Money stress is the worst kind of stress. And learning to manage your finances is something almost all of us have to face. It’s like getting up on a Monday morning – unavoidable, but necessary. So how do you enjoy a decent life without getting tangled in a mess of unnecessary expenses? Here’s how to approach non-essential items, cut unnecessary costs, and help stick to your budget while still living your best life.
1. Identify non-essential expenses to stick to your budget
The easiest way to start this discussion is with the non-essentials. You may be spending your hard earned money on things you just don’t need. This right here has to stop! I’m talking about those pricey luxury items, extravagant dinners out, all those subscriptions, and entertainment costs. These are the first areas you need to look at to trim the fat from your spending.
Next, list all your expenses and split them into two categories: essential (like rent, utilities, groceries) and non-essential (like your daily Starbucks run, or that gym membership you never use). And don’t worry, we’re not looking to banish all non-essential spending. We just want to keep an eye on where your money is sneaking off to. Remember – we still want to live an enjoyable life! But we can do that without breaking the bank on the things that we do treat ourselves to or by treating ourselves to too many things too often.
2. Eliminate unnecessary subscriptions
When was the last time you went through your bank statements line item by line item? If it’s been awhile, then it’s very possible you are paying for a subscription that you forgot about. Other than that, we may have subscriptions that we barely use! Those monthly charges may seem small, but over time they really start to add up. From magazines to streaming services, these little costs can cause you to not stick to your budget. So, sit yourself down, take a good hard look at each subscription and ask yourself how often you use it. If it’s barely or never, it’s time to cut ties. And for those of you gripping your Netflix subscription like it’s a life preserver, don’t worry. There’s a sneaky hack you can use – learning how to change Netflix location. This little trick can potentially reduce your monthly payment and give you access to a whole new world of content. Genius!
3. Cook at home
Eating out or ordering takeout regularly can quickly add up, making it very easy to not stick to your budget. How about trying your hand at preparing meals at home? Cooking doesn’t have to be as daunting as a season finale cliffhanger. There’s a treasure trove of quick, easy, and delicious recipes online waiting to be discovered. Consider meal prepping to save time and stress during the week. Before you know it, you’ll be astonished at how much money you’re saving, and you’ll have picked up some snazzy new culinary skills to boot. Plus, home-cooked meals are often healthier, leading to a win-win situation for your wallet and your waistline.
4. Shop smarter to stick to your budget
When it comes to shopping, always have a list and stick to it like glue. Going shopping without a plan can lead to impulse buying and unnecessary expenses. We all know how dangerous Target can be! Try shopping for items when they’re on sale or during off-peak seasons. There are tons of apps and websites that let you compare prices to ensure you’re getting the best deal. Make the most of this by buying in bulk when it makes sense. Bulk purchases often offer significant cost savings.
Thrifting or second-hand shopping apps like Mercari or Poshmark are also a great resource for buying new-to-you items. This can be a good way to treat yourself to something while still being able to stick your budget.
5. Prioritize experiences over things
Studies have shown that experiences bring people more happiness than material possessions. So instead of splurging on the latest gadgets or fashion items, why not invest in experiences like traveling, learning a new skill, or attending a concert? These memories will last longer and enrich your life more than any material item could. Plus, engaging in new experiences can lead to personal growth and a more fulfilling life.
6. Do-It-Yourself (DIY)
Roll up your sleeves and prepare to save a significant amount of money while also sticking to your budget. From home improvement tasks to personal care, the internet is chock-full of guides and tutorials to help you out. DIY projects can offer not only monetary savings but also a sense of accomplishment and a boost in self-confidence. Who knows, these new skills might even turn into hobbies or side gigs. And if you can’t do it yourself, identify whether or not the project is essential or not. Something like a leak in your roof is essential. Whereas your car’s AC being out might not be essential. It would be very annoying, but ultimately manageable.
7. Prioritize your spending to stick to your budget
It’s crucial to budget according to your lifestyle and priorities. Maybe your morning coffee at the café is a non-negotiable, or perhaps you can’t live without your gym membership. And that’s okay! The goal isn’t to live a bare-bones lifestyle, but to cut unnecessary costs. Set some boundaries for yourself but allow some wiggle room for the things you love. This way, you can enjoy life while still sticking to your budget. And if you can, investing a portion of your savings can help grow your wealth and elevate your lifestyle in the future.
Living your best life doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. It’s about making smart decisions that allow you to enjoy the things you love without stressing over finances. And remember, every little bit helps. Seemingly small savings can pile up over time, leading to substantial financial progress. After all, it’s your money, and it’s your life. Make it count!