There is no doubt that being a responsible adult is not easy – having to deal with bills, careers, and hangovers, all whilst attempting to successfully raise mini versions of yourself is no walk in the park.
One of the most overused and underrated words in your adult dictionary is no doubt the word “budget” …the mere mention of it sends shivers of terror up and down my spine. The thing about budgets, as scary as they may seem, is that they are 100% necessary for your financial wellbeing.
Budgets are easier said than done in the beginning and until you learn tips and tricks along the way, you’re bound to make a few mistakes along the way. We all spend money, it is the very crux of consumerism, but some of us waste money rather than spending it.
Here are 10 ways that these small costs are killing your budget, which means you need to cut back on them if you have any hope of being able to resuscitate your ailing fiscal plan.
Eating out is a terrible habit to get into. Going for drinks or coffee with friends, a sneaky brunch here and a late dinner there will all eventually add up. These amounts may seem small at the time but over a month or a year, those seemingly small charges will end up accounting for a large chunk of your vanishing budget. The best way around this is to pack a lunch every day and then limit the amount of dining out you do, especially if you can work one or two of these trips into your official budget.
Morning Coffee and Muffin
If you live in a big city, or even a smaller city…or even a decently sized village, to be honest, you’re bound to run into an exquisite specimen of a human being who is completely willing to sell you a steaming cup of your favorite morning beverage. For the sake of your financial wellbeing, you need to resist the urge to do so at least 90% of the time. Allow yourself a cup or two every month but the daily ones need to end, you need to set a good example for your children.
This one is a little tricky to sort out because excess or unnecessary subscriptions come in many forms. From apps to games to timeshares, these added expenses are guaranteed to annihilate your chances of sticking to your monthly budget. You could consult a company like Wesley Financial Group to cancel your unwanted timeshare and then check your phone’s app store for a running total of all of the subscriptions you have – you may not even be aware of some of them.
Food is one of the easiest things to waste money on because it’s so hard to keep track of. You walk into a grocery store after a long day at the office, walk past some divine smelling pastries and the next thing you know you’re walking out of the store with boxes of baked beauties you didn’t even need to begin with. Convenience foods are the biggest budget killers because they are just so tempting but you must do your best to resist. Buy the food you need to have a healthy and balanced diet, leave everything else behind.
Gas is a bit like food in that once you pay for it and use it, it’s gone – never to be seen again. If you need to drive to work then consider carpooling with your favorite colleagues, but only if you have all been vaccinated and it is safe to do so – this is a fantastic way for you to all cut down on your gas costs. This extra money can then be diverted to responsible costs, like investments and savings accounts.
This is a tough one to avoid because sales are all around us all the time. With the advent of online shopping, you aren’t even safe when you’re in your own home. Learn to set boundaries for yourself like ignoring sales emailers and notifications unless there is something specific you are looking for and you have made room in your budget to accommodate it. If you need to buy a bigger appliance like a TV or a fridge, wait for the annual Black Friday sales and make sure to save up for it during the year.
This tip will be particularly difficult for some of us to hear but it doesn’t make it any less true… To help your budget survive a tough year you need to do away with things like spa days, having your nails done and getting eyelash extensions. Learn to embrace your natural beauty, at least until your budget has healed enough to stretch for these types of pampering services.
Unless you have an all-inclusive phone plan, chances are you spending way too much money on data. Do a quick search of your local area before you go out and make a note of the places that provide free wi-fi services, these places will end up being your best friend whilst you rehabilitate your budget.
Companies have made it so easy for you to give them your hard-earned money, like AutoPay for example – they encourage you to set it and forget it – this is a great idea for your normal monthly charges like your rent or utility bill but anything else is just too dangerous to sign up for. Comb through your bank statement now and check for any unusual charges that you may have forgotten.
Go through the last few bank statements you have received and tally up the charges. This way when you contact your bank you can work out a way for you to save on the extra charges by upgrading or downgrading your account plan. If your current bank is unwilling to help, then do some research online into other banks because one of them will probably be able to save you money at the end of every month.
Disclaimer: MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence.