Budgeting and saving money. It's a necessary thing to do whether you're tight on money or trying to save up for a holiday. However, just because it's necessary to do it doesn’t mean everybody knows where to start. For the average person creating, and sticking to a budget seems scary and difficult to do. However, it doesn’t have to be.
Keep on reading for my six tips on how to budget and save money in the long run.
1. Meal plan
One of the first things you can do to save money is a meal plan. Writing down what meals you’ll have for the next week or two will help you be more prepared when you’re doing your next food shop. It helps you figure out what ingredients you need and what stuff to top up on at the next shop.
Don’t get me wrong-a typical shopping list is nice. But, with a shopping list, you're just buying stuff you generally need or like food-wise. And, sometimes, overbuy or get stuff you won’t use. With a meal plan, you will buy the stuff you will use and not go to ham over buying food you will waste. Which helps you stick to your budget.
2. Find cheaper alternatives
Look at what you buy weekly or monthly. Is there anything on there that you’re paying a bit too much for or that you buy the more ‘higher quality’ expensive branding for? Double-check if you could buy a shop's own brand product or get the same product cheaper somewhere else.
So, for example, say you're spending £2.50 on an expensive well-known brand shopping powder, you could swap to the washing powder the store makes, which does the same job and is of the same quality (but cheaper). It might only save you a couple of quid, but that couple of pounds goes a long way!
3. Freeze more stuff
You could start buying meat products from frozen. In packs of frozen meat, you get 30, maybe 50 of a product in a pack. They’ll last a long time, and you can have tons of meals. Plus, freezing them can extend the sell-by date by a month.
However, sometimes you don’t want to change all the products you buy, or you don’t like buying frozen meat.
If you still want to buy fresh produce, specifically meat, when out shopping, you’ll notice that once you buy it, that produce only lasts 3-4 days, maybe a maximum of seven if you are lucky.
Meaning you are rushing to eat them before the use-by date. Or they’ve expired before you can use them. Meaning you waste your money or have to go to the shops again and spend more money. Try freezing it. It’ll give the meat products an extended life span of a month and means they last longer, and you get to control the portions a bit more.
You are spending less money, and it’ll spread your budget further
4. When going into stores, don’t go on massive sprees
When we go shopping, whether that's for the home, groceries or just because we're out and about. More often than we like to admit, we sometimes see a bunch of bargains and snap them up.
This is extremely common for a £1 or $1 store because it appears cheap. However, buying tons of stuff when it's £1, 97p, or god knows whatever discounted price still adds up when it's a big amount of stuff. So limit the number of times you go on a big spree when you go out shopping.
One of the simplest ways is to write a list and stick to it as you’ve already got a plan and will (hopefully) stick to it. The discount stores aren’t bad when grabbing a bargain; don’t go over the top with it.
5. Buy eyeshadow second hand
Now I can hear every person that uses makeup shudder in horror. Worried, I'm suggesting buying stuff that’s out of date or unhygienic. (Don’t worry, I’m not! I won’t let anyone get any make-up related red-eye on my watch!)
However, I can assure you what I’m about to say will revolutionize how much you spend on makeup. Instead of getting a new ColourPop palette from the site for thirty-odd pounds, you can wait a couple of months (if it's a new release, if it's a product that's been out for ages, then you don’t have to wait at all) and then search eBay for the same palette or make-up product.
You’ll find it's much cheaper even if you buy it New and not from an auction! If you do buy an eyeshadow palette in an auction, then double-check the condition. Message the seller even, and double-check reviews to get peace of mind. And, yes, sometimes the packaging can get damaged, or an eyeshadow shade is missing. But, if that doesn’t phase you, then you’ve saved yourself some much-needed dough and haven’t broken the budget.
6. Save little and often
Everybody assumes that it's better to put a big load of money in when saving as soon as possible. Yet, that is the biggest mistake you could make. Because if you’ve put a big amount into your savings account before paying for the essentials. Or even after. You’ll end up dipping into the savings, and then you’ll feel like a disappointment.
It's better to wait till you’ve paid for all the essentials and then put a small amount into your savings pot. It's easier and more manageable. Saving up, even if it's 97p per week, adds up in the end. Plus, if it's your first time budgeting and saving money, going for smaller amounts makes it feel less daunting.
I hope these top tips will make budgeting and trying to save money feel less like your wallet is being gripped by vice and is much easier to complete from now on.
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