Today, staying on budget is one of the hardest things. Prices are going up every day while pay is pretty much staying the same. With that in mind, being mindful of your expenses might be more important than ever. Here’s how you can stay on budget every day and save enough money for comfortable living:
Track your spending
Probably the most effective way to stay on budget (but definitely not the most fun one) requires you to track your spending. Most people find this very exhausting, but if you want to start paying attention to your money and saving up, this is a sure way to see results. There’s no problem when you spend money on groceries and bills, but the budgeting issues start when you splurge on things you don’t need. Well, tracking your spending helps with the second category of expenses. It allows you to pay more attention to where your money is going, but just be honest to yourself and make sure to write down every little expense.
Make a list when shopping
If you’re not already doing this, it’s high time you started. When you’re shopping without a list, you’re much more likely to stray and spend money on things you don’t need. With a list, you’re more focused on what’s important for your household and you will avoid many unnecessary purchases that will do nothing but break your budget and create buyer’s remorse. And make sure to leave for grocery shopping after a meal so you don’t go shopping with your stomach but with your head.
Reduce your transportation costs
If you don’t need to use it every day, having a car can be a serious expense. You need to pay for insurance and registration every year, then repairs and maintenance, and let’s not even talk about gas prices that are constantly rising. Therefore, it might be smarter to rely on your feet, your bike or public transport when you need to go somewhere—it will often save you money, time and nerve. When you need a car, you can rent one, or do what Australians do and opt for car share Australia which gives you access to a car by the hour or day. This is great for people who don’t need a car every day or those who sometimes need a second car without added costs of maintenance and ownership.
Wait with upgrades
One of the biggest money grabs today is the vicious technological upgrade cycle. It seems that every year, there is a new iPhone out or a new laptop, with your old one getting obsolete. To stay on budget, make sure to resist these upgrades, and wait until there’s something actually wrong with your tech. These upgrades are more or less barely noticeable, so it all comes down to taking your money to maintain appearances. And after you make your upgrades, make sure to either sell your old devices or recycle them, but don’t let them waste space in your drawers.
Check for discounts and coupons
If you have access to coupons or discount codes, don’t be lazy to use them. Sometimes, this only means a few dollars of savings, but sometimes you can save up a serious amount. And coupons and discount codes can be found online, in catalogues and promo e-mails, so make sure to check them out. There are even apps and websites dedicated to coupons to make it easier for you to organize and store your scores.
If you have any daily expenses, especially those that you didn’t plan on having, use cash instead of your cards. When using cards, we lose the sense of paying and spending money, but with cash, this act of spending money and watching them go away is much more visceral. Having cash is often enough to deter people from making purchases and saying goodbye to it. It might be impractical to carry cash in this day and age, but if you’re trying to save up, it’s a very good choice.
Give yourself time
Every time you want to make a big purchase, don’t automatically say ‘no’. Sometimes, it’s necessary to spend money and sometimes it’s not, so give yourself time to think about your expenses. Sleep on every more serious purchase and see how you feel about it in the morning. If you’re still excited about it and sure you’re going to benefit from this new thing, go for it—it will be money well spent. But if you no longer feel this purchase is necessary, you just managed to save yourself some money and stay on budget!
Budgeting today is not an easy task, but it’s a very smart one. If you want to be more careful with your money or if you want to save up for an upcoming purchase, use these budgeting tips to help you save up some extra money and enjoy your future expenses without remorse.