More than ever, people need to create and stick to a budget.
You’ve likely caught one or two articles talking how the average American has less than $400 in savings. Or, how most people are one accident or financial mishap away from ruin. This is all very scary stuff when you’re aimless with your financial security and well-being.
It’s certainly hard to live by a budget when you’re having trouble saving… but it’s not impossible.
Here are some of the best ways to find extra finances in your day-to-day and what to do with it:
- Simplifying and Planning Your Groceries
A Gallup poll found most people’s grocery budget is about $151 a week… a week!
This can’t be, right? Can it? Apparently so.
Here are a few tips to cut that in half:
- Shop at the “cheap” grocery stores like Aldi, Trader Joe’s, or a local ethnic market
- Ditch name brands (usually in the middle of the shelf and endcaps) for generic brands (down low)
- Keep an eye out for coupons
- Keep a well-stocked pantry giving you plenty of options to mix and match — build this during sales
- Cut out meats and try one or two “meatless” days — even shop ‘clearance’ meats and cook that day
- Cook for yourself, more, and reinforce it remembering money and time saved
- Do Preventative Maintenance and Fix Things
What is it about something not working 100% and going straight to the trash? Or, having to have the latest and greatest because that’s what everyone else has? Consumerism will quickly drain your budget and a lot of this comes from buying low-quality goods, to begin with — and not trying to fix things when they start breaking.
- Look for quality brands offering lifetime guarantees (and make sure to use those guarantees!)
- Do your research and consider older items with better builds vs newer, cheaper productions
- Try buying items through swaps, thrift stores, or directly from others at a discount
There are many ways to save around the home, too, by keeping up with it and fixing things especially if you’re in a dynamic environment like Utah. This could include fixing cracks in the foundation before it goes bad, or inquiring about pest control Salt Lake City services that can prevent pests like termites from ruining the foundation or woodwork in your home. Replacing wood framing eaten by termites could cost a lot of money so pest control is well worth the investment.
- Set and Manage Expectations
Sure, it would be nice to go catch the latest flicks or grab up some nice, new piece of fashion. There’s always something new and flashy catching our attention — so much so that we’ll disregard our budget to have it. This goes the same with what we expect from others and how they influence our decisions.
Did you know your friends can influence you to spend more?
That’s not telling you to ditch people close to you… just set and manage expectations and emotions. You’ve got to adult your money management. This includes tracking what’s coming in and what’s going out. It also includes letting a desirable purchase “dwell” for a few days often resulting in you no longer wanting it.
A lot of people are in financial trouble because they live beyond their means. They have trouble seeing the reality of their situation and how deep they’re digging.
You Can Live Big on a Small Budget!
A few extra bucks here and there does add up — and a lot of this funding happens when you apply value to your time and energy. A budget will help you understand whether it’s worthwhile. So, find cheap or free alternatives, aim for quality, maintain what you own, and get real with what you’ve got.
These are the things that’ll help you live big on a small (real) budget hopefully leading you out of this dangerous edge of savings and ruin.