BALLIN ON A BUDGET - DAY TO DAY

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Submitted Date 02/16/2019
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For the third post in this “Ballin on a Budget” series, I’m going to focus on ten different ways you can save money in your day to day life. It’s so important to stick to a set budget in your day to day life so that you can alleviate the stress of not knowing how you’re going to afford rent this upcoming month or get stuck eating ramen for a week straight. Plus, if you do a good job of sticking to your budget in your everyday life, you’ll be able to do more fun things like date nights or music festivals! Okay, let’s begin.

1. Use a shopping list

The first way you can be sure to stick to your budget is to use a shopping list when you go to the store and actually stick to it. One of the easiest ways to spend money that you don’t really have to spend is allow yourself to splurge on something that you don’t really need. By creating a list and sticking to it, you will only buy the things that you need and therefore only spend the amount of money that you budgeted for yourself that shopping trip. This is especially useful when you go grocery shopping. I know how easy it is to convince yourself you need that $6 pint of Ben and Jerry’s, but if it’s not on the list, then stay away!

2. Plan meals around sales and coupons

When you go to make that shopping list, one great way to make sure you’re spending the least amount of money possible is by planning your meals around what’s on sale and what coupons you have. Yes, this does require more time and effort on your part to look through all of the sale ads, but it will be worth it when you’re saving more money. You may find that there are multiple stores with things on sale that you’d like to buy. It might be more time consuming, but sometimes going to more than one store can help you save some money too. Buying something at one store because you’re already there may be convenient, but it can sometimes be more expensive.

3. Make good use of leftovers

When you are living life on a budget, it is so important not to let things go to waste. This means that if you have leftovers after a meal, you should use them. Not throw them away. Leftover dinner can make a great lunch for the next day. Throwing away leftovers is basically like throwing away money.

4. Shop generic

Shopping generic is another great way to shop as inexpensively as possible. I do realize that you get what you pay for and that there are some brands that are worth the extra couple of dollars. You don’t have to buy every single thing generic, but things like milk, canned goods, water, and frozen vegetables taste the exact same when they’re bought generic as they do when they have a brand name on them. Maybe you have a favorite cereal or granola bar that you prefer the brand name on, and that’s fine. Just be sure that you’re shopping generic as much as you can.

5. Shop secondhand

Shopping secondhand is sort of like the equivalent of shopping generic, only it’s for things like clothes, furniture, and other household items. Similar to how there are some things you should definitely buy generic and some things you should probably buy brand name, there are some things you should definitely buy secondhand and some things you should probably buy brand new. Things like bedding, undergarments, mattresses, and shoes (in my opinion) should probably never be bought secondhand. Some people have no issue buying secondhand shoes or undergarments. I personally find it a little bit gross and would rather just spend the extra money to buy something new. However, things like clothes, books, coffee mugs, dishes, lamps, side tables, and other furniture are usually okay to purchase secondhand. Of course, there is the possibility that you won’t find something you like at a thrift store, in which case it’s okay to buy brand new. It’s always better to at least try and look for something secondhand first though. Thrifting can be a lot of fun too, and you can find some really cool and unique things that you never would’ve found by just purchasing them from some chain store. Always use your best judgement when buying secondhand though. If it looks too worn out or damaged in any way, then you should probably pass on it.

6. Make homemade gifts

One really expensive thing that can throw off your budget is having to buy gifts for people. If you’re like me and have a big family, there can be tons of birthdays throughout the year, meaning tons of gifts to buy. Gifts don’t always have to be store bought though. There are tons of great ideas for gifts that you can make on your own, and some of them are even cooler than the store bought ones. Some ideas are homemade body scrubs, candles, baked goods, personalized coupon books, or tied fleece blankets. Check out Pinterest for a lot more DIY gift ideas too.

7. Turn off lights and electronics after using them

One of the easiest ways to save money in your day to day life is to turn off all lights and electronics after using them. This may not save you a ton of money, but cutting down on your electric bill a little bit each month adds up. So when you leave a room, turn the light off. When you’re done watching TV, turn it off. If you like falling asleep with the TV on, be sure to use a sleep timer. If you have a fan running and leave the room, turn it off. And definitely do not leave any lights or electronics on if you’re leaving your home. Even if all you’re doing is running to the corner store to grab a pack of gum, be sure to turn off all light and electronics on your way out of the house.

8. Get your entertainment from the library

Libraries are a godsend when you are living on a tight budget. So many people assume that all libraries carry are books, when in reality, they carry so much more. Magazines, movies, TV shows on DVD, computer games, videogames. Maybe the library in your area is a bit older and doesn’t carry videogames, but a ton of them do. There are so many things that you can check out for completely free at libraries. Do yourself a favor and go get a library card if you don’t already have one. You’ll thank me later.

9. Wait before you buy

Sometimes, when you’ve been living on a tight budget for so long, it can feel really good to splurge every now and then. I admittedly am really bad about impulsively buying something after convincing myself that I can’t live without it (I usually can). This typically results in me feeling guilty for spending money I didn’t have on something I really didn’t need. A great way to deal with this issue is to wait 48 hours before buying something. Give yourself time to sleep on it and really decide whether or not you need it. Plus, if you’re shopping online and leave the item in your cart, lots of companies will send you coupons via email to try and convince you to buy it. Of course, only use these coupons if you have decided that you really do want/need this item. If not, don’t let the coupons dissuade you!

10. Use a budget tracking sheet

My final, and perhaps most important, tip on how to save money in your day to day life is to utilize a budget tracking sheet. I’m not going to go into too much detail on this one right now because my fourth and final post of this “Ballin on a Budget” series is going to focus on what goes into a budget tracking sheet and how to properly use one. So for now, I’m just going to say that keeping track of how much money you’re bringing in as well as how much you’re spending will be very useful in helping you stick to your budget. Don’t forget to check back Tuesday for my fourth and final post of this series, “Ballin on a Budget - Budget Tracking Sheets”!

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