There are a few ways to live within your budget that have always helped me and which I would like to share. We all know that money makes the world go round, it's often too tight to mention and ain't nothin going on but the rent. And whilst the subject has provided much inspiration for songwriters through the years, the state of our personal finances has the power to either keep us awake at night or help us sleep soundly. Whilst it would be great not to have to worry about money, many of us don't always have that luxury and have to ensure that bills are paid on time and that there is enough money in the pot to both save and enjoy a few of life's little luxuries. So in the interests of spreading a little financial harmony, here are a few ways to live within your budget that may help.
One of the best ways to live within your budget is to make a list of all your expenses from the past year. Look at your bills, bank and credit card statements to see what your outgoings were and what financial position you're in at the moment. Looking at past patterns is a great way of helping you to look forward and plan ahead.
2. Financial Forecasting
It's sometimes possible to calculate what expenses you're likely to have over the next year. When you put together the rent and any other necessary expenses, you can often project what your outgoings are likely to be over the next few months and then calculate what this might be over the next year.
From a young age, it has always been drummed into me to be financially independent. I have my parents to thank for instilling that ethos in me and I like to think that I'm quite responsible when it comes to money. Having a monthly budget is vital and sticking to it is equally as important. Think about how much you can reasonably afford to spend each month.
Many financial gurus advise that you put a portion of your income away every month for savings and whilst 20% is recommended, I would say that as much or as little as you can set aside is good enough. As tempting as it may be though, try not to dip into your savings unnecessarily.
Having goals is important in any aspect of life. What is it that you would like to save for? Would you like your own car, your own place or are you saving to see the world? Whatever it is, think about where you would like to be in the future. Make a vision board or write it down and put it somewhere you will be able to see it every day. This will remind you exactly why you're budgeting and saving and will help make it a reality. It sounds crazy but it works!
6. Leave out the Latte
If you have a daily Starbucks habit then you're not alone. These recession proof coffee houses are certainly profiting from our daily addiction and over a year, our daily dose of caffeine adds up to around $1400! Just think what you could buy with that money. Even something as simple as taking your lunch to work can also help, so leaving out the latte or at least cutting down on that expense can help you reach those financial goals a little quicker.
7. Best Things in Life
Remember, there are many things you can do which don't cost very much. If you can't pass a shop window without having one quick browse inside, which often leads to the inevitable, think about undertaking a hobby that won't cost the earth but will keep you occupied and may even make you some money.
These are just a few ways which have helped me. What hints and tips do you have?