Living on a small budget can be challenging, especially for those who are used to spending big. But with the proper spending attitude and a few pointers, you can have a frugal lifestyle without losing comfort and enjoyment.
Being smart about your finances takes hard work and persistence. You cannot just sit back and hope your money problems straighten themselves out. Here are a few practical yet effective tips to help you get started on your money-saving efforts.
Save Before You Spend
When you are on a stringent budget, the last thing you must put on the chopping block should be your savings. In fact, savings should be your main priority.
For example, when you get your paycheck, you must first allocate 10 to 20 percent of your earnings into a savings account before buying anything, even food or utilities.
Doing so might seem a little backward, but saving can be the first step in controlling your money. Keep in mind that lack of savings can be the entire reason you are living on a budget in the first place.
So before buying anything, think of how much you want to save, then control how much you spend.
Plan Your Meals to the Cent
Many people plan their meals for the whole week. But if you are doing so to save money, you might need to take it a step further. You must plan your meals down to the last cent.
Doing this means you must plan every meal you eat for the week. You must make a grocery list with price estimates for all products and ingredients. With a shopping list, you can ensure you will not exceed your budget.
So take the time to create your grocery list every week. This habit can help you save money because you do not have to eat out or buy take-out daily.
Pay Outstanding Debts First
Outstanding debt refers to loans you owe to creditors. These debts can be from a student loan, credit card, personal loan, installment loan, car loan, or even other balances, like tax debt.
Working to pay off your debt is crucial if you want to increase your savings. You can use that money for other expenses if you do not have regular high-interest loan payments or other debts.
Save Money for Emergencies
You should also save for emergencies, like serious illnesses that would keep you from working or even lead to job loss. These situations may leave you with no income, so you must have enough money saved to stay afloat.
Try setting aside three to six months’ worth of your living expenses. Saving up for an emergency fund can be a long-term project, especially if you live on a tight budget. But remember, every little bit of money saved can significantly help in the long run.
Make it a habit to save at least a small portion of your earnings in a dedicated, interest-bearing account so you will earn a little money while it is accumulating.
These are simple tips you need to keep in mind if you live on a small budget. With these, you can address your financial needs, even during emergencies.