Budget day in Trinidad and Tobago is October 1st. Many are concerned about increased taxes and generally, the possibility of an increased cost of living, in the aftermath of Finance Minister Colm Imbert’s budget delivery. Truth be told, citizens of Trinidad and Tobago will be faced with whatever is presented to us, left only with the hope that prior to presentation, government would have had the best interest of not only one, but every social class of society, in mind.
Ahead of government’s budget presentation, here are a few suggestions on ways that you can prepare yourself, should the cost of living increase thereafter:
Increase your income; decrease your expenses.
The key to this is sticking to your strategy. There are a few things that may be required such as giving up your vehicle if you don’t truly need it, adding a roommate to cut down on living expenses, moving to a less expensive area, working extra shifts or a second job, saving on groceries, claiming any government benefits you might be entitled to etc. Also consider how much interest you are paying on any debts you may have. If you have a lot of debt, find a debt repayment method that works for you and start paying off what you owe while interest rates are still low.
Try to save on your utility bills.
Take a critical look at all of your utility bills. Do you need the same internet and/or cable bundle you signed up for originally? What is your cell phone usage like? If your usage has decreased or changed, a cheaper package might be better for you. Call up your service providers and see if they have any special offers running that you could take advantage of. Saving even $10 a month is $120 a year that can be spent elsewhere or saved altogether.
Watch those small expenses. They do add up!
Do you purchase coffee? Maybe you need to change that practice. If you spend $25 on a cup of coffee per day, that’s $125 over a five day work week, totaling $500 a month and $6000 a year! See how much you could be saving! You do have to sweat the small stuff when it comes to budgeting because it’s easier to make small changes than big ones.