A key thing to accept about your finances is that the money you earn at this point in your life is the only money you have to run your life. Therefore, your budget must match the money you earn as much as possible. Being aware of this makes managing your money and your life easier. Fortunately you can master your budget and make it work for you if you
- Keep an Eye on it
Is it still the same list of expenses you set out to tackle each month such as rent, electricity, water, food, transport, phone etc. or have some other things crept in? Even if the list is still the same are the amounts still the same? Take a good look at the list and see where there are some changes. Do you notice some amounts have changed and become larger; this could be due to price changes but it could also be due to the fact that you are spending way too much on take-away, buying too many clothes or too much grocery? The last 2 tend to happen when you are faced with those incredible discounts and sales but, remember when you buy something on sale you are spending money that you did not need to spend.
PS: With food bought on sale you do not need to feel horrible about the unplanned for extras you bought as you can have a pantry week. In this week do not do any grocery shopping and instead just depend on your pantry. And do not forget to look in your freezer.
- Think Before You Buy
What can you not live without? What do you like having but can live without? Deciding what you can live without is an important question to answer if you want your budget to work. Some ways to determine this is to check on the items handiness, the number of times you use it, how many of the item you already have, does it save you time, is it affordable, will the whole family get to enjoy it etc. Once you have had a good think and decide that not having the item will not impact your life greatly then do not buy it.
PS: Budgeting is using money to its best purpose so if buying stylish clothing is something you shy from know that the way you look can automatically tell others something about you; being shabby will not serve you well. Just keep an eye on the numbers.
- Make Saving Money a Monthly Goal
Since you know where your money is going every month try and identify items that you can reduce on. Do you take the car to the car wash every weekend? Try washing the car at home for a month and put the money you were going to spend in an envelope and out of sight. At the end of the month check how much you have in the envelop. Is it 100, 200, 400, 500? This is money you can save every month. Or if you have to pick up your kids from school and take them home at lunch time do not just drop them off and turn around to go back to the office ( stopping for a take away) instead eat a quick and simple lunch at home. Pick a realistic area for your monthly spending reduction and do not make too many changes all at once. Tackle one item per month and see how big a difference this change makes on your pocket and in your saving account.
PS: When you start saving money on different items on your list (the cinema, takeaway, clothes, Friday outings, sports betting, newspaper and magazines, hosting the girls etc.) you will begin to notice some things you can do without easily.