other forms of progress, properly accounting for your time conserves your most valuable asset – a fleeting advantage, slipping-away with each breath.  Unless you bill by the hour, it may be hard to place a precise value on your time, but giving too much away undermines your financial stability.  There are only so many hours in a day – or a lifetime, so prudent time management is a priority shared by effective personal financiers.

Personal finance success relies on spending efficiency and conservation to make the most of incoming resources.  Conserving your time ensures it is well-spent advancing your financial security, and controlling waste in key spending areas like food and energy reinforces a cost-efficient financial flow.