Worry does not empty tomorrow of its troubles it empties today of its strengths.
Do you find yourself half way through the month and the budget has been blown, the savings depleted and there are still too many days left until payday? Or perhaps despite all the best intentions the monthly savings are much smaller than anticipated?
Life has a way of throwing curve balls at us that incur unanticipated expenses, but even responsible spending can find us short of cash half way through the month.
Crossing all the extras off the budget can be a miserable task, leaving you feeling poor and deprived, but we have to start somewhere.
Keep going back to the budget
Don’t draw up a monthly budget and then file it somewhere after the first draft. Little extras have a way of whittling down the funds and so keep on top of the outgoings and you’ll know when to say no.
Examine the additional expenses
Most of our expenses go on lifestyle options like satellite TV, eating out, treats, insurance, cars, travel, accessories, cellphone and internet services, etc.
Ask yourself if you have the best service provider and rate and then spend some time getting competitive quotes. There is the hassle factor of swapping service providers, but saving a few hundred here and there always makes a difference!
Decide if you really, really need it
Some things we pay for each and every month and don’t really get the value of its use. For example – if you have a gym contract that just makes you feel guilty when the debit order goes off, decide to either use it or lose it.
With all the Eskom Load Shedding going on, are you getting used to not watching TV? Explore a reduced package and read more books, expand your knowledge or spend more quality time with your family instead.
Spend less time shopping
Impulse buying can really do damage to a budget. For groceries work out what you need for the month and just buy that. No buying off the list!
Change your habits
If you are close to the office then consider leaving the gas guzzler in the garage and cycle to work. The same applies to popping down to the shops. If you have to walk or cycle home with shopping bags, there will be less chance of buying off the list.
Instead of supporting paid for activities explore your local area for free or low cost activities. Going on hikes, picnics and other outdoor activities have so much more connecting and memory building value than heading off to a busy mall.
Suggest low cost alternatives to meeting friends at expensive venues. Try starting a dining club with your friends where the host and home venue gets rotated in the group. Catering for a group doesn’t have to be expensive as there are plenty of crowd pleasing recipes available.
Quit the bad (expensive) habits – you know what they are!
Keep this up and your costs will be cut, the savings will increase, you’ll have better relationships with your friends and family, you will be smarter (all that book reading) and you will be feeling like a million bucks.