There is no denying the fact that living within your means is the first step towards achieving financial security.
Data shows that a vast majority of Americans do not have sufficient savings not because they make too little, but because they spend a lot on non-essential items.
Controlling your spending is absolutely critical to safeguard your financial future. By following these tips, you can reduce your monthly expenditure to a significant extent.
Make sure you invest the money you save and take concrete steps to achieve financial independence in the long term.
Here are 10 tips that can help you live on a budget:
Tip No. 1
Track your spending. One of the biggest reasons why people end up spending more than they should is that they do not know what they are spending their money on.
Every time you buy something — whether it is a cup of coffee or an new TV — note it down in an Excel sheet (or a notebook if you want to kick it old school). At the end of the month, go through the numbers to get a clear idea of what you are spending your paycheck on.
Tip No. 2
Buy your groceries online and make sure you have a list with you when you do. Every time you add a product to your shopping cart, take a look at the total amount and make sure it does not exceed your grocery budget which is even more important to do now since energy and food costs are all rising because of new policies.
Tip No. 3
Adopt the 24-hour rule for buying things. Whenever you want to buy something, wait for 24 hours and let the idea marinate in your head. After 24 hours, if you still think that you need it, go ahead and buy it. It is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to avoid impulse purchases.
Tip No. 4
Make a meal plan at the start of every week and stick to it. By choosing to cook your own meals, you can save hundreds of dollars every month. If you find it difficult to cook every day, you can cook during the weekend and make freezer-friendly meals for the whole week.
Tip No. 5
Make your own coffee. Do not give your hard-earned money to Starbucks or any other establishment that sells overpriced coffee.
Tip No. 6
Say no to soda and other sugary drinks and drink plenty of water instead. Not only can you save money, but you can also significantly reduce the risk of diabetes, obesity, and a number of other health problems.
Tip No. 7
Cut the cable. Streaming services are better and cheaper. Watch out that you don’t simple replicated your cable bill by streaming from too many services. If you add one, cancel another.
Tip No. 8
Cancel your gym membership. You can subscribe to a fitness channel on YouTube and follow an at-home workout routine to stay in shape. If you are passionate about weightlifting, you can buy some used workout equipment and get ripped at home.
Tip No. 9
Scan the Sunday paper and the internet for coupons and discount codes and use them for all your online purchases.
Tip No. 10
Pay all your bills as soon as you get your paycheck so that you can avoid late fees and other unnecessary charges. Most importantly, pay your credit card bill in full. There is absolutely no reason to pay a 15% markup on the items you buy, much less repeat that markup for months on end.