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  • Writer's pictureSheron Olivine

Top 20 Budgeting Tips to Stay on Track – Part 2 of 2

In the first part of our blog series, we shared the first 10 budgeting tips to help you stay on track with your finances. In this blog post, we'll be sharing the second half of our list, with ten more tips to help you stay focused on cutting expenses, increasing savings, managing your money effectively thus taking control of your finances.

So, let’s go!


11. Plan for irregular expenses and emergencies:

As recommended in Tip # 3, treat your rainy day/emergency fund as an essential expense. Irregular expenses or emergencies include expenses such as car registration fees, home insurance, natural disasters and sudden illnesses (leading to unplanned medical bills). Having savings in place helps you to avoid credit card, loan or other high-interest debt.

By setting aside a certain amount each month, these unexpected expenses won’t throw your budget off track.


Let's take a look at a real-life scenario:

You just bought a 3-year old car and you immediately started setting aside a small amount of money each month, even though you don’t need any major repairs yet. However, your car battery goes dead unexpectedly and because you have emergency funds, you are able to purchase a new car battery without any stress of financial surprises. What if you had no emergency funds? You may have been forced to borrow money from family or friends and this can put a strain on your relationships and certainly your financial well-being.


12. Shop with a list:

Do not underestimate the cost of food and household items. Make a shopping list and stick to it to avoid buying unnecessary items, overspending and impulse buying. Don’t think that you will remember everything that you need as you walk down the aisles. You will oftentimes pick up what you don’t need and forget the essentials. Avoid going to checkout and be shocked at the grand total.

Also, consider buying in bulk especially at a club such as Pricesmart, Costco or BJs. The cost effective way to do this, is to facilitate joint purchasing with a group of friends or family members. The savings here adds up.


True story:

I went to the supermarket to buy bread but walked out with a brand new waffle maker because it was on sale. Did I even want to make waffles? No! Since then I just… WALK AWAY.


13. Use coupons and discounts:

The primary benefit of using coupons and discounts is that they can reduce the overall cost of goods.

By using coupons, one can save money on everyday purchases like groceries, clothing, and household items which helps you stay within your budget. By reducing expenses, coupons and discounts increase one's purchasing power allowing one to buy more with the same amount of money.

It would be remiss of me to not also mention that they present opportunities to try new products. By using coupons, one can try new products or brands without having to pay full price, allowing one to discover new favorites without breaking the bank.

This tip works in tandem with comparing prices to ensure best prices/value for money and negotiating prices especially on larger purchases such as a motor vehicle.


14. Cook at home:

Food is one of the hardest expenses to manage and it takes a big chunk out of our budget.

Cooking at home is generally much cheaper than eating out or ordering takeout and leads to healthier food options as we control the ingredients used in our meals. This results in healthier and often more nutritious meals. We can also buy ingredients in bulk, shop sales, and use leftovers to make multiple meals, thereby reducing the cost per meal. Cooking at home encourages individuals to plan their meals in advance and to manage their food resources more effectively, reducing food waste and saving money on groceries. This is especially true if you eat out or do take-out often.

Try to craft your food budget based on a healthy lifestyle. Select a few recipes and make your grocery lists based on what you plan to cook.


Fun fact:

Consistently cooking at home can improve one's cooking skills, leading to better meal planning, healthier eating habits and potentially even a new hobby.


15. Use public transportation:

Using public transportation or carpooling can help save money on gas (fuel) and transportation costs. It also reduces car maintenance costs as there is less wear and tear on your vehicle.

Additionally, parking fees can be expensive, especially in urban areas and by using public transportation or carpooling, one can avoid or reduce these fees. In the same vein, in some areas, toll fees can be significant. By sharing a ride, one can split the toll costs with other riders, reducing the individual cost.

Overall, using public transportation or carpooling can help one's budget by reducing transportation-related expenses, which can add up over time.


16. Cut unnecessary expenses:

There are several unnecessary expenses that you can cut in order to improve your budget. Some of these expenses include cable TV, gym memberships or subscription services.


Let’s look at these:

Subscription services: With numerous subscription-based services, it can be easy to accumulate monthly expenses for services that may not be essential. We can evaluate our subscription services and cancel any that are not being used or are unnecessary.

Use free trials wherever possible.

Gym memberships: Gym memberships can be expensive and may not be used frequently enough to justify the cost. Consider alternative forms of exercise such as running outside or working out at home.

Cable TV: With the rise of streaming services, traditional cable TV subscriptions may no longer be necessary. We can evaluate our TV-watching habits and consider switching to a streaming service or reducing our cable package to save money.

Learn to say no to non-essential spending and events!


17. Keep your credit card balances low:

Avoid using credit cards for purchases that you cannot afford to pay off in full.

Credit cards typically charge high-interest rates on outstanding balances. By keeping credit card balances low, you can reduce the amount of interest charges incurred thereby saving money in the long run and keeping debts under control.

Do not use credit cards for non-essential purchases as this can lead to overspending and high-interest charges. Stick to using cash or a debit card for discretionary spending.

Another aspect to bear in mind is better Credit Scores. Credit utilization is a significant factor in calculating one's credit score. Keeping credit card balances low can help keep credit utilization low, which can improve your credit score over time.


Credit Card Tip:

Whatever you do, ensure that your credit card/store credit has a cashback or other reward benefit. These type of loyalty programs provide savings that can go towards future purchases


18. Take advantage of employee benefits:

Employee benefits can play a significant role in helping with one's budget. Benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and flexible spending accounts can provide financial security and savings. Health insurance can help reduce the cost of medical expenses, while retirement plans can help employees save for the future. Flexible spending accounts can help employees pay for expenses such as childcare, medical expenses and transportation costs by using pre-tax dollars. Additionally, some employers offer perks like gym memberships, wellness programs, and tuition reimbursement, which can help employees save money while improving their overall well-being.

By taking advantage of these benefits, employees can better manage their finances and achieve their financial goals.


19. Review your budget regularly:

Review your budget regularly to make sure you are staying on track and adjust your spending if necessary. This will help you to stay motivated and committed to your budget. Ensure that you are celebrating small victories such as paying off a credit card or reaching a savings goal.

Be patient with yourself and don't get discouraged if you slip up occasionally, sticking to a budget takes time and practice.

Keep working towards your goals, and you'll eventually see progress.


20. Be honest with yourself:

It is essential to be honest with yourself about your spending habits and financial situation. Acknowledging areas where you need to improve, and making changes can help you stay within your budget.

Avoid comparing yourself to others as this can lead to overspending and financial stress. Focus on your own financial goals and budget instead.

Seek professional help such as a financial planner or credit counsellor if you are struggling to stick to your budget. This can be very helpful, as they can provide guidance and support to help you practice self-discipline and achieve your financial goals.


CONCLUSION

Congratulations! You've made it to the end of our list of the Top 20 Budgeting Tips to Stay on Track. We hope you found our second set of 10 budgeting tips useful in helping you take control of your finances through focusing on strategies to boost your income, manage your debts, and plan for the long-term.

Remember, budgeting is an ongoing process, and these tips can help you stay on track and achieve your financial goals.

By implementing these tips, you're well on your way to achieving financial success and freedom. Sticking to a budget requires discipline, patience and consistency, but the rewards are well worth the effort. If you slip up and overspend or go over your budget, don't beat yourself up about it. Just dust yourself off, learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward. The most important thing is to stay committed to your goals and keep working towards creating a better future for yourself and your loved ones.

Good luck, and happy budgeting!

Next week we will talk about “From Dreams to Reality: How Budgeting and a Vision Board Can Help You Achieve Your Goals"


Follow me on Social media for bi-weekly tips [Wednesdays and Saturdays} to help you make budgeting a lifestyle.




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