The cost of living is constantly rising, with people struggling to make ends meet, and finding it hard to get the money to keep living the way they are used to. With the current financial climate meaning that people are having their budgets cut at one end, while costs are more expensive at the other, taking control of your day to day living expenses has never been so vital. Managing your money so that you always stay within budget is extremely difficult, but if you are prepared to give it a go then you might find that you can live a reasonable life without having to go into the red.
1. Assess Spending Habits
The first thing that you need to do is to make an assessment of your spending habits. People are far too casual about how they spend money, particularly when it comes to change. If you want to live within your means, then you will need to account for every part of your income, right down to the last penny. Most people are reluctant to take such a rough grip on their finances, but if you want to make sure that you can live well on less, then you need to act now.
Write down your total income, after taxes, and then deduct the essentials, such as mortgage payments, loan repayments or utility bills. You should still have a sum of money left over after this is all taken away, and this is the money that you have available to spend on your day to day living expenses. This includes your grocery bill and any other ‘luxuries’ that you have to have in order to feel completely happy. If you get a monthly wage, then you will need to divide the sum left over 4, in order to give you a total amount which is the amount of money you will have to spend each week.
2. Take Note of Your Spending
Next, take stock of your spending. It is all too easy to go into a store every day, and come out with three or four more things than you wanted. Sometimes you even forget to buy the essential item, and have to go back in. Cut this cycle by making a clear list of everything that you want, including sweets and crisps, and then only spend money on those items. Don’t impulse buy, and certainly don’t go in for bulk purchases which will weigh heavily on your wallet.
Organize your meals so that you are not using up too many different ingredients. Something which has been used in one dish can be used in a different one later on in the week. You should also try and halve the amount of meat and dairy products you are using each day, and perhaps have some days in the week where you go vegetarian. If you can’t manage this, then cook a whole chicken at the weekend, and use it for roasts on Sunday, and then carve the rest of the bird up during the week. The carcass can then be used to make stock for soups. Just one small chicken can last the whole week, with a few simple recipes that can make the difference.
3. Cut Back On Non-Essential Expenses
Cut back on your social costs. Going – out regularly during the month can quickly eat into your budget, and if you want to manage your day-to-day living expenses, then the more money you have to spend, the better. Cut back on the amount of nights out you have in a month, and instead do something indoors. A romantic, candle-light dinner cooked by a loving spouse can be more of a thrill than any posh restaurant or nightclub.
Look at low-cost stores. Most people still feel reluctant to make purchases at cut-price stores, but you could end up saving yourself a fortune. You don’t even need to do the major shop there, and can instead choose to buy only utility items such as sponges, soaps and washing powder. Buying these cheaply can save you a great deal of money, and you will soon find that there is very little difference between brand products and low-price goods.
You should also check out other forms of thrift store, particularly those which offer discounts on named goods. Often these products have been over-produced for a sale, and then not sold, and so the thrift store can buy them up cheaply and sell at a discount. This will help you to get the goods you need without spending too much.