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Cutting back on your personal spending is a stressful thing to contemplate doing. Even the mere thought of limiting what you spend your money on is enough to cause some people to do exactly the opposite of what they should be doing, enticing them to go on a spending spree instead of saving. However, finding ways to cut back on personal spending without sacrificing too much of your lifestyle is essential to saving money. These five tips will help you figure out your own personal budget and stick to it so that you’re able to save money while still indulging from time to time:
- Make a list of all of your concrete expenses. Your concrete expenses are the bills that you have to pay every month no matter what. They’re things like your rent or house note, water and electricity, etc. Write out a list detailing both your fixed expenses and their costs. Also include things that you have to spend money on, but that don’t have a fixed cost, like groceries and gas.
- Make a list of things that you want to spend money on. Everyone has certain things in their life that are pure indulgences. Maybe it’s going out to eat, maybe it’s going shopping, maybe it’s traveling. Regardless, make a list of things you want to spend money on and prioritize them by level of personal importance.
- Set a budget and stick to it. Once you’ve identified both your fixed costs and the things that you would like to do but aren’t actually necessary, figure out a budget that will allow you to save a certain amount of money each month. Give yourself a predetermined amount of money to spend on things you need each month that don’t have a fixed cost, like gas, groceries, bills, etc. Knowing that you have a certain amount for each will help you be more mindful of how you’re spending your money, causing you to think twice before spending money on frivolous items at the grocery store or volunteering to drive everyone around town.
- Include a set amount of “fun” money in your budget. After you figure out how much you’re willing to spend on your fixed costs and essential costs, give yourself a small amount of money (maybe $50) that you can use at your discretion for things that are pure indulgences. You can use this money to go out to eat once or twice during the month, buy a new item of clothing, or get a latte every Friday on the way to work. Knowing that you have some money to spend on things that you enjoy but aren’t necessarily crucial to your way of life can make sticking to a budget more bearable.
- Keep envelopes with cash in them for each expense. Label your envelopes “grocery money”, “gas money”, “fun money”, etc. and put your predetermined amount for each into their respective envelopes. Having a concrete amount of money to spend makes it easier to stick to a budget than swiping a card each time you go to the store or the gas station, and once you’re out of money you have to wait until the next month to replenish that envelope again.
- Find ways to do things for free. Check local listings for events going on in your town that are free to the general public, get a library membership so you can check out books and movies for free, or host a pot-luck dinner at your house where everyone brings a food item and a game to play. This way you’ll still have plenty of things to do without costing you any extra money.
Cutting back on the amount of money you spend each month in an effort to save more doesn’t have to mean that the life you love will no longer exist; it just means you have to find ways to do things you enjoy doing without spending a ton of money doing them. You can cut back on your personal spending without sacrificing too much – you just have to be committed to doing so!
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