Budgeting can be quite hard for anyone at any age. Money is something that is very essential to everyone and it is terrifying how easy it is to spend it. When I first got a job at 16, I used to run my bank account dry every payday, however, as I got older I realised how important it is to save money and how unessential all the things I was buying were. Thus, I decided that I would begin budgeting to save money and it really has worked so here are the ways that I learned to budget.
Don’t impulse buy!
The thing with impulse buying is that at the time, it seems like a good idea to buy it. However, further down the line, the ‘I wish I saved my money’ thoughts start. What could have that money been spent on instead? There are many ways to stop impulse buying, the first being opening a savings account, so whenever you feel like buying something and that little voice in the back of your head is telling you no, transfer the money to the savings account. This way you may be less enticed to spend the money if you know you do not have it. The second way is to add the thing(s) to your basket and then exit the website/app for a few hours. When you come back to it later, you may not feel like you want the items anymore as the impulsive feeling has gone. Another way is to get a hobby!! Are you really shopping because you want to or because you are bored?
Mentally set a spending limit that you will not go under. For example, say you just got paid, you have £1,000 in your bank account and you want to do some Christmas shopping. Set a limit that you will not go under £500, then you have some money left for emergencies. As simple as this seems, it is more about the sense of achievement you get after you manage to do this; the belief that you can save your money. By doing this you are evaluating whether you really need to buy something, or you can wait. The way I do this is every time I reach a milestone with money, so every thousand or 500 I get to, I set that as my limit. For some reason I think to myself, “You’ll have more money in your bank account next time you get paid, so even though you are spending, your bank account will always go up at payday.”
Document what you spend
This is so you can keep track of what you have spent and easier to make sure you have spent an adequate amount. Online banking has made this easier to do as you can check what comes in and out, as well as what is pending. Sometimes, people can get carried away with how much they spend not and realise who much money they have actually spent, leading to a ‘big’ surprise when they check their bank account later. Even if you are taking notes on your phone’s memos as you are shopping, it will help with the previous point raised, if you document what you spend then you can make sure you are not breaching your spending limit.
Make a list of what you are going to buy
Quite similar to the last point in some respects but planning what you are going to spend before you actually start buying can help quite a lot. I found that making a list of the things prevents me from spending more money as I am focused on solely finding and buying the listed items. Look at prices online, for example, say you are food shopping, have a look at the products online, take note of their prices and add up the total you are going to spend. Is there anything that is too expensive? Is it something you can go without or is there a cheaper option? This brings us to my next point.
Drop the ego
Yes, it may be cool and trendy to wear high-end branded clothes, use expensive beauty products or buy food from high-end stores. However, your wallet is saying something else. Why spend more than you need to? There are plenty of cheaper options out there that will not make a difference. Try shopping at local stores like the local corner shop for food, or small business on the High Street. Vintage shopping has become a very popular thing over the past couple of years and so it should be, there are some really fashionable pieces that can be found in vintage shops. If you prefer shopping online, try websites like Not On The High Street that is a site where smaller businesses can sell their products.
The annoying email pop-up. You click to go on a website or app and what is the first thing you see, “Sign up to join our newsletter today.” As irritating as those can be, signing yourself up for discounts means you will receive emails with discount codes or notifying you when somewhere as sales or offers. This really helped when I started my Christmas shopping, I made lists of everything I wanted to buy everyone and then checked my emails to see if there were any discounts for the stores I was going to shop at. Even if it is the smallest discount, like 5% off, it is still saving money and when you want to have a cheeky ‘treat yourself’ purchase, you will be thanking yourself.
Also, as American and archaic as this is, paper coupons are equally as useful. If you see a free catalogue in store, pick it up, it may have deals and coupons you can use. Some companies send coupons and deals through the post if you sign up online and they are even less hassle than emails. Paper or electronic, the effectiveness of both is equivalent. I find it so handy keeping coupons in my purse, in a pocket next to my bank card so when I come to pay I can check if I can use any.
Stop leaving things lying around
We all do it. You order something and it either doesn’t fit or it looks different in person. However, the biggest issue is having the effort to print off the return address, repackaging it and walking to the post office. As much as you really don’t want to, you are losing money for every delivery or shop you do this with. By not sending it back, you are not getting the refund. Yes, it might be a top from an online sale worth £5, it is still money that could have been saved and put towards future use. I know it sounds stupid and I sound like a nagging mother, but think about your future. You will need money to move away, to rent or buy a house or to put towards paying back your loans. So send that top back!
For anyone with their own car, pet or house and looking for insurance, look at comparison websites. If you take the easy route and stick with the insurance company your parents set you up with because you have no effort to change, then you could be spending more money than you should. Check the websites and see if there is a cheaper option. If it’s too much of an adult thing to do (sometimes it scares me), get a family member or close friend to do it with you, then you have someone to help you decide and talk you through things you do not understand. Just think, you could be saving yourself hundreds of pounds.
There you go, there are some of the best ways on how I save my money, I hope that they help you as much as they have me.