Frugality: it doesn’t come easy to most. Some people are raised with good financial habits, but if you’re just learning how to be responsible with money, it’s a skill that definitely needs to be developed. You constantly have to say “no” when you want to say “YES”, opt for home-cooked meals over eating out, search for sales when shopping, and reign in all purchases in general.
It’s difficult, and it’s definitely not fun, but sometimes it’s necessary. Maybe your car is on the fritz and you know you’ll need a new one any day now, maybe you’re heading off to college and have to buy a laptop for class, or maybe you’re just dying to mount a 52” plasma TV on the wall before the next viewing party.
Whatever the case may be, the need for budgeting is all the same. Most people aren’t just sitting on piles of cash — if you are, you should invest it and make your money work for you. To afford your big ticket item (without going into debt), use these tips that can help you set some money aside.
- Cancel the Cable
Cable companies charge a fortune for television packages. Unless you’re married to your TV every night, you might consider canceling your subscription. There are so many streaming services available these days that can provide the same shows for much cheaper. Many allow you to record programs just like a DVR, plus you’ll gain access to original productions that you wouldn’t be watch on cable. You can watch directly on your Netbook or use an HDMI cord to display the content on the big screen.
- Work Out at Home
Here’s another service you should think about canceling as you save up money: your membership at the gym. Working out and staying active is incredibly important, especially with age, so don’t cut this routine out of your life altogether. There are many body weight exercises you can do right at home. Depending on how you prefer to work out, you might not even need a mat or dumbbells — all you need is your body to get moving!
There are plenty of fitness resources you can take advantage of online that can provide some simple exercises with effective results. Another option is to run to the park and work out on the jungle gym. The monkey bars are great for pull-ups, the swings can be used for ab exercises, and the stairs can provide a platform for leg raises — all free of charge! Have fun and get creative with it!
- Bike to Work
Another way to save money and get some exercise is to leave the car at home and ride your bicycle to work. You’ll save money on fuel and maintenance costs, and you’ll be doing good for the environment, too! If your commute is too far to reasonably bike, look into public transportation options that are available in your city. You can also find a carpool buddy to cut down on costs while minimizing your carbon footprint.
- Reduce Your Mobile Phone Bill
In today’s day and age, it’s pretty nearly impossible to be completely off the grid and without a phone. Can you leave it at home occasionally? Of course. But if you have children, need to read work emails on-the-go, or find yourself stranded in some sort of emergency situation, you’re going to wish you had a cellphone on you.
The need for a phone is nearly unavoidable, which is unfortunate considering how expensive cell service can be. Thankfully, there are several strategies families can use to cut mobile phone costs such as:
- Minimizing your data used
- Sticking to WiFi whenever possible
- Switching to cheaper insurance
- Selling your device and buying a refurbished model for cheaper
You might be surprised by the quality of these “old” or “used” phones. In most cases, the models are only a couple years old and have been certified by the manufacturer as like-new. You could take hundreds of dollars off your recently released iPhone and apply those profits to your savings account instead.
Budgeting takes discipline, but once you get the habit down, it’ll become second nature. You’ll feel rewarded as you watch the funds in the account grow over time — and it will be oh so satisfying when you can finally afford that big ticket purchase!