You deserve a pat on the back—you’ve made your budget and you are ready to get started implementing it. Living within a budget can be intimidating to say the least, you know where your money is going and to whom, but how do you live with what is left over?
Living within a budget certainly requires effort on your part, but you can do it. A sure-fire way to fail, however, is to set your household spending money too low. Of course, you may not have much control over that area of your finances—what’s left over is all you have. Don’t panic just yet, though. Here are a few ways you can make living within a budget work.
1) Seasonal sales are one way to keep your spending on target and still get what you need. Christmas, Easter, Halloween and back to school sales usually start weeks ahead of schedule. If you can manage to wait it out and get to the sales a few days before they end, you can get some super cheap deals.
2) Watch for supermarket mark-downs. Meats, produce and other perishables will be marked down so the company doesn’t have to toss foods when they expire. Find out what days your grocery stores mark down these products (usually Tuesdays) and be there early to get the best choices. You shouldn’t buy more than you can use since tossing food is a waste of your money. Freeze what you can and plan on using the rest within a specific time frame.
3) Shop on the best days. Keep an eye on your favorite grocery stores and figure out the best days and times to shop. When do the sales items change? When do they mark down meat for the week? When are the shelves full and the parking lot empty? Knowing when you’ll find the best selection at the lowest prices can make quite a difference in your grocery budget.
4) Shop on the first and last days of the sale. Shopping on the first day means you can pretty much get what you want at lower prices. On the other hand, waiting until the last day may mean the prices will drop even lower so the store can get rid of the products. The selection might be limited, but you can really score some great deals by waiting it out. Remember, they are only deals if you really need the stuff.
5) Shopping online is one simple way to budget your money. Because you are shopping in your own home, there is no rush and you can compare products and prices until you find just what you are looking for at a price that fits your budget. Be sure to budget shipping costs too. Also, there are some dangers that you should keep in mind when shopping online. Other articles on this site will give more information about how to protect yourself.
6) Stop impulse buying using this one easy trick. If you need to buy something, go window shopping and leave your money, checkbook and credit cards at home. Make a list of all the items that might fit within your budget, include their prices. Go home and study that list and make the best choices, then go back to the store and buy only the items on the updated list. This way you get the deals and you know exactly how much you will be spending.
Living within a budget requires you to keep up on the local and online sales so you can find the best prices. You don’t have to live without, you just have to spend the money you have wisely.