Today when you have a little money in your pocket and it seems that it will not be enough to buy everything you need aside from food, it is time for you to rethink how you spend your money and focus more on budgeting. Admittedly, many of us are undergoing financial difficulties due to the pandemic where many lost their jobs and also loved ones who died of coronavirus.
Aside from these, many are distressed about losing their homes due to the inability to pay the monthly rent and utilities that have already piled up into thousands of dollars which we cannot afford to pay anymore. As such, we need to budget the money we have and not be too dependent on unemployment assistance from the government because we cannot know when this benefit will end.
In my case, my budget went down to 60%, that is, spending only the basic necessities in life such as food, payment for utilities, and monthly house rent. It is really hard to stress your budget these days, especially when you do not have a stable job to cling to and do have someone to support you financially while you are out of work.
So, what I do is to list down all the basic necessities to buy, that is, the food for daily consumption. I have a planner wherein I list down the groceries I need to buy. Then cross out those that are not urgently needed when cooking meals. I choose only the ordinary kinds of cooking oil, meat cuts, veggies, and fruits that are sold cheaper in the supermarket.
I used to buy very high-quality groceries before, however, with the tight budget these days, I go for less expensive products such as those on sale to keep my spending lower so that I could still save a small amount of money to pay for my rent and utilities.
Aside from budgeting my expenses, I brown bag some food for snacks or meals when I have to go out and spend much time outside the home. For example, making a follow-up on my benefits take much of my time. In this case, I don’t eat anymore in the cafeteria or restaurants. I eat the food I prepared at home so that I spend the least of my little money.
Minimalism for me is the key. Now, I am used to having a few clothes to wear, just three pairs of shoes but high quality and durable which I bought when I was still employed. Applying minimalism will make us spend less and we can manage to organize our closet and keep it clean without extra effort and stress. I donated some of my stuff and kept some for everyday wear especially now that I do not go to the office anymore and usually stay at home.
There are also other reminders about keeping your budget and stretching the money you have at the moment. I chose some of the articles that I thought you might want to read and apply them today such as the following: (https://www.bankrate.com/).
- Try to find a way to save on rent which has the biggest chunk of the budget
You can save more money when you move to a smaller place or outside the city that is less expensive and more practical. There is news about people moving out of the city or moving to another state where expenses are less and less stressful than city life.
- "Refinance your mortgage. Mortgage rates remain near historic lows, with the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate in the low 3 percent range, according to Bankrate data."
- “Avoid impulse shopping. One great advantage of shopping for groceries online is that you know exactly what it will cost. You can stick to your budget doing this. “ (https://www.moneygeek.com/).
- “Plan your menu, choosing food that will do double duty. Make your list and stay on budget. “ (retrieved from similar source)
- “Use a budgeting or fintech app
A money-saving app could help you manage your money. For example, Digit automatically examines your accounts and moves money for you to help boost your savings. Also consider Chime, a banking app that makes it easy to save your spare change. Check out Bankrate’s list of some of the best budgeting apps” (https://www.bankrate.com/).
- "Use major appliances such as the dishwasher, washer, and dryer during off-peak hours — usually early in the morning and later at night."
- Go for cheaper streaming services instead of paying more for a cable connection
These are just some of the ways that will also help you to cut costs and fewer expenses mean that you can add those to your savings account. Whatever the cost, try to stick to your budget so you could still have your savings account even with a little money. Emergencies may come and your savings will greatly help you to respond to those urgent challenges.
If you find yourself having another job that can be done at home, go for it. There are many choices out there but it also takes some effort applying for a job. Once you are hired regardless of the salary, grab it! As long as your salary can cover all your expenses at home plus some extra money left to sustain you, go for it especially if it is a work-from-home arrangement.
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