Budgets are like people; they’re all unique. Although there are plenty of budgeting strategies out there, like the zero-sum budget or the 50/30/20 rule, the chances are that the more time you spend with your budget, the more unique it will become based on your personal saving strategies and goals.
The flexibility of budgeting means that anyone can find a way to save some extra cash at the end of each month, no matter how much they’ve struggled with their finances in the past. All you need to do is be willing to experiment a little with your plan until you find a budgeting option that suits you.
Here are a few interesting ways to get started.
1. Get Creative to Save on Bills
Most people assume that the best way that they can save money is to stop buying the things they enjoy or spend less cash on their “wants.” While it’s true that you may need to cut down on regular luxuries, you can also save a serious amount of cash by cutting the cost of essential bills too. Something as simple as choosing the right loan when you borrow money for a car can save you a fortune on monthly repayments while reducing the amount of energy you use will cut your electricity bills to a minimum.
Online, you’ll be able to find plenty of fun ways to slash your regular expenses. For instance, did you know that shoving bubble wrap under your doors or using draft excluders could help you to cut costs on heating and cooling throughout the year? You could also consider turning your energy off in all rooms of the house other than the one that you’re using at any given time.
2. Make the Pennies Count
Another thing that you’ll need to remember when you start saving money with earnest is that it’s not just the big bucks that make a difference. Every penny you can save will help you to achieve your goals in the long term. That means that you should always pay close attention to the change left over in your pocket at the end of the week.
If you want to get creative with the way that you use that change, consider downloading a smartphone app that allows you to automatically deposit the money left over from a purchase into a stock, share or savings account. This might mean that you spend £20 in total rather than £17.50 on a product, but that extra £2.50 will come back to you in the long-term.
3. Challenge Yourself
One of the reasons why people frequently avoid budgeting is that they find the process of watching their money and tracking their expenses needlessly boring. If that’s a problem for you, all you need to do is find a way to make saving a bit more fun. For instance, could you charge yourself to save an extra pound every week? This would mean that by the time you reached the end of December, you would be saving 56 pounds per week!
On the other hand, could you challenge yourself to save a specific amount of cash each time you go shopping for food? For instance, if you usually spend £45 on groceries, see whether you can spend £35 the next time you go shopping, while still buying the same amount of food. Have a little fun with your saving activities.
4. Make More Friends
Friends can be expensive at times. To make sure you keep hanging out with the people you love, you often have to find money for costly coffees and lunches on a semi-regular basis. However, friends can also be a great way to help you keep your budgeting efforts on track. For instance, if you make friends with people at work, then you can set up a car-pooling strategy, that means you don’t have to use as much fuel getting to the office and back.
Make friends with the people in your Mummy and Me groups, and you could end up with a free babysitter that you can use from time to time, as long as you’re willing to return the favor. People can be more valuable than you’d think.
5. Make More Money to Save More
Finally, if you’re always struggling to save cash, the issue could be that you’re just not making enough, to begin with. Fortunately, you can always make a little extra money by signing up for a freelancer website online, using your car to give lifts as an Uber driver, or even renting out part of your house as an Airbnb user.
There’s even the option to sell thing that you don’t want anymore online. The more money you can make, the easier it will be to reach your savings goals.