Live Within Your Means – Cut The Cost Of Living
The most important thing to do here is to Keep a budget. Start by writing down your incomings. Are you on a set monthly amount or a freelancer whose income varies from month to month? Do your monthly outgoings change regularly or are you fairly sure of where your money is going? Make sure you start with a rough idea of how the land lies – this is key when getting off to a good start with a budget.
Next write down all your household bills. Then any extra outgoings such as gym membership & petrol. Next work out how much you spend on food a week or month. Finally any added extra’s such as holidays, weekends, away, shopping trips, lunches out etc. You may not have an exact amount for everything but by budgeting for them in advance you will know how much you can spend on that new pair of shoes or lunch out that week. Add all the outgoings up and subtract from your income., Naturally you want it to leave you with money left over for emergencies, but if you have toted up everything you plan to spend money on that week or month then as long as it falls within your salary amount then that is a great start! * Living within your means means something different to each individual or family.
Some people find paying with cash helps them keep on top of their money whilst others prefer to have the paper trail of paying by card. However you prefer to pay, make sure you take out only what you need – whether you are food shopping or taking the family to a theme park – and always try and leave with money left over! Look at non-essentials such as magazines, expensive bubble bath, your favourite wine, gadgets, toys, clothes, DVD’s, trips out…even that daily cup of coffee from Costa. Everything adds up in the end so before you buy something new, whether it is for you, a friend or a family member, consider how life changing it will really be! Imagine getting home without that item in your bag and the money still in your bank account and decide whether that is more satisfying that having given in and bought it.
When it comes to fashion and clothing, either for you or the kids, it can be tough not to stray from the budget but second hand shops and vintage stores are popping up everywhere and are stock full of gems including brand new items with the label still on them and even designer goodies! For the children, you could style up a second hand item by going to a haberdashery and buying some sparkly bits to sew on for the girls, or some Ben10 transfers for the boys! It’s so easy to spend money on clothing, but it is also unnecessary.
Look at travel costs and just how much you spend on your petrol. Would it be cheaper to occasionally take the bus or the train? Or how about investing in a secondhand bike from Freecyle.com or Preloved.co.uk. If you have a child then you can fix a child seat or a trailer to the back and you have free transport in an instant! When it comes to work or the school run you could consider a car share where one person drives for a week, or you all chip in for petrol. * In a generation where credit and and debt is rife and money lenders are making a fortune from our economical misfortune, it is important we look inwards and see where we can help ourselves.
Budgeting and cutting back may be a chore to start with, but once your bank account is looking healthier than it has for years and you feel the relief at knowing how your finances stand, then that initial chore will soon be forgotten and will seem well worth the effort.
This article was brought to you by Sadie J. Marshall who wirtes for a number of cost cutting blogs including ones about Free Makeup Samples and other Free Stuff available in the uk.