Easing your spending isn’t an easy task, especially if you’re used to burning through cash whenever it enters your hands. Whether it’s because you love purchasing collectables or because you have a lot of bills to pay, we often run out of money incredibly quickly and it’s mostly due to the way many of us approach our finances.
Financial security is, sadly, not on everyone’s minds. Too many people live in the present and neglect to save for the past, hence why many people are so terrible at managing their money. However, everyone’s guilty of having bad financial management at some point and it’s not all down to our fault. Maybe you recently had to pay a hefty fine for something you regret, or perhaps repairing your vehicle was more expensive than you expected. If you feel like you could make a change in 2018 by adopting some frugal living resolutions, then here are a few to get you started.
Never Pay Full Price
Tired of paying ludicrous amounts of money for the latest technologies or for food that used to be affordable in the supermarket? Don’t worry–no one likes to pay the full price! Whether you’re just buying a bit of furniture in your home or shopping for groceries, vow to yourself to never pay the full retail price and always wait for a sale. Unless you absolutely need something on the first day that it releases or if you have no other choice but to pay an increased price for something you need, be patient and wait for a deal or a sale.
- Always buy refurbished or second-hand if possible. It costs a lot of money to buy a brand new smartphone, laptop, tablet or generally any kind of electronic device. Unless you absolutely need to buy it when it’s fresh and new, wait for sales and wait for it to appear on refurbished sites or auction websites so you can pick up a fantastic deal for a low, low price.
- Look for deals whenever possible. Whether it’s using coupons given to you through email or looking at websites with the subject “Target Coupon: Up to 40% Off Home + Extra 15% Off Furniture & Rugs”, it’s important to look for deals whenever you can. As seen in this link, saving up to 40% off on something like home furniture (which already costs quite a lot of money) can be considered massive savings that you absolutely have to take advantage of if you want to be frugal with your money in 2018.
- Buy in bulk, never single. It’s a simple tip but it has to be repeated, especially for people who are used to buying single items all the time. Make sure you buy in bulk whenever possible because it’s going to save you a tremendous amount of money when it comes to toiletries and grocery essentials.
- Brandless is best. Don’t be afraid of brandless items. Stop chasing trends and buying what you friends do next year by giving brandless items a try. Whether it’s basic shirts or supermarket-brand cereal, try them out and you might find you can save a huge sum of money.
If you vow to never pay full price in 2018, you’ll find that there are plenty of ways to save huge chunks of money on virtually every purchase that you make, whether it’s something expensive or if it’s a daily necessity.
Learn to Budget
As boring as it might sound, it’s incredibly important to learn how to budget. Learning how to handle your money is one of the most basic financial security skills to learn because it helps you decide how much money you can actually spend in your life. Here are a couple of steps to help you budget for your life:
- Calculate your income. Calculate how much money you make on a per week or month basis, whatever’s easier for you to work with. Count up the money you make after paying taxes, consider all the money you make on the side and don’t forget a single penny of your income.
- Identify your necessary expenses. Count up all of your necessary expenditures. For instance, count up the cost of your weekly shopping trip and make sure you count in the average cost of your bills. Remember to include your rent as well and other expenses life insurance payments or your retirement fund.
- Count up the costs of your luxuries. Now you should count up the cost of your luxuries. For instance, look at things such as your monthly subscriptions to services or how much you spend going out with your friends each week. It’s important to have a budget for entertainment, but it should never take up too much of your weekly or monthly budget.
- Compromise where you see fit. Now you can make decisions to cut down your spending. Take a look at the cost of your luxuries and decide which of them you can do without. For example, maybe you could skip out on going to the cinema each week and instead spend that money on a video-on-demand service. Maybe you could switch your phone plan because you don’t use it much, or perhaps you could just cut a magazine subscription to something you no longer have an interest in.
- Use applications to help you manage it. If you’re having trouble keeping track of all the numbers, then you may want to consider an application to make things easier. You could use a smartphone app to help you keep track of your expenses, or you can use a computer budgeting tool. There are plenty that can be accessed online in the cloud and you don’t need to pay for them unless they have premium features that you want to access.
Learning to budget is simple and it can be a surprisingly fun way to manage your money because it reveals all of the flaws in the way you spend. It’s easy to control your spending once you get a visual representation of it, so give it some effort and use budgeting to your advantage.