Let’s get real — juggling finances is HARD. There are so many things that we want to do and spend money on, yet none of us have unlimited funds to pay for it all. Trying to manage house bills, children’s expenses, and still save room for the fun stuff (getting nails done, buying new clothes, et.c) can be tough. Realistically, there are always more things that can be done in order to be better organized and save more money.
First things first, the absolutely most important thing is budgeting.
Think of your expenses in a hierarchy format, where you figure out what you need to spend money on (your phone bill, mortgage, or car insurance) versus what you want to spend money on (getting your nails done, a Netflix subscription, or new clothes). The expenses that are fixed and necessary are of the most importance, while those things we just want to spend money on aren’t as important and fall at the bottom of the expense hierarchy.
Set up some kind of spreadsheet or table for yourself that breaks down what you make monthly and what you spend. This is important because it makes you conscious of what you need and want to spend your money on.
Be realistic with yourself.
And, be as accurate as possible when allocating how much money should go where. This means that if you routinely spend $200 a week on groceries, don’t put down $150 with the idea that you’re going to start magically spending less. Only change your budget when something does change consistently for a period of time.
When you are realistic with a budget, you can truly see laid out where your money is going — how much is spent on household expenses versus personal incidentals. Also don’t ignore your miscellaneous expenses, because those can add up too.
Daily Starbucks coffees, bank transaction fees, and snacks you buy on-the-go should all be calculated into a budget. It’s easy to account for our large purchases such as gas, hydro bills, or your haircuts, but much harder to remember the little miscellaneous things that are often purchased on a whim. By being more mindful of the ways everything is costing you, you can create an honest and accurate budget.
When payday comes, you should always pay yourself first.
This means that before you go off to the mall or do some online shopping, take a portion of what you make and invest it in yourself — and no, buying a pair of shoes is not actually investing in yourself. Instead, you can move your money into a cash savings account, taxable account, invest it, or add it to your pension; really anywhere where you won’t be able to touch it.
You should also automate your finances, because it means that you don’t have to worry or stress each month trying to decide where your savings should go (or be tempted to spend what you should be saving).
Having a goal and working towards it can be very helpful in forcing you to stay focused and on track with saving your money.
Whatever your goal may be, transfer it into financial terms.
Do you want to buy a house? Travel more every year? What about if you want to lunch a business? Most of our goals require some type of financial savings, so depending on how dedicated you are to reaching that goal, it will be easier to save money for it. If going on more vacations is your goal and it requires $5,000 extra per year, figure out how to save that much money and what you are willing to cut back on in order to get there.
Those are the biggest financial hacks to conquer, but then there are a whole other whack of simple things you can do to save as many pennies as possible so that you can have more money to spend it on what you love. These are small hacks that can be used at the supermarket, at home, and in all areas of your spending life.
At the grocery store, buy in bulk and freeze whatever you won’t use.
Buy items that are on sale and plan your meals around those items. I’m a big fan of meal prepping and freezing things so that weekday meals and snacks don’t require last minute grocery store trips or dinner idea creativity. Also, try cooking what you already have in your cupboard. I know that for me, I get used to making the same things when I have full cupboards of items I should be using — try every once in awhile to cook dinner with what you already have.
At home, unplug (when possible) electronics that you’re not using, because even if the actual appliance is turned off, it still uses electricity when it’s plugged in. Also try to only use your washer and dryer during off-peak hours, when the cost is much lower.
At work, make an effort to pack your lunch at home the night before so that you save money on costly lunches. When shopping, always think twice before spending frivolously, and only buy the things that you love.
Being a modern women means managing it all, so I hope this was helpful in making you a better money-saving financial female!!