Managing your budget
They say that money doesn't buy happiness, and it's true, but we live in a world based on money. We need them to function: pay bills, buy food, clothes, etc. In many places around the globe, they are necessary to take care of basic medical care.
They also have a significant impact on our mental condition. Their lack or poor management of money can cause unnecessary stress, anger, frustration, often tensions in marriage and other such ailments. This is why proper budget management is so important, as it helps you avoid many worries and get on well in life - even on a modest budget.
BUDGET MANAGEMENT — SEPARATION OF INCOMES
Most of us, after receiving a paycheck to the account, simply start spending it and consuming it throughout the month. So sometimes we have enough and sometimes we don't. Meanwhile, money left to itself tends to mysteriously "dissolve."
Therefore, decide that when you get your next paycheck, YOU will manage them.
First of all, we should divide them into three groups:
1. BASIC EXPENSES (bills and food)
2. SAVINGS (different goals such as holidays + keeping emergency money)
3. INVESTMENTS (renovation, buying new things, business)
So when we get a payout, we break it down into different groups. For example, we can transfer part of the money to a savings account and these will be our funds from the SAVINGS category (most banks offer opening and maintaining savings accounts for free, some have the so-called "piggy banks", i.e. sub-accounts created when we collect for a specific purpose). We can also put money in the so-called "sock". It is good to put a few envelopes on it and sign it, e.g. car insurance, home renovation, phone replacement, etc. To better understand it, it is worth downloading an application (e.g. from Google Play Store on Android phones, App Store on Apple devices) or use a template from Google Sheets or Excel.
But how to manage the budget at a time when inflation is increasing and there is almost nothing left in your pocket
BUDGET MANAGEMENT — LOOKING FOR SAVINGS
The first thing we need to do is locate where we spend the most money. Usually it looks like this: housing costs us the most, followed by food and a car.
Not all areas can be changed and not all are under our control. However, too often we are stubborn in our views and habits. If you are renting an apartment, it is worth looking for a more economical one. You can often find a more attractive apartment, and at the same time at a better price, or, for example, in the town where we work. Thanks to this, we can save on fuel, car maintenance or time, which is very valuable in our times.
But even if we do not have the opportunity to take such drastic steps as changing the apartment, let's look for savings in it. For example, it is always possible to reduce expenses a bit. Replace light bulbs with energy-saving ones. This can reduce your expenses by several dollars on the bill. Use the shower more often than bathing in the tub. Check if your toilet flush has water consumption regulation. These are small things, but they save a few hundred a year.
However, you can save the most on food. Mainly because we eat too much. Far too much compared to what we need. It is not without reason that we have protruding bellies and we are overgrown with fat.
HOW TO SAVE ON FOOD?
Here just a few tips for how to save on food:
– buy the exact amount of food you need (a man working physically can usually eat two meals a day and remain fully effective and healthy).
- before shopping make a list of necessary items,
– avoid buying sweets and pastries,
– choose a smaller cart for shopping or even a basket,
– do shopping for a whole week, thanks this you will spend less time and money in the shop,
– separate your food budget for weeks (it means, if your monthly budget is 500, divide it by 4. You have 125 to spend on food per week. It will motivate you to manage with this amount of money),
– buy products only in real discounts,
– check how the price relates to the weight or volume of the product (many products are cheaper on the shelves, but in fact they are more expensive. Always check the price per kilogram or grams).
The third biggest expense is a car. Try to use the car as little as possible, especially when you have to cover short distances. It is better for health to take a walk or choose a bicycle. Also, take care of regular filter replacement, e.g. regularly changed gas filters allow you to extend the route by several dozen kilometers. Also set aside money for minor repairs, insurance and inspection. Thanks to this, you will not have to worry that you have accumulated a lot of expenses in one month.
BUDGET MANAGEMENT — REDUCE REGULAR EXPENSES
It is also worth looking at the expenses necessary in these times, but those on which we have some influence. For example, we may consider, if possible, changing energy bills from flat rate to real. Different energy companies have different tariffs. Take a look at which one is the most profitable for you.
Some also pay completely unnecessarily to maintain a bank account. It may seem like a few dollars a month, but over the course of a year it is again a specific sum. And that's what saving is all about. By depositing small amounts. There are plenty of trusted banks on the market that offer free account maintenance, transfers, ATM withdrawals, etc. So it's worth changing the bank and don't be afraid, now most of the formalities will be handled by the bank for us.
The same applies to offers in mobile networks. It is unwise to bind yourself to long and unprofitable contracts. Instead of taking a phone for a subscription, it's better to put it down and buy one that we would really like to have. Currently, it is best to have a pre-paid phone, it gives you a lot of flexibility in any changes. If you have a postpaid phone, try to switch to a contract for an indefinite period as soon as possible. This gives you the option to solve it at any time. Also, don't be afraid to check the competition and switch to another company if necessary. You can keep your number while doing so, usually at no cost.
Managing a budget may not be easy at first and it certainly requires self-discipline, but it definitely pays off! The application of the above-mentioned tips will allow you to save from several dozens to several thousand dollars a year, you will be able to spend these funds, for example, on your dream vacation (I write about how to save on holidays here). So start today!
And you, what ways do you have to save a few pennies? Write in a comment.