If your hard-earned dollars always seem to disappear, then this one’s for you. It’s good to keep track of your spending habits – it’s very easy to get carried away if you don’t. Here are a few tips on how to manage your money and avoid being broke.
Start by putting a portion of your money aside as savings. It doesn’t have to be much, even five or 10 per cent each month will add up to a nice figure by the end of the year. And when we say put it aside, we don’t mean put it in the side pocket of your backpack, or on top of your cupboard. You should keep the money somewhere out of sight so you’re not tempted to use it. You can keep it in a piggy bank (the kind you need to break open), give it to your parents for safekeeping, or set up a separate bank account for your savings.
It will take a bit of effort to keep track of your expenses, but having a physical record can help you see where all your money has been going – and the numbers might surprise you. Keep a record of the things you buy on your phone, or make a simple spreadsheet on Excel.
Once you have a clear picture of where all your money is going, you can draw up a monthly budget. Decide how much (or rather, how little) you’d like to spend in the month and allocate a percentage of that amount to paying for things like food and transport. There are number of budgeting apps, like Wally and Pocketbook, that can help you stay on track.
The line between needing and wanting something can be very blurry when it comes to shopping. We often spend money on things we don’t actually need. Next time you feel the urge to buy something, ask yourself if you really, realllyyy need it. The answer will most likely be no. Just … walk away.
If you don’t think you can ignore the siren call of a pair of shoes on sale, or the latest video game for your PS4, it might be a good idea for you to stay away from shops all together. Take a break from the mall, and hit the beach, or go for a nice hike instead. The fresh air will do you (and your wallet) some good.
Living on a budget doesn’t mean you have to live a completely dull life. There are many ways to have fun without spending a lot of money. You can invite your friends over for a games night, or organise a movie marathon night at your house. And instead of ordering takeaways, or going out for food, you can get creative by gathering what ingredients you have in your kitchen, and cooking a meal for your mates. You can even keep the leftovers for your lunch the next day.
If you manage to stay under your budget each week or each month, you can use some of your leftover money to buy yourself a little treat. Not only do you deserve it, but doing this regularly will give you an incentive to stick to your budget. Stay strong, shopaholics!