Nobody likes the word budget. No one wants to limit what they do. But with a few simple steps, you can make your money life less stressful and still do the things you enjoy.
With a little bit of creativity and planning, it’s easy to put in place a budget that will help your money go further, and boost your savings pot.
Tips to help you save
Don’t be afraid of cash
One of the easiest ways to get yourself to stick to a budget is to give yourself a weekly allowance. Pull the cash out, and that’s it. That’s what you have for the week. This method helps you avoid impulse purchases and keeps you on track.
Make a meal plan
There are a few key things here. First, consider cooking with friends. Have a standing revolving dinner date on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. You can split the cost of food, and it is still social. It reduces the pull to go out to eat.
Second, making a meal schedule for the week helps reduce waste, and you can choose items that will be consumed for multiple meals.
Put change away
When you have some money left over from a line item, hide it away. Start a savings account, put it in a jar, whatever it is you need. This can be your money for a holiday, for trips or for an unexpected expense. If you can live off a certain amount each week, stick to the plan and save those leftovers for something special.
Can you cut any bills?
Consider cutting back your bills. There are often students are paying for services they aren’t even using. Take advantage of what your campus has to offer and stay away from paying for things on your own.
Of course, this doesn’t just apply to students. Most people may be able to save hundreds of pounds a year by cutting back on high-cost subscription services.
For example, do you need that £50 Sky subscription when Netflix is only £6? What about that £50 a month phone contract? With WiFi every today, there’s no reason to pay for unlimited data.
Don’t forget transportation costs
Exercise is good for your health and your wallet. Choosing to walk instead of taking the bus, train or Uber can add up quickly. Spending £3 on two bus rides every day for a short journey works out at around £84 a month.
This is a rough example, but it shows how even a small change like walking over taking public transport can help your financial situation.
Limit your dine out or take away by number
This includes coffee shops! Eating out is expensive, but it is important. Give yourself a limit per month. Any given week things can pop up, and you don’t want to feel like you are keeping yourself away from the fun. By giving yourself a number for the month, you might find you just muster the energy to cook on a night you were planning on doing take away anyway.
Make changes for life
Following the tips above will help you get on track with your finances, but once you get the ball rolling, it’s important to consider the next steps.
You should never rule out entertainment; money does not have to be boring. One fun way to do things is to have a series of jars. One for fun, one for emergencies, one for necessities and one for savings. When you have extra money, you can start dividing it up. Then when something comes up unexpectedly, you don’t feel like you are drowning. Even better, when something fun comes up, you don’t feel like you have to starve to make it work.
Post by Pharaba Hacker-Witt.