As soon as the festive season comes near, your wallets start busting out! The temptation to buy everything on Black Friday & Cyber Monday can bring your finances down a rabbit hole due to all the unbeatable temptations!
Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with investing in good deals which are useful and beneficial for you, however, many people go on board and end up buying out of impulsive decisions, then later to realise that they didn’t just get a good offer, they also got an empty wallet – oops!
Handling finances can be difficult because the bills, rent, mortgage, tax, basic needs, grocery, it can all add up. Everyone’s circumstances are not the same, however, saving money and finding a good balance between your spendings and savings is something we can all learn from in order to have an excellent financial education and manage our budget wisely.
I’m a stay-at-home mum and I manage a home with two boys on a single income. Circumstances aren’t always ideal, but by using these 10 genius hacks, I manage to balance out my spendings and savings to stay financially secure, without falling into a serious amount of debt.
Always spend below your means
I bet you’ve heard this everywhere, everyone and their mother mentions this as their “words of wisdom.” However, no one ever tells you HOW to do that.
Spending below your means sounds very simple, but in reality, it isn’t that easy to do. Every little cost adds up, from your daily coffee to monthly bills, so it’s difficult to keep track!
Here are a few things that you need to do in order to actually spend BELOW your means and be financially responsible:
a. Keep a record of every single penny that you spend for 30 days
Give yourself 30 days to track how you spend every penny, from parking tickets, cinema tickets, coffee, grocery, bills, EVERYTHING. Then look at your monthly income and do the comparison, are you going into overdraft, living paycheck to paycheck or quite frankly, broke at the end of the month?
If you find that you are unable to put any savings each month into your account, then you are spending more than you need to be.
You need to calculate each spending and divide them into categories:
Important Spendings: Rent, Mortgage, Student Loans, Bills, Grocery Shopping
Essential Spendings: Basic personal necessities such as hygiene-related products, travelling expenses to work or school/college, buying food at work to eat, medications etc.
Entertainment Expenses: going out to eat with friends, partying, watching movies, Netflix and TV subscriptions, daily $4 coffee from Starbucks etc.
Once you have categorized your spendings, look at how much each category is totalling up to.
I personally use this method to keep a disciplined track of my monthly budget to be able to save up money every month, even if it’s just $20.
Now, have a look through each spending and cross out which ones you could survive without each month i.e. it’s not part of your essential spendings such as bills or rent.
I used this method to calculate what my extra spendings were and if they were beneficial or necessary. I cut out eating takeaways often and also cut out my entertainment memberships. This helped me to save up to an extra $35 monthly which goes straight into my savings!
Swap TV for books
Being selective with your money and your time is the key to being successful. I found that by paying for monthly entertainment memberships I was just wasting my money and my time. I didn’t find anything beneficial from spending hours looking at shows.
So, I swapped my TV memberships with borrowing books from the library. I know it sounds crazy, but there is a productive intention behind this.
Have a look at your entertainment spendings:
Are you a part of many entertainment-based monthly memberships?
Are you making full use out of the amount you pay?
Is it benefitting you or helping you to be productive, fulfil your career goals or helping you to improve your habits in any way?
If your answer to any of these questions is a no, then that membership has to go.
You have to remember, the entertainment industry is a business. A business that wants to make a large amount of profit by enticing the customers with the traps of “fantastic deals” just to empty your wallet and fill theirs.
I know that makes me sound terrible, but what I mean is, don’t waste your time in watching things which don’t bring any benefit to you – watch things which are educational, or help you to learn a new skill or increase your knowledge, or help you to heal from emotional trauma.
Every spending you make should fulfil a purpose and not just be idle spending. Once you master this level of thinking, you will never be financially broke EVER again. I promise you that!
Buy toys, accessories and homeware from second-hand shops or car boot sales
Having children is the biggest blessing from God, but they can also be a reason behind your spendings, especially when they are young.
The temptation to buy them all the amazing toys can be difficult to resist, especially because as parents we want to give our children all the happiness we can offer!
However, you have to remember that children do not see toys and gifts from the same perspective as we do. As parents, we can often feel guilty when we are not able to provide them with everything we want to, due to having a tight budget, however, that doesn’t mean the kids have to miss out on having fun!
I often buy my kids brand new toys from car boot sales at a fraction of the price from the retail supermarkets! My kids get to play and enjoy, and my financial management works out well for me!
This same principle can apply to your homeware and even clothes. Some awesome places to get hold of good quality products at low prices include Shpock, Facebook Marketplace, Wish and even Amazon.
It is important to conduct smart research when it comes to budget management and handling your finances like a boss! With smart research and knowledge, you can save up $100 each month on basic accessories and homeware spendings.
Save up on payday
What do you mean by saving on payday? I already have enough bills and stress to deal with…
Many people make the mistake of saving up money after all their monthly spendings, only to find 99c in their bank account – this is one of the most common mistakes people make with their financial management and end up in this vicious cycle of being broke every month!
The key to handling your finances like a boss is to save up before the spendings begin!
It doesn’t have to be a huge amount, but if you have a monthly income which is pretty much stable and doesn’t fluctuate too much, then set aside a fixed amount of savings you will take out from it, and use the remaining income to fulfil all other spendings from important spendings, essential spendings and entertainment spendings.
If you calculate all your spendings, set a cut on which ones you will get rid of, then the remaining money that is “saved” should go to your savings account.
This doesn’t have to be a huge amount, even if it’s only $5, it still counts!
Bulk shopping during sales
Now, I don’t mean sales on all the amazing fashion deals that you are dying to get – I’m talking grocery aisles sales. Yes, I’m that boring person.
Bulk shopping during sales is an amazing way to save money in the long term, which in return will reduce your spendings and help you become a financial boss. For example, I focus on buying fruits and veg when they are in full season, this way they can work out to be cheaper but also suitable for bulk buying and freezing for fast, easy recipes such as smoothies!
Initially, it sounds crazy, but if you focus on your shopping according to the ‘sales’ budget, then you will save a lot of money in the long term and handle your finances like a boss!
Meal prep on a budget
This ties in with the previous point. Not only is bulk shopping useful, but meal prep is key to saving a ton of money. I don’t know about you, but I find that my food and grocery cart seems to be my largest spending which adds up over the month really quickly. From the quick grab and go croissant and coffee, to the occasional doughnut, every penny adds up.
So, as a frugal experiment, I did a 30-day challenge in which I consciously counted how much mindless food stops I used to make, the bill amount of my takeaway orders I had monthly and foods I bought which I didn’t use efficiently.
I then created a meal prep for each individual meal for every day of the week and had a takeout only once a month.
The results were incredible.
Not only did I save a ton of money by being financially conscious, but I also saved a lot of time by having a meal prep plan and knowing what was on the menu each day. It resulted in extreme productivity even towards my blogging goals and my general day-to-day life with my kids.
So, I would highly recommend doing a meal prep based on your budget and food items you can get in bulk – it will save you lots of time and money I promise ya that!
Borrow items instead of buying
I think in this day and age, social media has caused a lot of frenzy in terms of the social status of a person is dependent on the things they own, and not on what type of a person they are.
I personally find that if I have a special occasion coming up, it works out financially better in having an outfit borrowed rather than bought – especially if I’m not going to wear that outfit often.
I also do not like to hoard items and keep a minimalistic approach to my lifestyle, only keeping things I need and items which bring me true sentimental joy. This has turned out to be beneficial for me financially because I do not fall into the trap of “impulsive shopping and then regretting my choices.”
Invest in good quality, not quantity
In order to be financially smart, it’s important to make wise choices when investing in anything, whether that’s your clothing, homeware or skincare.
Investing in cheap quality products to save money will only make you end up spending regularly which defeats the purpose of being financially smart.
It is better to invest in high-quality pieces of fashion and homeware that can last up to 5 years, instead of cheap pieces which you have to re-invest in time and time again.
Over time, not only will it save you money, but it will also keep you free from unnecessary clutter, hoarding and prevent you from being an overspender. It will help you to live below your means consistently and make smart financial choices like a boss.
DIY to save $$$
Who doesn’t love some DIY to save money? I know I do, but I am not always keen on doing all the DIY videos I see on Youtube. I can save lots of DIY pins on Pinterest and never do them – I know I can’t be the only one!
However, I did find that doing DIY’s that I enjoyed really helped me to save money. For example, I am passionate about healthy skincare and not a makeup junkie.
I like to make my own skincare masks, skin scrubs and hand lotions from organic, natural ingredients. I found that by making my own skincare products, I saved a lot of money by doing that.
I also have a post covering homemade recipes for skin care – check it out here:
So, why don’t you have a look at what you enjoy and find some easy DIY alternatives to help you handle your finances like a boss?
Invest in a skill which can bring you a passive income
This is the most important aspect of handling your finances. The more skills you have, the better your income will be and the more stable you will be with handling your finances.
Now I know you must be thinking, this is about managing my finance, not about making more money…
However, there is a difference between earning and spending on a budget and creating a passive income from a productive skill such as blogging.
Many of us rely on spending and managing our finances from our salaries, however, it is possible to live the life of an entrepreneur and live a life of financial freedom.
We all dream of a life of financial freedom, but we do not work towards it, invest in it or educate ourselves to make our financial situations improve.
It is essential to learn skills or utilize a hobby into a business which can provide you with financial freedom, and help you to avoid the hassle of constantly counting every penny each month.
If you are interested in earning passive income and living a life of financial freedom then check out my post Why You Should Start A Blog in 2020 and How To Start.
Are you struggling financially? Did you find any of these tips useful?
Let me know in the comments below!