Posted in Budgeting on March 5, 2020
You know the spiel: everyone tells us that we should be saving our money, not spending it. We know that we have to think about our future, and plan for the expenses that will come one day down the line. However, when you’re only earning so many dollar bills every month, it can be difficult to figure out how you’re going to achieve your goals, long-term, or short-term.
The good news is that no matter how complicated things might seem for you initial, you can always find new ways to regain control over your finances. Today, we’re going to look at some step-by-step solutions that will put you back in the driver’s seat.
This might seem like the most basic starting point there is – but it’s also something that many people continue to skip when they’re trying to regain control of their cash. It’s difficult to tell yourself that you need to avoid spending your money on the things that you want each month when you’re the one that’s constantly working hard to earn it.
However, budgeting isn’t about limiting yourself or putting endless restrictions on what you can do. Instead, it’s a process that’s intended to help you understand exactly what you need to do to reach your financial goals. You might even discover places where you can easily save money without having to give up anything that you enjoy, like cutting down the cost of your electricity.
This is another thing that a lot of people in the financial world seem to constantly talk about – but not many of us understand what it actually means. Paying yourself first means that you start treating your savings as an essential bill. Just like paying off that personal loan that you took out to redesign your kitchen, or dealing with your broadband bills, you also put the money you want to leave aside for savings away before you begin spending your cash on other things.
We often make the mistake of waiting to worry about savings until we’ve bought everything that we want elsewhere. However, if you treat your savings as just another essential expense on your list of things to pay out each month, you’re much more likely to stick to your goals.
Regaining control over your financial situation doesn’t mean that you need to be constantly searching for ways to become a millionaire overnight. It’s usually the smallest changes that make the biggest difference in the long term. For instance, deciding to squirrel away some extra cash leftover from your lunch out with friends by putting it into a savings jar could mean that you have more to save away at the end of each month.
You can even consider downloading apps to your smartphone that show you areas where you can save extra pennies here and there. Small changes are often easier to implement than big life changes, and they quickly add up over time.
Credit and debit cards are very easy and convenient to use – but that’s part of the problem. We’re so used to flashing a card for everything that we need these days, that we lose track of how much we’re actually spending. That means that you end up tipping over into your overdraft before you know what you’ve been doing.
Sticking with cash forces you to consider every penny carefully. You might have to brush up on your math skills a little to make the most of this strategy, but it will be worth it when you realize how much money you have left over each month to spend on your savings and yourself.
There’s truth to the idea that the best things in life are often free. The problem is that many of us don’t know how to look for free things to enjoy these days. If you’re constantly spending money on nights out with friends or expensive weekends with your loved ones, it might be time to think about ways that you can save money with freebies instead.
For instance, consider filling a notebook full of ideas of stuff you can do without spending any money – like visiting the park or checking out free events. You can also sign up for free VIP clubs so you’re the first to know about any competitions, giveaways, or even just discounts from your favorite stores.