How To Manage Your Household On A Tight Budget

In the economic climate these days, a lot of us are starting to think about tightening our belts and being a little more careful with our household budgets. If you’ve recently had some life changes for one reason or another, you might be wondering what exactly you can do to make sure that your money goes a long way. Here are a few tips that might just help you out...

Make A Household Budget

First of all, it’s time to make a household budget. Knowledge is power, after all, and knowing exactly how much money comes into your house each month is important so that you know how to budget it. Make a list of exactly how much you earn and how much tax you need to pay on that money, and then consider what exactly your outgoings are. Write them all down, whether it’s in a spreadsheet or in a notebook, and ensure - of course! - that your outgoings don’t exceed your incomings. Although this might sound like a basic tip, it’s actually extremely useful to see all the facts and information written down in front of you so that you can work out what your next step is. It’s also important to see how you can save some money, and where you can make changes. You should also ensure that you put aside a small sum of money each month so that you can save it for any emergencies that might arise - who knows when you’ll have to invest in a new boiler or get your car fixed? Even small things like your kids’ school trips can really add up.

Household Budget

Learn To Prioritise

It’s important to start to make a distinction between what you want and what you need. Sometimes it can be hard to tell what exactly the difference is between the two - but if you want to save money it’s important to figure it out quickly. If your life will be negatively impacted if you don’t make the purchase, chances are you need it, rather than wanting it. A good rule of thumb is to wait before making any purchases so that you don’t end up spending too much money on a whim. If you still want whatever you were considering buying after a couple of weeks, only then should you make the purchase.

Look Out For Offers

It’s important to make sure that you keep your eyes open for any possible offers or money off vouchers that will make your weekly grocery shop a lot more friendly towards your bank account. From looking on coupon websites to cutting them out of magazines and newspapers, couponing is something that’s becoming increasingly more popular as time goes by. Just remember that while using a few coupons is a great idea, getting too far into extreme couponing will become a hobby and take up huge amounts of your time, which you could be using more productively. When you’re out shopping, make sure that you keep your eyes peeled for any offers that are going on at the moment. Just make sure that you don’t start buying things that you don’t need just because there’s a discount or offer - the stores want you to spend money, after all, so don’t get duped into spending more than you need to.

Use Cash Instead Of Cards

If you’re one of those people who doesn’t think much before slapping down their credit card and making purchases they might not necessarily need, now is the time to make some changes. Using cash instead of paying by card is one of the absolute easiest ways of budgeting. Not only does spending cash feel a lot harder, but once all that cash is gone (make sure that you get out a certain amount every week), you physically can’t buy anything else. Spending cash also feels as though you’re spending a lot more money than when you pay by card. Remember to think about how many hours’ work the cash you’re spending represents - if you wouldn’t work that many hours to buy that shirt, you probably shouldn’t buy it.

Get The Benefits That You’re Entitled To

If you’re entitled to any social security or benefits from the government, it’s important to make sure that you get what you should. The system can sometimes be challenging and confusing, and if you’re having some problems making sure that you’re talking to the right people so you get exactly what you need, find a disability attorney who can help you out and show you what exactly to do, alongside fighting on your side. It can be exhausting to try to get what you need even if you’re completely entitled to it, so give yourself a break, take plenty of rests, give yourself time, and then continue to fight. 

Change The Way That You Get Fit

Let’s face it: being fit and healthy is something that many of us rightfully prioritise. Unless your body is working as well as it possibly can do, your life is probably being negatively impacted by your lack of fitness, which means that it could be time to try to get healthy. If you’ve already considered that, and you’re a member of a gym, then that’s great news - being fit is important for your health and longevity, and for the lives of your family. Leading a healthy life is one of the best ways to promote a healthy lifestyle to your kids. But if you’re paying extortionate gym membership fees every month, that’s probably making a huge dent in your finances, so it could be time to make some changes so that you can cut back and spend a little less. First of all, consider what exactly it is that you need to do in your daily workout. If it’s cardio, try running instead - Couch to 5K will help you figure out how to become a running mastermind. If you want to get stronger and more limber, you could always try out yoga YouTube videos - Yoga With Adriene is probably the most popular one, and offers videos that will suit people of any level of fitness and with any aches and pains in their bodies. 

fitness

Make Some Cutbacks In Your Social Life

If you spend a lot of time and money socialising, it’s time to make a few changes to that. No one’s saying that you have to stop seeing your friends - on the contrary, it’s definitely good for you to do so, as it will put you in a good mood and keep you happy. But consider what exactly you do when you spend time with them, and work out how you could take part in cheaper activities together. If you tend to go out for dinner and then onto a bar for cocktails, you probably spend more money than you should on drinks - in which case you could consider meeting up for lunch or brunch instead. If you tend to go shopping together, make sure that you only window shop - do this by taking out a small amount of cash with you and leaving your cards at home. Finally, if you tend to go out to see movies together then why not try holding a movie night at your home instead? Make some popcorn and put on your favourite DVD or Netflix movie for a perfect and inexpensive evening with your best pals.

Pay Your Bills When You Get Them

A good habit to start and to maintain is to pay your bills when they arrive instead of waiting to pay all your bills on the same day of the month. It’s a good idea for a couple of reasons. Firstly, you  won’t end up with a vast sum of money that will be going out of your bank account on the same day - it’ll feel a whole lot better if it goes out in dribs and drabs instead. Secondly, it will help you keep organised, as you definitely won’t end up forgetting to pay any of your bills. It’s good to make sure that you have a good credit rating and that you don’t end up accidentally accruing any interest - that will feel as though you’re throwing your money away!

Make Your Kids Aware Of The Value Of Money

Finally, it’s absolutely crucial to make sure that your kids are aware of the value of money - as parents it’s one of your most important roles in their lives and will help to set up healthy financial habits that will last them forever. Help them to learn to budget by only giving them a certain amount of money each week for their allowance, and remember that if they go over it, the extra cash that you give them will be taken off their allowance the next week. Give them opportunities to help to earn money by doing jobs around the house like laying the dinner table, doing their laundry, loading and emptying the dishwasher, and washing cars. Being aware that money doesn’t just appear and that you have to work hard for it is a valuable lesson to learn

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