In times of moderate economic insecurity and real-terms wage stagnation, it’s harder than ever to keep on top of your finances. Often, wage checks raise bank balances just enough to lift us out of credit or accommodate for our monthly expenditure, ruling out things like holidays, fashion investments, or the patient building of a wad of savings which you can enjoy later in life. Thankfully, all is not lost. Instead of relying on wages and the cost of living to shift in your favor, there are plenty of productive steps, like those listed below, that you can take to become a budget whizz, saving instead of frittering the bucks.
This is one of the more unfashionable tips, so we’ll get it out of the way first. Conduct a thorough audit of your finances, checking on what it is that’s insidiously nibbling away at your earnings. A great and painless way to do this is to search for and join a mobile bank, that’ll do the topping up for you. Usually, people are a little oblivious to what exactly is gobbling up their fortunes, and finding out can come as a bit of a shock, but it sets you in good stead for the following step. You should make a spreadsheet of your outgoings and incomings to identify where you need to watch your spending. Utilizing a website such as excelsemipro.com can help you learn how to spreadsheet like a pro.
Cut it Out
With horror, you’ve discovered that your daily double espresso is cutting serious and avoidable inroads into your personal finances, or that your frolicking in the stores on the weekend is costing you dearly. Whatever it is, it’s time for a lifestyle change: stop overspending and start living within your means. You’ll likely find that whatever it was that was so costly is something you’ll hardly miss.
Extending from your initial sweeping improvements, this is a way of life that’s as rewarding as it is money-saving. There’s a host of frugal living tips available online that’ll inspire you to take action in every area of your life that involves outbound expenditure. Whether it’s buying cheaper food, canceling subscriptions, reducing transport costs, or compromising on pricey products you thought you’d never do without, living frugally will do as much for your budget as cutting out your worst spending habits.
The best way to take full control of your finances is to understand the difference between necessary expenditure and unnecessary expenditure. It’s simple: food – necessary; Netflix – unnecessary. And so on. You’ll have largely achieved this if you followed the above three steps, which means you’ll know how much your base-level expenditure is – that is, how much money is necessary for your survival. From there, add a token amount for treats, and establish an expenditure target that you aim to meet each week and each month. Staying on top of the stats and noting just how much you’ve saved is the perfect motivation to complete your pro-level budgeting.
If your wallet is a graveyard of receipts come the end of the month, you may do well to follow the tips laid out in the article. You may now think that abandoning certain luxuries is a step you’ll be unwilling to take, but it’s one you should at least try – you may enjoy the feeling of saving money far more than you ever believed.