Welcome to another post in English! I really should do this more often as I think it can help me express some things better, and it can encourage my readers to practice their English skills, so it is a win-win!
Today I will explain some tricks that can help those in a tight budget end the month the best way possible and still cover all your necessities. However, I would like to point out I am basing this post on my personal experience during my placement year, living on my own and in a very limited budget. There are factors such as the location, income and expenses that can determine the effectiveness of these few tricks, of course, but I encourage you trying to adapt them to your personal situation.
Also I would like to clarify that £100 budget does not include your rent or house bills, but only expenses such as food and social activities. When I was in that situation, I kept everything very simple and only spent money on what I really needed, so these tricks will help you keep track of your basic needs.
1) Income management spreadsheets - I made this the Number 1 because without an income spreadsheet it would be very difficult to accomplish the next tricks. Excel provides free templates that are ready to use straight away, or there are many types of templates available to download on the Internet as well. I highly recommend you use this because it displays your income and expenses, and you will quickly realise where all your money goes every month. Small things such as getting a coffee from Starbucks every day at Uni can be avoided and you will be saving a fortune at the end of the year.
With these spreadsheets you will also be able to manage your money monthly, calculating the amount you will be able to put towards your shopping, and maybe at the end of the month you will have money left to go into your saving or to treat yourself!
2) Take cash out every week! - Don't make the mistake of using your card to pay for everything, as this will make you believe you have unlimited money. I am still terrible at this and I pay with my card the majority of times, but it is true that if you take £20 out every week, you know that this needs to last until the end of the week and you will be better at managing your money.
3) Write shopping lists and plan your meals - Before you go to the supermarket, write down all the items you need to buy and you will stop buying unnecessary things. We all have gone food shopping before and ended up buying things that weren't in our minds but somehow they make their way into our trolley. But when we have a list in our hand it helps us focus on finding the items written down and that's it. We are ready to stock up our fridge for the next week!
One shopping day a week would be ideal and will be easier in terms of calculating how much you are spending per week, rather than buying random things at different days of the week.
Meal planning or meal prepping are excellent tips to help you save money, and time! You will not need to waste time thinking what you can cook or what you have available in the fridge, as it should be already there for you! Especially if you work and you don't spend much time at home, this is an easy way to stay healthy and motivated, as there will not be any excuse to cheat.
4) Shop wisely - Everybody knows that the layout in all shops and supermarkets is arranged so that they push the customer to buy more things. And as a Marketer I always have that in mind. That is why if I need to buy anything I go straight to where it is, and I always search for the brands and similar products around it. Because sometimes the best option is not right in front of our eyes, but a couple of shelves up or down.
Another tip to shop wisely is to go to the cheapest shops, being the local market or corner shops where sometimes you will be able to save some money. Even if you like certain products you can only find at a specific place, and others at a different shop, that still will make a difference in your pocket.
5) The gym is not necessary - And that was hard to type, as I LOVE going to the gym. But what I mean is that you don't need the gym to do some exercise, there are other ways to get that workout in. The gym can be an expense you will be paying monthly that can be avoided and there are other alternatives. Nowadays there are so many apps on the phone and websites with detailed exercises to do at home that it is impossible to miss the workouts. Or even better, do some exercise outdoors!
6) Say 'NO' to monthly payments - Speaking of the gym, I just clarified that this can be an avoidable monthly payment that can save you between £15- £20 a month.
One of the most common monthly payments is you phone bill, and this depends on the type of contract you have. Of course, I advise you to be realistic and choose the contract that suits you better. Do you really need so much data? How many minutes you really spend a month? What about texts? In my case, I use a top-up card from Giffgaff, which has different "goodybags" with different offers at different prices, and the one I always choose every month is only £10.
I can't live without Music, but paying for free Music only because you like to skip music, can be classed as an unnecessary monthly payment. I use Spotify for free (of course) and I have created my own playlists with the music I like, so I don't feel the need to skip music.
Hope you enjoy this post, and that you find this helpful. Of course, I understand that these tips are not applicabale to everybody, but if you put some of them into practice they can help you budgetting and saving some money at the end of the month. They helped me a lot when I was on my placement, and I had to learn to budget the way it suited my lifestyle then, and I even had spare money at the end of the month!
Have a great week!