How to

How to Live Your Life on a Budget

Setting aside a portion of your wages and living within your means can help you survive those times when the economy has a downturn, or you decide to transition from one job to another. Here are some budgeting tips on ways to cut back expenses and still have enough money to enjoy your life:

Organize Your Bank Accounts

The idea of organizing your bank account is to separate the money meant for your bills, savings, and the money meant for spending. This gives you some sort of comfort knowing that you always have enough money to pay your bills, how much is reasonable to spend, and how much you can save for emergencies, investments, or any other budget breaks that come up at random.

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Set Goals for Saving

Let’s face it, and sometimes it is hard to save money, so you should consider creating savings goals that will allow you to visualize a target where you would like to direct your money. These savings can be used to start a business, fund a down payment for a house, or act as a retirement account for the future. Setting a savings goal and target will allow you to understand how much you need to save each month from reaching short and long-term financial goals.

Pay Yourself First

Before you pay any of your expenses, it’s a good idea to pay yourself first by taking a specific amount of money out of your wages and applying it towards a savings account. This amount can be as little as $25 or as much as $500. It’s up to you to determine a strategy that will allow you to build up a long-term savings account.

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Turn Down Your Thermostat

Moving the thermostat on your water heater down by a few degrees can help you save on the amount you pay for utilities. You may also want to invest in energy-saving components such as a tankless water heater. This type of appliance can help you save even more money on your energy bill.

Create an Emergency Fund

Stashing away a few dollars each month is a great way to build up an emergency savings account to help prepare you in case of unexpected life expenses. Without an established emergency fund, an unexpected trip to the hospital or critical car repair can be detrimental to your finances. A savings account will help prepare you for such expenses. However, if you find yourself in an unexpected financial pinch before your savings are established, you might want to find out if you are eligible to get a line of credit online. You can learn more about the pros and cons of these loans by researching it, as well as your other options. This should always be considered a short-term alternative option, and only if you don’t have the savings on hand to cover the unexpected expense.

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Take Advantage of Discounts

If you’re paying for a premium service, check to see if there are ways to get a discount. Simply speak to the company and ask if there are any discounts available. It never hurts to try, and it can go a long way.

Utilize Coupons

When you’re out shopping at retail stores, consider using coupons, and with the money that you save post check out, you can put it into your savings.

Also, take some time to create a coupon binder with dividers so you can separate printed coupons by each store category, so you’re ready to go when you’re going on a shopping trip, it makes things easier and can help you turn it into a habit.

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Cook Your Own Meals

Going to the grocery store and shopping wisely will allow you to cook your own meals. You can save a great deal of cash by choosing this option and avoid eating out. Planning your meals for the week or month will allow you to have a grocery list you can use when you go to the store. Purchasing the items on your list will help you avoid buying unneeded items so that you can tuck that extra money away into your savings account.

Make Your Own Coffee and Lunch

Sometimes we may not have the time or energy to make food at home, but if you’ve gotten into the habit of spending five dollars on a daily mocha or a meal, you may want to change that habit and make your coffee and lunch at home. Buying a bag of beans from your local grocery and brewing your own coffee should save you a great deal of cash in the future. This same strategy can be used for your lunch if you eat out consistently. Not only will packing a lunch that you create yourself help you stow the savings away for the future, but it will also be a positive, healthy change to your diet and when doing so, you’ll notice that you’re saving more money than usual which can be put into your savings.

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Cut Your Cable

Cable TV subscriptions can take a large chunk out of your wages. If you or your family does not watch TV regularly, consider cutting this subscription, it could potentially save you over $1000 a year. There are affordable streaming services such as Netflix or Hulu that only cost around $10-$20 a month if you would still like some type of access to entertainment.

Track Your Expenses

Tracking your expenses throughout your budget can help you see where your money is going. It will let you know if your plan is working or not, and if no is the case, you can tweak your budget or cut down more costs so you can make sure you’re on the right track. Tracking is simply a tool you should use every now and then to make sure your budget will continue to work for you and your family.

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Utilizing any of these methods will help you save money for the future. You’ll be prepared and won’t have to worry about feeling stressed when times get challenging.

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