How fun is it not having any expenses, where you do not have to worry about budgeting? Being a kid was fun. Now growing up, one thing you need to learn about is budgeting. With owning a house, having car payments, buying food and drinks and purchasing whatever else you may need it all takes money, especially when planning the most epic trip to NYC. When you decide that you want to visit New York City, you are going to want to budget for that trip because there are so many things to do and see there. You can learn about the top things to do in NYC here for when you have saved enough liquidity to go! Make sure you always look at the bigger picture; and if the bigger picture is saving up enough cash to go to New York City at the end of the month than be frugal with your spending. If you do not have a budget, you might find yourself in a predicament and you might not be able to afford your house payment that month because you spent all your money buying new clothes. This is an example of how important it is to budget and make sure you have your responsibilities in line first before you go out buying unnecessary materials.
Now for those of you who don’t know what budgeting is, it’s figuring out what all your expenses are and saving enough money to cover those expenses each month. It’s another term for taking care of your responsibilities. Now the best way in my books to budget is to write down on a list, what all your main expenses are. For example: house payments, car payments, student loan payments, food and water payments, your heat and water bills and any other big payments that you know you will need to pay each month. Now what I recommend you to do is to take 50% of what you bring home each month and save that for your bills. Remember things could break down when you least expect it- like your vehicle and you will need extra money to cover the repairs. So it’s important to not spend every last penny you have just incase something like that happens. Remember things change, and so can your budget. Maybe you paid off your car- therefore you do not have to allocate money for your payments anymore. You can now use that extra money for spending money if you have covered all your other expenses.
If you are someone who likes to spend money on things that you don’t particularly need, then identifying those areas will help you stick to a better budget. Make sure you don’t emotionally spend. Meaning- if you are not having the best of day, you go out and buy yourself a bunch of clothes or a vacation that you can’t afford. If you are in this state of mind, it’s important to stay home and re-evaluate the problem and handle it another way other than spending money that you don’t have.
The more your focus on budgeting and the more alert you are with your spending the better your outcome will be. At the end of the year you might just be able to afford that new car or house that you have been saving up for- or maybe at the end of the year you might realize that you have to get a second job in the New Year to pay off all your bills. It can go either way and trust me- spending money is a lot easier than making and saving money. So think smart before you go and buy something that you don’t need at this time.
One tip of advice that not too many people are aware of is that you can ask for payment plans. If you know you are going to be behind on a bill or numerous bills, just contact your provider. They might be able to work out a solution and a better plan for you so that you can pay your bills on time each month. Trying to catch up to your bills might take time and steer you away from your other dreams and goals, but it’s important that you get everything paid up first before you invest more.
Whenever an opportunity arises, take full advantage of it. If you have the opportunity to advance in your career, my advice would be to do so. If you have large material items that you do not use anymore, than use this opportunity to sell those items and make money that way. Don’t be afraid to ask your boss for a raise. Depending on the situation of course, but if you have been working for a low hourly rate and that time seems like forever- maybe taking your boss aside and asking him if it’s possible to increase your salary, that might work out great in your favor. The worst thing that could happen is they say no. At least you know you tried. You could even look at getting a side job to help pay for those extra expenses. You do not have to keep it forever, but until you get a head of the game, it might pay off to do so.
In times of need, it pays to be frugal. Limit your expenses to the best of your abilities. Create that dream strategy plan to help you stick to the end picture. If that means spending less at the grocery store, but still managing to eat healthy than maybe being a little frugal in that area would help allocate extra money. If you are someone who gets other people in to do work for you like house cleaning, making meals, painting your house, than I would advise you to learn how to DIY (do it yourself.) There are many videos and tutorials on how to paint properly and how to do just about anything. All you have to do is spend some time searching YouTube or Pinterest or even Google and find the best video and there you go… you have basically taught yourself how to do something that you were previously paying someone else to do. Don’t forget, knowing these tips will be good for the future. They will not only save you money right now but down the road too. You could even turn it into a side job if you get good at it. There are many things to think about and take into consideration when trying to save some extra money.
There are SO many different apps that can help you out with keeping track of all your expenses and they work great. I would recommend ‘Mint” it has helped me out and alerts you when you are getting close to exceeding your budget for that month. Mint is a neat app because you put your budget in each month for different categories. So for example, you will have a bills section, food section, extras section and so on and you will allocate how much money you want to spend each month in those categories. So if you happen to spend close to your budget in one of the categories- your phone will send you a notification to let you know that your budget is almost done. You can go in and change your budget at anytime, but this app keeps track of everything you spend each month. It is really good to look at and keep track of how much you are spending on what. If you do not want to use and app you can create your own spreadsheet in excel or whichever method you choose to do so.
After you have tracked your monthly expenses it’s important to be disciplined and stay on track. If you notice that you are getting close to your budget for that month, than it’s important to stick to that budget you make. Going over is easy, but it will take you that much longer to save up for your trip to New York City. Always think the bigger picture, not what is happening at the time. Going out for lobster may sound fantastic at the time but when you are calculating your expenses up you will see just how much that dinner might have set you back. By all means do what you can afford. If going for lobster dinner means alot to you than do it. You should just budget where you need to budget, and track your progress.
At the end of the day it’s important to pay yourself. That way you are being rewarded and you can see physical money grow in your bank account. You might get discouraged when you see your paycheck disappearing for all your bills and expenses, so give yourself a little and remember a little bit here and there will be a lot someday.
Another tip you can follow is whatever money you have left over each month but into investments. If you are living on a strict paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle than that might not be the best bet because investing can be risky. However if you have money left over and you want it to potentially grow, than sitting down with your accountant could pay off. There are many ways to make some quick money investing and speaking to them about stocks that you are passionate about might make you a bit of money. No how much you will invest in and remember that you should only invest as much as you can afford to lose. What I recommend is investing in the big companies like “Apple, Google, FedEx and big banks.” They are usually a safe investment. They might fluctuate, but they usually recover every time. With investments it’s important to think long term unless you are a day trader and investing is how you make most of your money. Investments are for the long run most of the time. It’s good to keep money in there for retirement. Depending on how old you are, you might not be thinking about retirement right now but it’s important to start saving when you are young. Yes you do get a government aid when you reach a certain age, but it’s not enough to live a comfortable lifestyle. You might get a pension depending on what your career is and if you are entitled to it but you might not either. These are all important factors to take into consideration when planning your life and spending money on unnecessary things.
I know there was a lot of information to digest in this post, so I will sum it up for an easier read, and I would suggest writing down these tips to implement in your lifestyle for better budgeting in the future.
- Always look at the bigger picture, like your upcoming trip to New York City or owning a new house.
- Figure out how much you are making each month down to the last penny.
- Figure out all your big expenses that you have each month
- Create a plan to cover your expenses each month.
- Download an app to insert all this data in to keep track of your spending and when you are getting close to exceeding your monthly budget.
- Pay yourself each month to see that money grow.
- Stick to your budget.
- Talk to your account about creating an investment portfolio for the future.
- Make sure you are making the most money that you can or look for a second gig to do to bring in extra money.
- Live your life responsibly, and be comfortable in your future!
Remember that if you want kids in the future, they are costly. That’s why I can’t stress enough to look at the end picture. Whatever dreams you have will cost money so by focusing now you won’t have to focus as hard down the road.