part one: finances & budgeting
Hello everyone, welcome back! Today I wanted to introduce a new series called “How to be on Top of it All”. I’d like it to be a reoccurring blog post series about habits and routines that will make your life easier with little to no hiccups in the long run.
It’s evident that life can be overwhelming and we become disorganized and messy in the midst of all the chaos, so I wanted to share some tips and tricks from what I’ve learned that has helped me during those tough days.
What I want to talk about today is probably the number one stress contributor for you reading this post right now. Any guesses? Well, I suppose the second headline already gave it away, but I’m talking about money.
We’ve all been there, and some of us are currently still there, living paycheck to paycheck, not knowing how to create a comfortable cushion in our savings because we always having money going out in one way or another. Whether it’s bills, rent, or more frivolous spending, it all adds up.
Somethings we inevitably have to pay, and other things we pay for or buy is just to make us feel good. Which isn’t a crime, don’t get me wrong, but budgeting is a must if you have a “treat yourself” mentality.
I remember in a Psychology class back in high school, I studied something about how the reason we’re drawn to shopping and impulse buying is because it’s really the only freedom we have, (of course this is debatable, but really think about it). We get to decide how much we want, and how much we spend.
Like I said earlier, there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself after a rough day or a long week, but do it wisely. This is where creating and sticking to a budget comes in handy.
Now, I don’t have an exact play by play for how much you should put into savings here and there, but I have plenty of tips that helped me and have prevented me from frivolously spending. Let’s take a look.
1 Buying a planner AND a white board.
This may seem a little redundant, but it’s helped me immensely. One of the best ways to track your expenses or outgoing payments is to actually track them and record them. It seems tedious, but it’s huge. In my planner, at the beginning of each month, I write down when each bill for me is due, and also include the amount of each bill, so when I’m looking at my bank account, I can keep in mind that I have a 50$ phone bill due on the 23rd, for example. The whiteboard is for similar reasons as well, we’ve hung ours in the living room of our studio for more in-your-face reminders because life is crazy and important things can slip your mind. Use these religiously, as they are your financial bibles and will help keep you afloat.
2 Plan your dates AND meal prep.
Planning our dates was something Kolani and I just started doing recently, and it’s been beneficial in multiple ways. I think the first time we really planned a date with just him and I (recently) was when we went to see Captain Marvel a few weeks back. We had planned it out the weekend before, and bought our tickets ahead of time. The week leading up to our date made it really exciting, it gave us something to look forward to when I had a boring shift at work or he was slammed with homework. Also, because we planned this, we planned out our meals and dinners. There were a couple times we felt lazy and wanted to go out instead of cook, but we reminded ourselves we would be going out at the end of the week, so there was no reason to spend the extra cash on meals we could easily cook at home. So along with planning our dates, planning our meals has been a game changer. Over the past couple years, I have become very passionate and interested in cooking, always wanting to try new recipes. So one of the first things I do when I wake up in the morning is think about what I’m going to cook that night, so I can either marinate chicken, set out steaks from the freezer, etc. This also gives both of us something to look forward too, because at the end of our days, we get to eat a fantastic home cooked dinner together. And while I do love cooking, I make sure it’s in my budget to cook whatever I want to cook. I usually look around the house and see what ingredients I have and go from there, but sometimes there are new recipes that require additional grocery shopping for certain items. Unless it my account is decent, I will choose another recipe instead in which I do have all the ingredients for.
3 Organize and plan, plan plan!
If you’re already planning out your expenses and nights out, you’ll be that much more organized. You’re calculating and factoring in your income to outcome financial ratio. Anytime you’re going out to spend money for non-necessities, plan it. Whether it’s a shopping trip, lunch with a friend, a date, just drinks, WHATEVER IT IS, plan it out. Honestly, this money that you’d be spending for personal reasons is most likely why you can’t build up a savings. If you plan your adventures, your bank account won’t be left bone dry each time the night is over. It’s fine to do these things, but it is essential to recognize first of all if you have the financial means to do whatever it is you’re thinking on doing. This isn’t in terms of, “yeah I have enough for lunch,” it’s more of “yeah I’ll still have enough leftover after lunch”. It’s a difference in perspective, like being rich verses being wealthy. In my mind, being rich means being flashes with your money. Being wealthy means you have money, but you’re smart with it, you’re not flashing it around.
I hope this article helped those of you who have been (or let’s be honest) are going through similar financial situations. Just know you won’t be living paycheck to paycheck forever, as long as you come up with an aforementioned budget. If you enjoyed this post and it’s inspired you, let me know in the comments below! Be sure to like this post and follow along for more future content.
This has been a chloscall. Until next time, Chloe.