Tips and Tricks to Optimize Your Budget
Somehow, budgets just seem to come naturally to some people. They manage to breeze through their expenditures, wanting for nothing other than what they have, yet possessing the ability to purchase anything that they might want.
Others seem to struggle with keeping money in the bank account. There are many college students and recent graduates who struggle with this very issue. As soon as money comes in, it goes out, and then they are stuck struggling to pay the bills, rent, etc.
You may recognize a little of yourself in both of those examples, or you may see none of yourself. Whichever the case is, budgeting is an important skill for you to have. Why? Because it helps you to ensure that you have enough to meet your daily, weekly, and yearly needs, only breaking the budget for when you have a just cause.
However, the above is ideal. For many people, as mentioned previously, attempting to have a balanced budget is a lot like trying to climb Mount Everest in a bathing suit with swimming flippers on. If you have ever struggled with allotting money in an efficient and effective way, keep reading. Listed below are some tips and tricks for budgeting well.
No matter the situation, having extra money that you put in safekeeping is always a good idea. You may ask yourself, "Isn't this the point of a budget though?" Yes, you are correct. However, imagine this situation. You've just broken your spending fast, perhaps overspending just a touch. Then disaster strikes, and you already overspent on your budget. What can you do? This is why this tip is vital.
Ideally, you should have some money that you alone are responsible for. A good rule of thumb is to have enough money for you to survive for a week. If that seems difficult to you, then take it slowly. Build up that amount a little at a time over a period of a year or so. Once you see the amount grow, you can be amazed at how quickly it builds up.
Additionally, if you have credit card debt, you should begin paying it down as soon as you can. In the big picture, even if you have a million dollars saved up, two million dollars in debt still puts you at a loss. If you need some advice or help as to where to begin, you can visit Creditful.com to get started on this step of the guide.
2. Write everything down
One thing that may catch you off-guard in your budget is surprises from the amount that you allot to spending on pleasantries each week. If you decide that you are only going to spend one-hundred dollars on extra things every week then purchase three fifty-dollar luxuries, suddenly you are now over-budget. This is why this tip is important.
The main point here is that, oftentimes, people spend money on purchases that they do not really need. For a week or two, keep track of the amount that you spend on unneeded purchases throughout the week. You are probably going to be surprised at the amount that you actually spend. After you finish that step, look at the purchases that you made.
For example, did you get a premium-priced coffee before you went to work in the morning? If you do that every morning, the amount spent adds up quickly. Instead, look around and see if there are other coffee shops that have a similar quality but at a lower price. You may be surprised at the deals that you can find if you look.
3. Ask yourself if you want a purchase or need it
This ties in heavily to the previous point. If you are really serious about budgeting, write down all of your expenses within a couple of weeks. The following week, take some time to sit down with the list and pick some items to remove.
Be heartless with how much you remove. You can always add later if you decide that a Spartan lifestyle is not for you. But try it for a week. See how much you can live without. The experience should give you a new perspective on how much money you really need in a single week.
And you are well on your way
There you have it, three ways to optimize your budget. As a last tip, although your budget is important, it is not the be-all end-all. Do not let it absolutely consume your waking hours. Keep a healthy balance between spending and saving, because going too far in either direction leads to mistakes. Above all, have fun with it.