Whether you are trying to save up for a family vacation, planning a move or have a big event such as your wedding or a christening coming up this year, chances are you are looking for ways to scrimp and save as much as possible. However, it isn’t always easy to draw up a household budget, let alone manage to stick to it! The thought of drawing up a budget or beginning a family excel spreadsheet can be overwhelming, especially if you have no idea where to start. So, if you want to learn how to manage your money more positively, or are determined to save for your annual projects, then get prepared to put the work in!
First and foremost, begin by writing down your entire monthly outgoings and be sure to write them down on paper, or on the computer if you prefer. It’s important you are honest at this stage; do you spend a small fortune on Starbucks coffees on the way to work, when you could make your own drink at home? Or perhaps you spend more than you realize on your weekly shop? Once you’ve established exactly how much you spend, you can begin to work out just how much money you have left to play with or save. Be sure to allow yourself some luxuries each month, and don’t forget to put a buffer in place – just in case of an economic emergency.
Staying in is the new going out
Do you normally spend hundreds of dollars on nights out with friends, eating out with your family or even date nights at the cinema? Well, if you want to start saving towards your long-term goals then its time to start changing up how you have fun. The best type of fun begins at home! If you are a true movie buff, then why not consider investing in a Netflix subscription and prepare your own popcorn and nachos at home? If the idea of a home cinema doesn’t entirely convince your kids, then why not give your living room a makeover? You could hire a projector and ask your friends and relatives round to fill up the room and make your own toffee apples or interval refreshments for everyone to enjoy.
If you love entertaining but find it hard to pick up the bar or restaurant bill, then its time to bring the fun to you! Start by asking your friends over, and ask each invitee to prepare their own course, whether it’s it starters, cocktails or even dessert. You could even host a themed evening for your potluck party and experiment with some delicious new recipes. If you aren’t that much of a foodie, then just limit the evening to cocktails and canapés. Stock up on liter bottles of sodas and spirits and enjoy experimenting in the kitchen. Sure, you have to make the initial investment in the food and drink for your fun evenings, but don’t worry. You are sure to reap the rewards of staying in when you check your credit card bill at the end of the month.
Plus, your kids are sure to enjoy your new approach to food and meals too. Make sure that you get them involved in your new budget meal planning, and welcome them into the kitchen to experiment with new recipes. It is also a great way to get your kids more interested in fruits and vegetables.
Another sure-fire way to save some serious dollar is by bringing your own lunch to work. Sure, you might already do this for your kids and truly hate preparing their snacks, but who said that the same rules apply to adults too? Wrong! There’s no reason why you have to prepare boring or plain lunches to take to work, especially if you are trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle. If you usually spend ten or twenty dollars a day on buying lunch out, then its time to make a change for the better. Begin, by bringing your packed lunch to the office and start spending more downtime with your colleagues rather than the local food court.
The same hack applies for your morning coffee or donut. If you add up just how much you spend at Starbucks or Dunking Donuts, then you are sure to be shocked with your outgoings. Buying in donuts or a muffin from Costco, and preparing your coffee at home will save you a small fortune on your morning treat.
Reign in your utility bills
Is your house permanently cold and unwelcoming in the colder months, even if you spend an absolute fortune on your utility bills? Several lifestyle hacks will not only make your house or apartment feel more welcoming and homely; they will also see you make a saving on your heating and lighting also. Begin by checking your doors and windows for any corners that are letting your heat leak out, and try using a doorstop or curtains to keep the heat inside. Investing in some cozy throws and blankets, or a few candles will mean you can keep the lighting low and wrap up warm on the couch without having to have the heating on such a high setting either.
You can also save on home energy by making sure that your appliances are working correctly. A faulty or old washer dryer could be costing you a small fortune, making it cheaper to invest in a new appliance. Check your appliances every few months to make sure that they are in full working order and not causing you unnecessary expenditure.
If you are trying to save, or are looking to pay off your existing debts, then now’s the ideal time to make a change for the better. Bring your nights out to you, and host your friend and family for meals and fun themed evenings at home. Make your own meals to enjoy in the office and cut back on your daily coffee treat. Finally, check just how efficient your home is, by making sure that your home is heated and your appliances are still in full working order.