Our consumerist society tempts us with a whole host of products and services, enticingly marketed at us from every angle, and many of them can be hard to avoid. The sensible among us make sure that the rent is paid and the bills covered before we indulge in anything extra for ourselves, but even once the essentials are sorted, it’s often unwise to spend what’s leftover on anything and everything that catches our eye. Of course, depriving yourself of any kind of luxury is a fairly miserable way forward, so finding a happy medium is usually the best, although a fairly difficult, way to go. Here are our top tips for managing your money in an enjoyable but sustainable way.
Set specific budgets
Perhaps an obvious one, but the key is in the ‘specific’. Whilst many of us know how much we can spend each month and still be left with enough to cover the fundamentals, and with a bit of luck save some cash as well, the lump of money we allow ourselves can disappear all too quickly if we don’t decide before hand where we will spend it. If eating out is important to you, allocate a budget for this, and stop doing so once the budget has run dry. Do this for whatever it is you’re inclined to spend money on, whether that’s clothing, beauty treatments, shoes or technology. If we’re honest with ourselves, going cold turkey and resolving not to spend anything on our guilty pleasures almost never works, so allow yourself a little indulgence, but plan for it and keep it under control. Ideally, also set aside a sum each month that you’ll put into savings, that way you won’t be thrown when it’s really time to splash out.
At some point you’ll want to dip into those hard-earned savings, and again the best advice we can give is to decide in advance when, how much and on what you will use them. It might be that there’s a significant event approaching that you want to make note of by doing something special, or a holiday that you’ve been saving for. As long as you’ve made sure in advance that you can afford to use your savings, and will have time to replenish them before the next big event comes around, there is no harm in doing so. On a more everyday note, it’s a good idea to be aware of important birthdays which are coming up in the next month or two; if these are going to require you to part with some of your cash, you might want to tweak your budgets accordingly.
Earn a little extra
Budgeting is all well and good, but sometimes you need to justify a spontaneous coffee with a friend or buying lunch out when you haven’t had time to prepare one before work. A great way to make up for these impromptu treats is to fill out surveys for cash such as those offered by online surveys platform Crowdology. They’ll offer you a little extra cash for participating in market research for many brands, and are simple to carry out; you can do them during your lunch break, on your commute home or as you’re unwinding on the sofa at home!
Managing your money is important, but so is treating yourself every once in a while. Our best advice is to plan carefully how you’re going to spend your money, and make sure you include at least a little self-indulgence within your budget.