A budget is telling your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went.”

John Maxwell

Whether you’re planning long-term or simply trying to get your finances in order to improve your own mental and emotional wellbeing, here are a few tips you can implement in order to reduce the burden financial restraints tend to place on us.

Track your spending

People who budget effectively are less likely to fall into debt or to be overwhelmed by unexpected one-off costs. Track your expenses and implement weekly routines to get your finances in order. Clear out your receipts, make note of bills paid or to be paid and follow a budget planner for the various aspects of your life.

Learn the things that you don’t know

If you know there are certain areas of money management and financial literacy that you’re just not as confident in, do your research, read financial literature and blogs, watch a youtube video on the most basic of tasks. Everything you need to know and want to learn is already out there – free of cost.

Spend Less than You Make

Until you’re in a place where you can afford to spend a little extra on coffee or maybe upgrade your subscription, consider limiting yourself only to the basics and before spending, ask yourself these simple guiding questions:

  • Do I really NEED it or do I just WANT it?
  • How is this purchase benefiting my growth and improvement?
  • How would my future self feel about this purchase?
  • Is this really a wise purchase or will I manage without?
  • Can I find an inexpensive alternative?

Keep an eye out for Earning Opportunities

It’s no secret there are TONS of {LEGAL} ways to make money. Anything from part-time gigs you can get into that involves something you’re good at. Market yourself. Hand out cards, send out emails. Network with as many people as possible. Someone is bound to be interested in the product or service you’re offering. Who knows – you might even turn it into something you can actually do for a living. Heck, that’s how I started my freelance social media consultancy business!

Pay off Existing Debt

Easier said than done – I know. But if you’re following the steps above, you should have been able to chip a little off here and there to pay more than minimum and get it over with. The sooner you can pay off debt, the freer and more independent you feel with your own money.

Maintain an Emergency Fund

This is a must. Emergency funds are a great way to ensure you have a safety net of sorts in case something unexpected pops up. I don’t mean that temptation to buy that thing because it’s on sale for a limited time only – no. Actually take the time to sit down and figure out how much you can afford to transfer to your emergency fund – and be realistic. The goal is to have 3-6 months worth of expenses in your emergency fund. Don’t just rely on one stream of income.

Budget with Wiggle Room

Whenever you sit down to get your finances in order, be sure that you are budgeting for each of the areas of your life with enough room that you can still be under your limit and have a smidge more JUST IN CASE. This can give you enough freedom to out whoever is left towards your savings – and you can give yourself a pat on the back and feel efficient.

Do it Yourself

If you’ve got a minor problem that needs fixing, try doing it yourself and save that money that you might’ve paid someone else to do. If it’s a simple enough task, you can learn how to do it on your own, by just watching a few YouTube videos. Who knows – you might actually be good at it, someone might hire you to do it for them! You learn a new skill and you save money doing it – EARNING OPPORTUNITY – it’s a win-win!

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