Budgeting: A Necessary Evil
No matter what your income level is, odds are you will have to budget at least once in your life. Whether you’ve hit a rough patch financially, or you’re saving up for something like a house, budgeting is a vital skill, especially if you want to avoid repossession or bankruptcy.
But, many people who start out budgeting often take unnecessarily drastic steps to save money. This may include cutting out social occasions, trips away, or fun outings. Such an extreme approach can make your budgeting unsustainable and ineffective in the long-term. The best budget is always one that can be sustained.
So, you should always look for the simplest and most efficient way to save money. If possible, it should also affect your leisure time as little as possible. This can help you chip away at your budget until you have enough saved to make the purchase, or pay the bills, needed.
This is why we put together a list of some of the easiest ways you can save money. This can help you be more efficient with your spending and save up.
Simple Ways You Can Save Money
Switch to public transport (or ride sharing)
One of the biggest expenses in a person’s life is their car. Everything from fuel, to insurance, to tax and repairs can eat into your budget. This ends up leaving you with a big bill at the end of every month.
So naturally, the first thing to go should always be your car. This doesn’t mean you need to sell it outright. But, you should look at using public transport to get around.
Buses and trains in most places offer a great way to get to work and travel around for very little. It also allows you to get some work done while you travel for added efficiency.
But, what if your town or city doesn’t have a good public transport system?
Cities like Los Angeles and Oslo are known for having less than ideal public transport.
Luckily, ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft offer a more affordable option for traveling around than driving your own car. This is especially true if you’re willing to carpool too.
So make sure your first step in your budget is to keep your car travels to an absolute minimum.
Trade eating out for eating in
Restaurants and bars are another big drain on your money. No matter what your eating or drinking preferences are, it’s always cheaper to eat in. Ready-made meals and raw ingredients can be purchased at a fraction of the price of the same meals in restaurants.
For those on a particularly tight budget, the raw materials are the cheaper of the two options. The same goes for alcoholic drinks. This is an easy way to save a few hundred dollars from your bills every week.
But, you should keep consistency in mind. Neglecting social occasions with friends or family is a surefire way to make you budgeting less sustainable and harder to maintain. So, cut down your trips out to eat instead of eliminating them completely for better long-term budgeting results.
Swap to pay-as-you-go
Whether it’s your phone plan, electricity bill, or even a gas bill, fixed payment plans can be inefficient if your saving. Pay-as-you-go plans are usually available in all of the above expenses and can help you save a lot. This is because you can only pay for set amounts of the above to use when needed, instead of having a continuous supply of gas, or phone use.
But, switching some of these bills to pay-as-you-go plans can be tough and time-consuming. So, this is only a step you should consider taking if you’re budgeting over a long period or if you’re finding it particularly hard to make ends meet.
Prioritize your bills
Certain bills can cost you money if not paid on time. Meanwhile, some bills can be extended or postponed without penalties. As such, some bills can effectively cost you more money on their own.
Things like credit card bills and overdrafts carry high-interest rates which can really build up over time. So, make sure these bills are always paid on time to avoid a snowball effect with your bills. This way you can keep your budget on track.