by Jonathan Olsen

4 Tips to Live Within Your Means

Know the difference between wants and needs

Knowing when you should spend money and when you should save can be tricky. Check in with yourself before making a purchase over $40. Ask yourself if you can live without it. If the answer is yes, then it is likely not something you need.

Additionally, trying to eat out less during the week can save $30-50. Try packing your lunch during the week and indulging a bit more on the weekends. Monitoring your food and wardrobe spending is a great way to stay on budget.

Shop in your closet, not retail stores

How many times do you find an old shirt or pair of shoes in your closet that you forgot you had? Go through all of your closets and find older items that you can add to your wardrobe again. If styles have changed a bit, you can add a jacket or different pay of shoes for a fresh new look. Check this out for ways to style clothes you already own.

Establish an emergency fund

Emergency funds keep your life intact in the case of an emergency. Having an emergency savings account will provide aid if you are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Money should be added to this account each month in order to build up a savings of 3-6 months worth of expenses. If unplanned medical or car expenses come up, you will be ready without jeopardizing your budget.

Lower expenses

If you are struggling to live within your means, you may want to consider reviewing your expenses. There are likely 2-3 monthly expenses that are not needed. Instead of a gym membership, try doing workout videos at home or running outside. If you spend a hefty amount on salon services, try new hair and nail techniques that you can do yourself from home. Also, review your cell phone and cable bills. There may be an opportunity for you to cut back and lower those payments as well.

If you have a mortgage or a car note, consider a refinance. Refinancing your car is easy and can be done in three simple steps: apply, sign, and make your new payment. RateGenius can help you with your next refinance!

DIY projects instead of new purchases

Certain times of the year can lead to higher spending on gifts and entertainment. During the summer, you can plan fun games and activities for the kids without spending tons of money at amusement park. Simple learning projects and outdoor activities such as swimming and biking are little or no cost!

During the holidays, choose to make personalized gifts by re-purposing items that you may not use, or scour Pinterest for fun DIY projects.

How are you sticking to your budget?

 


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