One of my strongest assets is that I am very good at managing my money. When I was small, my parents didn’t have a stable job and we didn’t have the luxury of buying many things. I used to complain about this, but with age and maturity, I got to learn that it was a different experience and definitely taught me how to be conscious with my money and appreciate everything I have. Finances for students, parents or if you are thinking of going self-employed is a tough topic because every penny counts to make it to the end of the month.
I don’t struggle much with money anymore, I have a well-paid job that allows me to do pretty much everything I want to. But, even now, I am very conscious of how I spend my money and just because I have a lot, it doesn’t mean I have to waste them. Unfortunately, media and social media portray the wrong idea of luxury and having a dream life. People compare their lifestyle to celebrities and big insta-scam influencers and get the idea that luxury, wealth and having fun means fancy holidays and working little to achieve great things.
Your life isn’t really yours if you always care what others think of you!
Living the life of your dreams on a budget is completely possible. It just requires a few changes and most importantly a big shift in your mindset on what luxury and wealth look like. And if you still think that living the lifestyle of a celebrity is what being wealthy means, go back to scrolling because this article isn’t for you!
STEP 1 is to buy a diary or a notebook, or using excel if you are more of a digital buddy, and track your habits. How much money you spend on rent, bills, taxes, food, transportation for example? I would create different columns and divide your expenses in a few categories and see where you need to change the most.
FOOD This is possibly the category where you can make the most of saving. Do you buy your lunch or make it at home? Let’s say that you spend 6£ a day for your meal, for a working week this would mean 30£. This is about the amount of money you would spend per person on weekly food shopping including snacks, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Cooking every day is boring but you can plan your meal and batch cook on weekends for the entire week. Alternately, if cooking isn’t for you, the other option is a slow cooker. You buy the ingredients, put them in the pot, set the temperature and your meal is ready next morning. You will not only save money and time, but it’s less likely to buy items that you don’t need and end up in the trash.
CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES. This is one of my fave tips. The way I get to save money while still having cracking outfits is buying second-hand or items on sale. You might be surprised how many brand new items you can find second-hand because rich people buy clothes, wear an outfit once and they dismiss it. This isn’t only a way to add up on your excel spreadsheets. It’s an eco-frienfly option to support the environment too. Clothing makes up to a third of items that end up in landfills. Same applies for furniture in your house. There are loads of buy/sell Facebook groups, websites such as Gumtree in the UK or eBay where you can buy all the stuff you need for the house, a bike, a guitar, sports equipment etc.
Shopping second-hand is the new black!
TRANSPORTATION. How do you move around? With your car, public transport or walking/cycling? I use my bike to go everywhere and if I can’t use it, I walk. I love it, plus I hate cars and all the pollution they create. Walking is more appropriate for short distances and cycling for longer distances. The amount of money you save is incredible and if it is a good way to introduce cheap workouts in your daily routine too.
GOING OUT. If you tend to overspend on a night out, the solution isn’t staying home. Too boring. My advice is to go out and bring a limited amount of money with you. £10, £20 or £50 and set a limit on how much money you are gonna spend on that night. Leave your bank card at home and avoid borrowing money from friends. If you don’t want to limit yourself because you really want to enjoy and don’t stress about money, then cut down on the number of night outs. Do you really have to go out on a Monday or Tuesday night? It’s okay to miss out, above all, if you struggling with your finances. The other thing you can try is staying home rather than going out and organise an event at your house or at friends’. You don’t have to stay home every Saturday night but every now and then isn’t really a problem, is it?
I don’t pay anyone to do a job I can perfectly do on my own!
DIY Do it yourself doesn’t only apply to crafting, for me, it’s about everything. My rule of thumb is “I don’t pay anyone to do a job I can perfectly do on my own”. And this is huge save of money when it comes to beauty treatment for women. Last September, I bought a UV lamp and gel nail polish at the cost of 20£ and I have been doing my nails at home all along. Same for my hair, I have a curlier and hair straightener at home and I go to the hairdresser every 4 or 6 months. Of course, getting your beauty treatments done is self-care and I get that going to the salon is relaxation. But I would keep beauty treatment to once a month and mostly for the things you can’t do yourself like haircut or back massage, for example.
Finally, before making any new purchase, ask yourself: “Do I really need a new purse, blazer, boots, lipstick etc?” I am sure you don’t! I used to fall into the trap of buying all the cool things I saw on Instagram from my fave influencers. I stopped doing that. If they showcase a new outfit or style, I check my closet and see if I already have an item that I can use and adapt to replicate that style rather than buying new stuff.
Do I really need a new purse, blazer, boots, lipstick etc?
As I said initially, all my tips require a major shift in your mindset on what’s the idea of living a dream life and what’s the true meaning of wealth and luxury. You can live a life of comparison and frustration complaining about all the things you don’t have or you just start doing your own things and start appreciating what you do have and make the most of it!