Budgeting Your Life: Living Within Your Means

Whether you are trying to save money or have realized that your expenses are starting to exceed your income, deciding to follow a budget can be one of the most financially rewarding things you can do as an adult. Many people believe that it will be impossible for them to save any money because they are living paycheck to paycheck. But often, these same people can be seen eating dinners out three times a week or spending their money in other foolish ways. In order to save money, or at the very least avoid sinking into debt, sacrifices must be made. Here are some tricks and tips to help you keep to a budget and start putting money away.

One of the very best things a person can do to stay on a budget is to start carrying cash rather than using a debit card everywhere. A debit or credit card can make you feel like you have more money than you actually do. If, instead, you take out a certain amount of money at the beginning of the week, and you stop spending when the cash is gone, you no longer run the risk of overspending. Going over the limit with your credit card or debit card can mean expensive fees as well, thus pushing you further over your budget. Carrying cash isn’t the most convenient thing for the modern card carrying world, but it is a helpful trick to keep you on your budget.

Along with your cash, start going to the store with a list made out ahead of time. Make it a point to never deviate from this list. This can help you to avoid the pitfalls of impulse buying, the bane of every individual trying to stay on a budget. It can be very easy to become influenced by advertising and creative labels when surrounded by them in a store. What seemed perfectly easy to do without at home could seem necessary to your very survival when faced with it in the store. Making a list and sticking to it can help you to avoid these moments of consumer weakness.

Look for bargains. Don’t be afraid to try out generic versions of your favorite products. Sometimes they won’t be as good, but sometimes they will. And they are much cheaper, by and large, than the name brand alternative. Search your newspaper and mailbox for coupons and specials and sales happening at your favorite local stores. One caveat: don’t allow sales and coupons to influence you to buy things you would not have otherwise purchased. The objective here is to save money, not spend more of it.

Sticking to a budget can be a difficult, but rewarding task. Set a goal for how much money you would like to save, follow these tips, and see how long it takes you to reach your goal. Chances are, it won’t take nearly as long as you thought. Good luck.

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