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Easy Budgeting Tips and Tricks
Easy Budgeting Tips and Tricks!
Easy Budgeting Tips and Tricks
It was around early December when I came to realize that a change had to be made in the way I handled my money. Being a Freelancer, some months were a lot better than others, and during those slow weeks, I was becoming stressed around the time rent and bills were due. I'm sure there are enough of you out there who can relate to financial difficulties, for this to warrant an article. Therefore, whatever your reasons for cutting down on your spending, I would like to share with you some simple tips which have helped me both mentally, and physically, and continue to help me to this day.
Depending on your circumstances, some of these may not appeal or apply to you, but that is okay. Following any number of these can make a huge impact, and takes hardly any effort!
1) Make a Weekly Plan - Not Monthly.
Working out what you have, what you can spend, and what you need to have left over, works better on a smaller scale. It is far easier to keep track, not to mention calculate everything, when you only have seven days to work with. Regardless of whether you are paid weekly, monthly, or whatever, make sure you know exactly what you have for each week. Also plan out the days you will be shopping, how much you need to spend, and take out just enough money to purchase what you need.
Store your savings FIRST. Aim to save a specific amount each week, and deposit it into a savings account or alternative as soon as possible. Now whatever you have left, is for getting you through the week. Try to keep a little of this aside if possible - in this day and age you never know if something will happen. If you do not spend this at the end of the week, either deposit it for a peace of mind, or treat yourself for a job well done!
2) Substitution - The Easy Way.
This isn't about so much about switching brands for brands, Supermarkets for cheaper Supermarkets, or making do with tasteless food. It isn't even all to do with food. Switching out simple things to avoid waste and extra spending can make a huge difference.
Using Life Long Products such as milk and bread can help avoid waste. Eating food which provides more energy will prevent you needing extra meals throughout the day. Having a balanced amount of eggs, vegetables, and fiber is far better than big hearty meals and burgers.
Find Takeaway alternatives: Instead of ordering from a take-away, consider customizing store bought food. Create your own Subway-style sandwiches, purchase a pizza from a store and add your own toppings, create your own burgers etc. This could cut your expensive Takeaway costs down to as little as a few dollars/pounds per week, and each customization can take as little as a five minutes!
Instead of planning pricey days out to far away destinations, consider exploring places closer to home - you might be surprised how much there is within an hour of your own town! There are so many places you haven't yet been to, so many cheap days out for children, and experiences which can be enjoyed completely free! All it takes is a little research.
Likewise, instead of going out for meals, consider spending time cooking for your friends, family, or significant other. Or if this is too much, plan day trips as mentioned above, perhaps grabbing a sandwich midday whilst you enjoy one another's company.
3) Re-selling - If you don't Need it at the Moment, Exchange it for Cash and Space!
During my first few weeks of budgeting, I was amazed to find I could make an extra £100 per week selling on eBay and other websites. The trick here, is to remember that if your item is something which has many copies - video games, consoles, DVD's, books etc, and you feel you may miss them someday, you can always re-buy them later on in life, when you are better off. Usually for a lot cheaper, too!
Clothing and furniture can be more difficult to part with, but if you aren't 100% in love with it, you rarely use it, and you could do without it, assure yourself that some day you could get something even better. Getting to use, display, and show off items, then resell them is a very good way of experiencing them, before gaining back a portion, if not all of your funds!
Clearing clutter is a wonderfully therapeutic feeling, and knowing you are being paid for doing so makes it even more worthwhile!
4) Realize that you can have Fun without Spending.
Of course I don't mean starve yourself, live on the streets, or go without heating and electricity. I'm talking about finding things that involve objects you already own, which make you feel content and at ease. Hobbies such as writing, reading, drawing and exercising. Spending time with family and friends, movie nights, playing sports and learning skills through internet tutorials. Anything you learn could hugely benefit you financially later on.
There are many things which will give you the same feeling of happiness as say, a shopping trip or expensive dinner. In fact, you will continue to feel happy long afterwards, knowing that you've managed to save in the process!
5) Make some Cash using the Skills you Attained from Point 4!
Now that you've become accustomed to improving yourself, and not your wardrobe, you could use your new skills to your financial advantage. Consider starting a Blog or a Youtube Channel, tutoring others and helping them learn to better themselves. Writing a book, selling your hand-crafted items or impressive photographs, or offering to teach skills to others in your local area, the list goes on!
There are plenty of skills you could attain and nurture, to ensure a second income later on. Of course, many of you will lead busy lives, and will not have the time to take on another responsibility. These are simply alternatives for those who do spend a good portion of their week in an expensive manner.
As mentioned previously, some people will not be able to follow all of these steps. That is perfectly fine, following just one or two can make a huge impact on your life, and your bank balance. My last piece of advice would be to have something to aim for, to reward yourself for a job well done after a substantial amount of time has passed by. This doesn't have to involve money, or it could, because you now have exactly what it takes to save and budget when necessary.