How To Budget & Save Money?
All of us have either been there or will be in the future, the time when the bills seem never ending and we just can’t seem to scrape enough money together.
If you don’t already have a budget, and I don’t mean just do your household expenses, I mean think of innovative and resourceful ways to save, this is the time to start!
One of the first concepts of starting to think budget-wise is to ask yourself when you see something in the shops or online, “Do I really need this”? So often when you do not have much money to spare you will be surprised at the little voice inside of you saying a resounding “No”, you don’t.
Sure you may have thought you needed it when money was flowing and you had thousands of available dollars in the bank. However we all know the hard facts that life sometimes deals us unexpected surprises. We can be in a job one minute, out of it the next.
Even just a bit of overspending on the credit cards, an unexpected car expense and perhaps a lot of birthday gifts to buy in a month is all it takes. Next thing we know we have just enough for rent or the mortgage payment plus basic food but the high gas and phone bill is just not accounted for!
What to do apart from taking out a loan and bemoaning your financial woes to your friends? After all many will themselves probably be struggling with their own personal financial worries.
Besides it is never a good idea to turn to friends for personal loans or help if it can possibly be avoided.
So…what options do you have? Well it turns out there are a lot more than you would think:-)
Here are 10 great ways to save on money you do have, make money and somehow survive on next to nothing!
When you go to the shops, compare all the pricing of the same product. Go for the cheapest every time for necessity items – bread, milk, essential food items. Try and look for the store’s own brands. These are usually cheaper.
##2. Shopping At Night
Shop towards the late afternoon or later at night before closing. This is often when you get huge discounts on chicken, meat, bread, all sorts of items. Some of the food products will need to be eaten same day so make sure you plan your meals. Saving money on essential food items is great but food poisoning is no fun if you have ever had it!
##3. Plan Your Bills
Ask for extensions on bills like phone bills and utility bills. This may enable you to schedule them so that the new payment date coincides with you having more money in your bank account or if you are unemployed, a job!
##4. Give Up Unwanted Expenses
Look at all your existing bills. Which ones are really not necessary? I am talking subscriptions to daily papers, if you were a corporate worker who liked to read the latest business news with your breakfast.
You can get all that news free online apart from the odd supplement. Cancel it. Better still if you have just paid try and get a refund if you only have used part of the month. You have to think as if every penny counted even if you did not count them before.
Even cancelling some services without refunds means next month you will have less bills to pay. You will be surprised how the savings add up, allowing you to pay that high phone or utilities bill after all or maybe in part. Some services may be able to be put on hold. This may mean no payment for those months, just paying when you resume.
Alternatively it might mean that you may lower a payment such as having minimal car insurance, cutting back on the usage of your car when times are tough. You will of course save on petrol too if you reduce your car usage. Instead walk more (lose weight and great for your sense of perspective on your tough situation), catch public transport or group trips together for different purposes instead of making individual trips.
##5. Stop Giving Loans To Others
If you have lent to other people and they still have not paid you back but are now doing fine, this is a great time to tactfully raise your situation and explain this is a time when you would really appreciate the loaned money back. It was after all only a loan as they would have known when you generously gave them your money when the cash flow was looking good.
##6. Cancel Insurance Or Policies
If you have actually lost your job consider cancelling these. Sometimes you will get a refund which again can be a great help when you are in between jobs and the unpaid bills are adding up.
##7. Sell Your CD or DVD Collection
Do you have some DVDs worth selling on e-bay or at the local second-hand store? Better still do you have some pop memorabilia that is worth something? Contact a collector not a second hand store since you want to gain maximum dollars for the item.
##8. Just Add Water!
When you get to the bottom of the container, make sure you add water. Oftentimes you find that you can add water and get several washes from the remaining suds.
The same goes for milk. When you get to towards the bottom of the carton, add water to make the last of the milk go further. You really will not notice the difference. Maybe a slight thinning of the milk.
##9. NO Takeaways
These quickly erode any money you do have! The healthiest way which is also important on a very tight, low money budget is eating at home, cooking or preparing your own food.
Some great foods to prepare are soups (either in a soup machine or in cans heated up) with some wholemeal bread. Others include frozen crumbed or battered fish and salads. This is both low budget and healthy. Again try and get the home brands, those made by the supermarket.
##10. Use Less
Switch to a mindset of using less of everything. That means less detergent, less lights on (electricity costs reduced), less toilet paper used. Also buy cheap toiletries and cleaning agents, at least for while you are on such a tight budget. Of course no one is doing this without others around. You need to be clear and not vague that times are tough for you and you have to watch your money.
This will help others understand you won’t be getting out the fancy cakes, the drinks and other hospitable items when they come to visit. These are all luxury items that you now have to exclude from your lifestyle.
It goes without saying that usually tough financial times pass and the money starts rolling in again. Until this happens just relish the small things in life, the walks that cost you nothing, the chat with a friend, the glass of clean water out of tap not a well and the roof over your head, not free but still there unlike untold millions of people around the world who tonight will sleep under the stars, including in so called first world countries and “lucky” countries.
Yes, be thankful for the little you do have, as they say contentment is accepting the world is an imperfect place but still making the most of things!