In the second part of 20-Something Money, we’re looking at sticking to a budget. Brace yourself – you may be giving up a fair bit…
Now that we’ve established how much money you’re going to be budgeting with, we can move on to setting some rules for sticking to a budget. Depending on your situation, you may find just cutting out the odd luxury will see you right but if times are really dire, you might have to temporarily go all out on only spending what you need.
Identify Your Weaknesses
Take a look at your spending habits and work out what you have a weakness for. For me, I’m a sucker for a big ASOS order at the start of every month but others may easily spend £100 on a night out. If this sounds like you, why not get yourself into a ‘spending smart’ mentality by creating a 10-step questionnaire before ordering clothes online or (and yes, I am really saying this) sticking to cheap shots on a night out instead of long drinks (or don’t drink at all).
Whatever your personal vice is, it’ll be something you have to work on and create an alternative plan for… good luck!
Tell Your Friends
One of the biggest reasons budgets fail is peer pressure. To avoid pressure from your friends to go out all the time, let them know that you’re in a bad financial place and trying to budget better. If you’re clear and firm with them then they’ll be able to understand your absence from expensive excursions… if not, fuck ’em 🙂
It’s been said a million times before, but you’d be surprised at how many people I know who buy lunch on a daily basis or spend loadsa money on things they could probably make themselves. Me and a coworker have been on a ASDA salad hype lately but a quick scan of ingredients shows that there’s literally no reason for us not to make them ourselves and save our pennies. If you still live at home you can even flutter your eyelashes your parents way and get the ingredients into their weekly shop!
This same principal goes for clothing and other miscellaneous bits and pieces. Getting crafty and using your imagination will save you money and can distract you from feeling spendy!
Take a Trial Month
Budgets aren’t something you can always instantly slip into so a degree of trial and error can be used for the first month (or maybe) two. If you find that you overspend on your target in your first month, take a look at your outgoings and work out if there was anywhere you can be stricter. If you really can’t cut anything further then you can adjust your targets accordingly to create something more realistic. Remember – you’ll keep your morale up if you stick to achievable targets!
Got anything extra? Why not put it to one side and use it to reach a savings target? I’ll be back next week with the conclusion of the 20-Something Money trilogy, How to Make a Savings Plan.