People who have a 9-5 job are familiar with the highs and lows of the financial tide on a monthly basis. First, you start off feeling rather ‘rich’ after getting your salary. Then as you use it up, you start feeling poorer and poorer, your wallet getting emptier as the days go by until it gets filled up again when you receive your salary.
This situation is even more unpredictable for freelancers. In a regular job, you can tell when you’ll get your salary. For freelancers, it’s a roller coaster ride usually composed of slow climbs and long, usually quick drops to the next bend. This is called being stuck in the rat race. And unless you’re following the money jars budgeting method or something similar, then your monthly expenses will continue to hound you. But there’s still light in this gloomy scenario.
Get a Clear Picture of Your Expenses
The first step to getting some breathing room from your monthly financial woes is to document where your money is actually going to. Start by writing down each of your expenses everyday. This will give you a detailed look of your actual spending habits.
After a month, you can see how you actually spend your money. Then you can decide which area of your spending you can cut down on or cancel permanently. Weed out the necessities from the impulse buys or the expensive habit that costing you money as well as ruining your health, for example. Determine your priorities and start changing your spending habits accordingly.
Once you have determined where your budget priorities lie, add these tweaks to your spending habits to reduce your monthly expenses even more.
Get Clean on Food
Food is a basic necessity in anyone’s budget but you can still reduce cost. Eating at home instead of dining out is a great way to spend more time with your family while cutting down cost. You generally spend less when you eat at home to enjoy a home-cooked meal than when you eat out at a restaurant or fast food outlet. You also have the option to choose healthier ingredients.
When you cook at home you also have the option to bring baon for work and school which is also a good way to cut out expensive takeout meals from your monthly budget. Check out 7 Ways to Stretch Your Food Budget for more tips.
Obviously, you also need to cut back on that expensive morning coffee habit or that daily pasalubong or sweet treat to yourself. Your wallet will breath a sigh of relief and your body will thank you.
Invest in Clean Energy
Electricity is one of the monsters that eat a huge chunk out of our monthly budget but it can be tamed. One thing you can do is to switch to energy-efficient lighting in your home. These are great energy savers and lasts quite long. You can do this gradually as your budget allows. You can also start investing on other energy-saving appliances such as an induction stove instead of gas.
Turn off the lights and other appliances when not in use (except for the refrigerator). If you use an airconditioner, make sure to have the doors and windows closed so you maximize the cooling effect.
Read up on 5 Big Ways to Save on Electricity in Your Home for more ways to save.
DIY Household Products
Instead of splurging on expensive cleaning products, try searching online for recipes on how to make your own cleaning products and even personal care products. There are lots of DIY videos on how to make your own dishwashing detergent, even make-up brush cleaners and yes, even your own facial moisturizers using ingredients that most of us already have in our kitchen.
Not only are these cheaper, they are also healthier for you as they contain less chemicals and you can choose some of the ingredients that you put into them.
If you’re living alone and you go to work everyday, or if you and your family members don’t stay at home all day, then it may be best to cancel out your subscriptions for cable TV and maybe have your internet package modified to a lower priced one. This is especially applicable if you all have your own mobile data plans anyway. Also, check your mobile phone for applications that eat at your data plan but you don’t even use.
Do you have magazine subscriptions but you can’t get to reading the magazines anyway? Cancel your subscription right away. Got a gym membership but not going to the gym regularly? End your contract and exercise at home instead.
Take Care of Repairs and Replacements
If an appliance needs to be repaired or a house fixture needs to be replaced, take care of repairs or replacements as soon as possible. This ensures that you get the maximum usage out of an appliance instead of it just taking space in a room. Appliances in good working condition and repaired house fixtures also means peace of mind for you because you are sure that your home is a safe environment.
Same goes for vehicle repairs. If something’s not working right, have it checked and get it fixed immediately. After all, your life may be on the line in this situation. You may spend much in the short term but if you can use it safely, then you can also use it longer.
This applies to your health too. Take care of your health so you don’t end up spending more in hospital bills later on. Make sure to take into consideration medical necessities such as regular dental visits and check-ups in your budget. Take time away from the stress of work and allocate some “me” time in your daily schedule. If you really need to get away from a very stressful situation, plan and budget for a short vacation.
Choose Public Commute or Carpool
If you really want to reduce your transportation costs then using public transportation is the cheapest solution. It can be quite a hassle but it will save you time and effort and money in the long run.
You can also get together with your neighbours and friends and carpool to your destination. You can rotate cars to reduce costs and agree on a drop-off zone where you can then walk or take public transport to your office. This means shorter time and distance using public transportation while saving time, energy and gas expenses. Plus, you get to make new friends.
These are just some of the ways to help you reduce your monthly expenses. Your goal here is to reduce expenses so you can start saving and eventually get your budget in order.