We all know what it feels like to get your paycheck after weeks of waiting, turn around to spend it on the things you’ve been dying to buy, and then run out of money days later. This paycheck-to-paycheck feeling is awful, and can make you feel like there’s nothing you can do to save money.
However, there are things you can do to make your money stretch farther.
Namely, you can plan your purchases, craft a budget, and defer your biggest spending until you’ve got the money saved up to make it happen. Let’s look at ways to plan your finances that will help you stretch your money that much farther.
Crack open those books and make a budget. Be serious about this, and be critical with your spending. It can be easy to hand-wave this part of the process, but don’t fall for it.
You need to know what each dollar in your paycheck is doing before you ever get it. If you’re spending impulsively when you get paid, you’ll find yourself running out of money rather quickly.
Tally up the expenses that you can’t help: rent or mortgage, car payment, cell phone bill. Weigh this against your food budget, your entertainment budget, your spending money, and see where you end up. Once you’ve got a good idea of what you have coming in and going out, you can more easily plan around your spending, adjust it as needed, and set back money into a savings account or investment fund.
In this way, you can make your money work for you, instead of the other way around.
You’ve been dying to buy that new video game you’ve seen on sale. Maybe you were eying a wardrobe overhaul, or a new set of rims for your car. Whatever it may be, we all have our guilty pleasures that we spend (probably too much) money on.
However, if you plan around these purchases and defer them until you’ve got more money on hand, you can stretch your finances further.
Of course, this requires planning and patience. We recommend including these kinds of purchases in a budget that breaks down your earnings, savings, and spending. Once you’ve got that budget in front of you, you can plan out when you want to make these bigger, indulgent purchases.
All the while, you’ll have savings put back that you can rely on in case of emergency. You can live without that box set of your favorite show, but you’ll really need the money to get your car fixed if it breaks down.