Being budget conscious is an excellent way to save money. It’s about deciding what you want to spend your money on and where you can save.
For me, saving money means not going out as much but doing things at home with my family or friends. Being budget conscious doesn’t mean living like a hermit, though!
You can still have fun in other ways, like hiking or biking outside, reading books and playing board games with family instead of going out whenever possible.
Who is a budget-conscious person?
A budget-conscious people are smart with their money and frugal, but not cheap.
Budget-conscious people are practical and realistic. They consider their needs, wants and financial obligations when deciding how much to spend on an item or expense.
Prioritise spending (what matters most) to avoid overspending and still get what they need or want to feel satisfied with what they have spent on other items or services.
Here are tips to stay budget-conscious.
When buying food, it’s often tempting to spend more than necessary.
Shopping in bulk is a method for cutting down on grocery expenses, especially if you have a family or when prioritising eating nutritious meals. You can buy large quantities of meat and vegetables, which will last longer because they will go smoothly.
Meal planning is also another way that can help with your budget.
If you have dinner planned out for each day of the week, then this means that there is no need for any impulse purchases or impromptu trips to restaurants which would otherwise drain your wallet fast!
Cooking your meals at home involves preparing and making food from scratch than purchasing pre-made meals from stores.
You can shop online at great deals and discount chains if you’re looking for clothing and other apparel.
Another way to save is by sewing your clothes.
Don’t hesitate to consider purchasing pre-owned items. Craigslist or eBay are platforms where you can find a range of products. Opting for used items can also contribute to lowering your carbon footprint.
Buy clothing when it isn’t in season. For example, try shopping in the autumn and winter if you’re looking for new summer shirts. You can discover bargains on products that are no longer in high demand allowing you to conveniently replenish your wardrobe with all your preferred styles in one go!
Choose free activities like hiking, biking, walking outside, playing board games or reading books to save on entertainment.
Use the internet to find free events in your area and go there with friends rather than paying for expensive vacations.
Save on your utility bills by turning off the lights when you leave a room. Unplug non-essential appliances when not in use and turn down the heat while sleeping.
You can also bundle services with one company instead of splitting them up between different companies to get better deals on internet, TV and phone plans.
Create an electricity budget. Use a smart meter to monitor your usage, ensuring you don’t surpass your predetermined limit.
5) General Shopping
Make sure to utilise and benefit from store coupons. Also, keep a lookout for any sales. You can find these shop coupons in sources such as newspapers, magazines or even online brochures.
You can get the coupons at the checkout counter of your favourite stores. Check out the store’s website or app if unsure of what’s on sale that week.
Make sure to purchase what you actually require. This is a point that we cannot emphasise enough. Buying things on sale is tempting, but waiting until you need something is better. We know this is hard! We’ve all been there. We see something on sale or beautiful and think, “I want that!” When you hold off for days or weeks, the desire to buy may diminish, and you recognise that whatever you’re longing for isn’t necessary.
Cut out impulse buys. This can be hard because we often buy impulse when feeling down, but it’s essential to recognise that this is not a good reason to spend money.
Before heading out shopping, create two lists: one for what you genuinely need and another for your wants. Follow this approach because it will prevent purchasing items not included in the list and assist in staying within budget.
Tools to stay budget conscious.
1) Use Cash
Cash provides control over your spending habits compared to credit cards, debit cards and prepaid cards.
Cash is tangible, and seeing it in your wallet motivates you to spend less than seeing a number on a screen or just touching a plastic card. Every time you step into a store, make sure to retrieve your wallet to pay cash. This way, you can quickly assess whether you genuinely want to purchase the item on display. It’s also simple to keep tabs on the remaining money towards the end of the week or month.
Some studies even show that people spend less money when using cash than other forms of payment like a card. That’s because our minds tend to process the pain of handing over cash as part of the transaction (instead of later when we see the bill), so we mentally feel the loss more acutely, which leads us to buy fewer unnecessary things.
2) Make a List
Create a shopping list by ensuring you have the funds for other purchases. Make sure the list includes precisely what you need and nothing more. On shopping trips, have a companion or family member accompany you. Their presence ensures that you make considered purchases and avoid buying decisions that may not ultimately be in your best interest.
You can also jot down a timeline for saving up for each item on your list.
3) Write down everything you spend.
Jotting down the things needed may seem significant, but it does pay off. It becomes challenging to keep within budget and accomplish your objectives if you are unaware of the amount of expenses.
All you require is a notebook and a pen or pencil. There’s no need for a fancy notebook; one with lines for writing and ample pages to record your expenses will suffice.
Periodically go through bank statements. Write down everything you spend on parking meters, car repairs, gifts for friends and family, and groceries. If you’re making a list, include your credit card as an item to check. Sometimes we tend to overlook things like that until we receive the bill!
Don’t leave anything out.
These are some suggestions to assist in cutting costs and being mindful of the budget.
If you have any other ideas or suggestions for saving money that we didn’t cover here, please leave them in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you.
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Photo by Mikhail Nilov: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-calculating-on-a-notebook-6962993/
Photo by Anthony : ): https://www.pexels.com/photo/silver-and-brown-round-coins-157520/