Budgeting and making financial literacy a priority doesn’t have to be an automatic stress inducer. While it’s true that many people find it challenging to commit to monthly budget planning, the reality is that there are so many smaller, low-stakes life changes you can make to help you save money on your monthly budget. Here are a few tips to ensure that you’re making smart financial decisions and planning in the best way for your future.
Create Your Budget Planning Process
When it comes time for payday, it’s important to make sure you have planned out exactly what you’re going to do with that money before that cash influx hits your bank account. When creating your monthly budget planner, make sure you consider the following.
- Track your spending: Take a look at all of your bills, credit card statements, and debit transactions from the previous month and get a detailed picture of your spending habits. This way you can make sure when budget planning to expect an accurate depiction of what you spend and where you might need to cut back.
- Create your budget: There are tons of tools available out there for you to create your budget. Whether it be through budget management software, phone apps, excel, or a regular old pen and paper. Once you’ve found a tool that works well for you, make sure you’re doing this budget planning on a monthly basis.
- Don’t be scared of cash: One of the best tips we can provide is to consider using cash for day-to-day spending. This will allow you to view in real-time how much of your day-to-day money you’ve spent, and how much of what you’ve budgeted remains.
- Include Long-term goals: When evaluating your overall budget, make sure you’re leaving some room to include long-term goals in the planning process. Saving money shouldn’t just be for some amorphous idea, but should include tangible things you want to do or objects you want to buy that are built into your budget planning. This will give you something to work towards and act as a monthly reminder of why you’re budgeting in the first place.
Practice Positive Spending Behaviors
While budgeting is definitely an essential part of saving money, another highly crucial aspect is to ensure that you’re working towards a healthy relationship with money and that you’re in the right mindset when it comes to spending habits. Consider the following tips to help you reframe your ideas around money and finances.
- Avoid Comparison with others: While it can be hard to resist the pressure to compare yourself with others around you when it comes to personal items or spending, the reality is that you should be investing your money for personal reasons rather than pressure. Let your budget help guide your spending habits and do your best to stay away from the “well everyone else has one” line of thinking.
- Stay Away from Impulse Buys: If you are suddenly interested in making a purchase, give yourself some time before buying. Giving yourself a cooling period of a day or two will help you decide whether or not this is a thing you really want or need, or whether or not it’s an unnecessary impulse purchase.
- Refrain from Emotional Spending: We often use purchasing items as a way to either reward ourselves or as an activity to help us feel better when we’re upset. The problem with these types of habits, however, is that we are conditioning ourselves to associate different emotions with purchasing power, a practice that can easily lead to unnecessary and over-spending.
Be a Conscious Shopper
Another amazing way to ensure that you’re doing your best to save money is to integrate some saving practices into your shopping habits. The following are a few examples to ensure that you’re not spending unnecessarily.
- Find the Best Price: When you’re buying something, it’s always a good idea to consider a few options before you make your purchase. The reality is that the first item you see isn’t always the best option, so make sure you’re considering what is available and are making the best choice for both quality and price.
- Shop Secondhand: From thrift stores to online marketplaces, there are so many amazing options when it comes to secondhand buying. Not only is this option more affordable, but it’s also more sustainable for the planet.
- Buy in Bulk: If you’re purchasing everyday household items and your eye catches some amazing deals, don’t be afraid to buy in bulk. You’ll save money in the long run, and you’ll always have necessary items onhand in case you run out!
Saving money might seem like a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be! With a proper monthly budget planner, the right mindset, and some smart shopping decisions, you’ll be sure to hit some of your dream financial goals in no time.