Here are some tips to save you from going broke. Yes, even at the end of the month.
Growing up, being an adult always seemed very cool. Living by yourself, getting a fixed income, etc, etc.
But once you’re actually independent, you realize being an adult is mostly about choosing between food and paying all the bills. If you don’t want to live in that dire a situation towards the end of the month, here are a few tips you need in your life.
Turn them into habits and you’ll never be down to your last 100 bucks.
1. Track your expenses
There are so many expense tracking apps available to download – and even if you don’t want to get one of those, you can just jot down everything in a note. Just a simple ‘Fuel – 1500, Lunch – 400’ type of list. The more you write it down, the more you’ll cut down on things you know you don’t need.
2. Don’t ignore the statement
How many of us actually open the attachment when we get our monthly account and credit card statements? Not many. Well, that has to change. Take out an hour and sit down with your statements every month and check each and every charge.
Also, categorize the charges. Are you spending the most on food? Or is it on shopping? Or is it something you never thought you were spending all that much on? When you see the total amount you spend in a month on a certain thing, you’re more likely to either look for alternatives or a way to cut the quantity down.
3. Change is not dispensable
You get change back from the store, you dump it in your bag somewhere, forget about it, and then feel happy when you find it and spend it on something random, just because. Not anymore. Keep all your cash accounted for. Don’t spend the 500 bucks you found in your jeans pocket just because you forgot it was there – it’s still your money! Not a gift.
4. Don’t drink & swipe
Always keep a budget for when you go out to party. It’s easy to have 2-3 drinks and then keep putting things on a tab that you’ll pay for at the end of the night, but it’s not sensible. Stay under your budget and if you happen to cross it, reduce the budget for your next night out by that much. You have got to be strict about this.
5. Don’t make major purchases in a hurry
Need to get a new sofa? That’s fine. But that doesn’t mean you need to get it the same day you realize it. Look at multiple stores, check online, talk to friends and family. Then make your decision. It’ll take longer, yes, but you’ll save money and get a better deal for sure. (This theory applies even for the really expensive dress you want to buy – wait, think, sleep on it, share a picture with your friends and then buy it.)
6. Came into money? Put it in an FD
Don’t splurge if your Diwali bonus just because you feel like you never get to splurge. A month later, when everyone is planning their end of the year getaway, you’ll regret it.
No matter what amount of money you come into, just put it in either a fixed deposit or even just a separate account. It’s still yours to do whatever with – but it’s safe from your whims and will be there for you when you really need it. Every adult needs an emergency fund, for a rainy day, and this can be yours.
7. Stop lending every friend money
No, really. I know many people who do this and it never ends well. I’m not telling you to not help your best friend out when she/he is in need, but draw the line somewhere. You have to be able to sustain yourself before you start giving away money.
And definitely not to people you barely know who say ‘I’ll pay you back next time.’ There is never a next time!