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Budgeting is typically something we don’t discuss unless it’s either a few days before payday or moments after blowing that same check during trip to the mall. We all want to save more, earn more, invest more, and owe nothing, but it’s hard! From paying for rent, groceries, and gas, we’re usually left with the idea that we don’t even have anything left to enjoy.
I know it can feel incredibly discouraging to be thousands of dollars in debt or feel panicked about having enough money to cover all your expenses. I’ve been here many times, so let me reassure you that this doesn’t have to be your narrative anymore. You don’t have to be a personal finance guru to turn your finances around. Start small with these 6 steps to reenvision your budget and financial goals.
Sell Old Stuff
Fast fashion has turned most of us into compulsive shoppers who constantly need to be caught up with the latest trends, no matter how full our closets may be. Instead of hoarding piles of clothes that are “so last season,” iron them out and list them for sale online. There are a number of online marketplaces that let you to buy and sell used fashion with just a few clicks. My favorite apps for selling unwanted clothes are Poshmark and Depop. Not only does selling pad your wallet with extra cash, it also declutters your closet and prevents more clothes from entering our landfills.
Maintain a Budget
You don’t have to know calculus to understand your finances. All you have to do to start is add up your current living expenses (rent, utilities, gas, groceries, loan repayments) and subtract it from your total monthly income. The remaining amount is the amount of disposable cash you have for the month. Instead of blowing it all on a pair of Louboutins, allocate a portion of it into savings or investments. You can manage and maintain your budget at your fingertips using YNAB—a free app to track your spending.
Focus on the Future
If you’re the type of person who loves to live in the now, thinking about the future may be tough for you. In addition to putting some of your monthly income into a savings account, there is always more you could be doing to save for a more financially stable future. See if your employer offers a 401k and set up monthly contributions. Consider opening a Roth IRA if your job doesn’t offer a 401k (or open one even if they do!). Although it might feel like another monthly bill, the regular contributions combined with compound interest can turn 5-figures worth of invested money into 6 later down the line.
Bonus tip: Think about your parents, too! As your parents move towards retirement age, it may become your responsibility to take over their health expenses.
Opt for Off-Brand, Not-Name Brand
If you’re trying to ball out on a budget, shopping restrictively can get tough—especially when you have expensive taste. Instead of wrecking your wallet on a pair of Celine sunglasses you’ve been eyeing, use sites like The Real Real to track down a similar pair for a fraction of the price. You can also save hundreds or thousands of dollars by finding a Chanel-inspired bag while still achieving that classy look you’re aiming for. Though they may not be name-brand pieces, your wallet will appreciate it and honestly, you’ll look just as stunning!
And this concept applies to other types of items too. If you go to the grocery store, consider the store’s in-house brand to save some money. If you’re shopping for a name-brand item on Amazon that has plenty of generic comparable items, consider going with the cheaper option.
There may be some things that you need to splurge on, but you still also save on others. Doing some comparison shopping is a small change in mindset that can help you overcome the bigger mountains.
Consider a Side Hustle
Your income can get a life-changing boost if you have the energy and commitment to take on a side hustle. Just last year, I was able to make nearly $38,000 from blogging alone, which is something many people typically begin as a side hustle.
There are other side hustles like walking dogs on Wag, delivering food with Postmates, or doing odd jobs on Taskrabbit. Think about your interests and do some research to see if there are any side hustles you can take on that might be of interest to you.
What are your financial goals for 2022? Comment below and let’s talk! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and subscribe to my newsletter below for more budgeting tips and tricks.
More Budgeting Posts:
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