Control Your Budget, Don’t Let It Control You

Managing your finances is something that most people struggle with. It seems as if you always want (or need) to spend more money than you bring in, forcing you to create and stick to a budget.

Having a budget doesn’t mean that you’ll have to forgo fun events or spend the rest of your life eating beans and rice. You can easily control your budget so that you can still live comfortably—you just have to be smart about it.

The following information contains tips on how to control your budget instead of letting your budget control you.

Use a cash system.

In today’s plastic driven society, it’s easy to whip out a credit or debit card when it comes to making purchases, but this is where you get into trouble. Putting purchases on a credit card or using your debit card allows you to easily go over budget, which is why it’s a better idea to use a cash system.

When you pay for everything in cash, you are forced to only spend what you have. If you try to make a purchase that costs more than the cash in your pocket, you won’t be able to make the purchase.

At the beginning of every month, put cash in different envelopes for the different categories of your budget. For example, put cash in an envelope for groceries, dining out, miscellaneous expenses, utilities, etc. This way, when you need to make a purchase, you will take money out of each respective envelope. When the money is gone, that’s it until the following month.

Using the cash system will force you to make smarter purchasing decisions and allow you to better stick to your budget. Plus, if you ever end up with cash left over at the end of the month, you could place it in a savings account or add it to the following month’s envelope for some additional spending.

Cut back on your expenses.

Cutting back on your expenses doesn’t mean that you have to give up all the wonderful things you’re accustomed to. With all the different companies out there offering the same products and services, it’s a good idea for you to shop around. For example, if you have a high cable bill, contact other cable companies in your area to see what they would cost you.

You may just find a great deal that will save you a significant amount of money without losing any cable perks you’re used to. You could also try out Netflix and/or Hulu to see if those options work and ditch your cable company altogether.

Your cell phone bill is another area where you may be able to save. Look at some pay as you go options or other cell phone providers to see if you can cut back on your expenses. You could even opt to refinance your mortgage or car payments too to try and save some cash.

You should also go through your finances and determine where you may be wasting money. For example, do you spend money every month on a service you don’t really use, such as Netflix? Do you spend money on a service that you could start doing yourself, such as lawn care or house cleaning? Cutting back on your expenses can help give you more wiggle room in your budget for other items you want or need.

Consider increasing your income.

If your budget seems too tight, why not try and bring in some extra money? There are plenty of ways to do this without stressing yourself out or working 100 hours per week. Go through all your belongings and have a yard sale or online auction for items you no longer want or need. Opt to babysit before or after work. Get paid to transcribe audio files or translate documents from the comfort of your own home. There are plenty of ways that you can increase your income, so decide what works best for your schedule and put that extra money towards your budget.

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Guest Author: Lizzie Lau is a freelance writer and online marketing consultant with Lizzie combines personal opinions and research to create appealing and informative articles on various topics.