Budget Hacks: How to Control Your Spending

Money makes the world go around, so not having any money tends to have the unfortunate effect of bringing your world to a screeching halt. The majority of people don’t keep strict controls on their spending. This can lead them into financial problems because of accidental overspending and not concentrating their finances on priority bills.

If you’re struggling financially, then budgeting properly can be a way to alleviate your financial worries and, in this article, we’ll be offering some tips on how to properly manage your money. 

But don’t worry, budgeting doesn’t mean living in a cave and eating leaves. Good budgeting allows you to potentially find space in your budget for everything you need, from entertainment to home improvements.

Meals

For many people, food is a huge expense that can be cut back on, without reducing the quality of your meals. This can be done through the simple expediency of planning your meals. The biggest drains on your cash reserves when it comes to food are impulse buying, normally motivated by hunger, and fulfilled with take-out food.

The best way to cap these drains on your budget is to plan your meals in advance. Shopping for ingredients is nearly always less expensive than take-out food, not to mention more healthy. Set yourself up a meal planner and plan out all your meals for the week. This will give you a predictable spend that you can manage.  

If you’re unsure about cooking, YouTube is a fantastic resource for free shows, such as Basics with Babish, which offer free cooking instructions and recipes.

Entertainment

Controlling your spending is all about putting limits on the amount of money you are able to spend. That isn’t to say that you should spend no money on anything other than essentials. Relaxation and entertainment are vital parts of your life, so you should indulge in them from time to time. You just have to learn to put caps on their cost.  

Entertainment systems that offer a subscription are easier to budget for, as they are a consistent cost that can be anticipated. If you enjoy online gaming, there are normally ways to cap any potential spend, such as purchasing game passes or discrete amounts of in-game currency that can be redeemed for playtime. 

For example, instead of paying to buy new films or going to the cinema, a subscription to one of the many film streaming services in a much more predictable expense. If you gaming online, you could use systems like Eve Online’s PLEX or PokerStars’ Play Chips to limit the amount you are spending, topping up the amount on a scheduled basis so that you can anticipate how much you are consuming.

Transport

According to the AAA, the average cost of owning a vehicle is $725 per month, when fuel, insurance, and maintenance are factored in. If you’re needing to budget and you’re not using your car to commute, it might be time to assess if you genuinely need your vehicle.

If you are able to walk or cycle to your place of work and don’t need your vehicle for other lifestyle reasons, then selling it can add some much-needed breathing space to your budget.

Get a Savings Buddy

Strict budgeting can be difficult to stick to on your own, which is why it is important to find yourself a savings buddy. As with most tasks in life, having a friend, family member, or community to support you is hugely important. If you don’t know anyone in your community or friendship group, then try joining one of the many money-saving groups online.

Set up an Automated Savings Account

You can’t spend money you don’t have, so setting up a savings account that automatically deducts money from your current account each month is a great way to increase your saving ability. 

Set up your savings account so that it automatically decrements your current account for a manageable amount on the date you normally get paid. That way, the money will be gone and securely in your savings before you get the chance to spend it.

You can also set up direct debits to pay out your major monthly outgoings right away, such as rent and bills. Once everything is paid and you have sent an amount over to your savings account, you know how much you are left with to spend. Budgeting this way allows you both security and freedom. 

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