When it comes to managing money, staying on budget can sometimes be tricky, especially in a world of online shopping with next-day delivery. But creating habits that will help you stay on track for staying on or under budget.
The first step is figuring out where you are spending most of your money and where you can cut back. My mother always says that eating out and ordering takeout is where most of your money will go if you aren’t sticking to a strict budget. When coming up with your monthly budget, you need to set an amount that you can afford for all expenses. Forming good budgeting habits like these will help you stay on budget.
When you fail to keep tabs on your purchases, it becomes difficult to look at your paycheck and try to figure out why your hard-earned money seemingly disappears. You’re spending that money somewhere on something. But, because you don’t know where it leads to stress. Then, you have to worry about how you can pay for the things you actually need while still paying for stuff you probably no longer have.
You can reduce your stress when you live within your means. The best way to take control of your spending is to create a budget and stick to it. On average, people spend $143 more than the average $197 budgeted a month. Break this habit so you can free up your cash to pay down debt, build an emergency fund, and invest! After you create a budget, be sure to monitor your money. Know how much you can spend in each budget category so that you don’t overspend. When you spend money, deduct it from your budget immediately. It’s easier than ever before to monitor your money.
A clear sign someone is overspending is a home filled with clutter. Clutter is a sign of someone who buys a bunch of stuff they don’t need or things that don’t serve a purpose. Stop for a minute and look around your space. Is it full of knickknacks? What is sitting on a nightstand or bathroom counter that you could live without?
Get rid of excess. Declutter your home and bask in the beauty of a clean space. Then, remember that amazing feeling the next time you are tempted to buy something that will just collect dust and amount to nothing more than clutter.
Replace your online shopping time with a productive hobby. What would you enjoy getting better at? For example, do you enjoy hand lettering? Consider strengthening your hand lettering and calligraphy skills. You may even be able to turn that hobby into a side hustle. What could you enjoy doing on your time off? Entertainment doesn’t have to be expensive.
For instance, purchase a set of used flying discs and play disc golf for free at a local park. Or borrow more books from the library and boost your yearly reading stats. Keep in mind – some hobbies are expensive. Before you invest money in a hobby, make sure it is something you can afford and will actually spend time doing. If you simply buy a bunch of scrapbooking supplies but never do it, it becomes clutter and a waste of money. Likewise, if your hobby causes you to overspend, you need to choose a new hobby.
Eating out is a quick and easy way to overspend. “Quick and easy” are the reasons we pay someone else to cook for us, but it doesn’t mean the food is better. You can cook food that tastes just as good at home for less than what you are paying at restaurants.
According to Forbes, “It is almost five times more expensive to order delivery from a restaurant than it is to cook at home.” Restaurants have to charge more to make a profit. Plus, you are paying for convenience and service. Why overspend when you can cook the same meal at home? Instead, search Google for copycat recipes from your favorite restaurants.
Impulse buying leads to overspending—and clutter. Instead, make a habit of only buying things that make your life better and more fundamental. If what you are considering buying doesn’t serve a clear purpose, just say no. Moreover, if what you are thinking about purchasing will cause more stress, say no. If the item you want requires more time cleaning or leaves you without space on your counters, just say no.
Before you take anything to the register, ask yourself if you can afford it and if it’s in your budget. Then, ask yourself if it has a function that will make your life easier. For example, will it be easier to keep track of your essentials if you purchase a key rack? If so, buy it. Do you already have a system that works to keep track of everyday items? If yes, then, pass on it for now.
The way you do one thing is the way you do everything. Take better care of your health, and you will take better care of your money. It’s that simple. Often, the choices we make to stay healthy also save us money.
What is a baby step you can take today that will contribute to you improving your health? Can you go on a short walk 3 days a week? Can you eat less sugar every day? Can you drink one more glass of water every day? Each of these choices will help you take better care of yourself and your wallet. Choose to exercise instead of spending money couch shopping. Choose to cook a delicious meal instead of buying a sugary, expensive cake. Choose to drink water instead of a pricey latte or frozen coffee. You got this.