You can make a budget living paycheck to paycheck. While it is possible to get by in this fashion, there is always the fear of unexpected expenses. Living from one paycheck to the next might be manageable under normal circumstances, but you know that it could all come apart if anything out of the ordinary occurs.
For some people, the answer to this problem is to simply not think about it. This may work for some time, but it is better to face the problem and develop a strategy that can help you prepare for situations where you might need some extra money. Here are a few strategies that can help people who want to prevent unexpected expense from destroying their budget.
Stick to the necessities
It can be easy to grow accustomed to always buying what you want. This may be possible on your regular budget, but it takes away from your ability to save for emergencies. It’s not to say that you can’t ever buy things that are not necessities, but you have to prioritize your needs over your wants, and you should consider savings as one of your needs.
Bring your lunch to work
Do you go out to lunch on your break? If you do, you should consider preparing your lunch at home and bringing it with you. It might seem like a hassle to pack a lunch at the beginning of the day, but there are plenty of easy lunch ideas for work. It will save you money, and you might even end up with lunches that are healthier and more enjoyable.
Use a clothesline
The convenience of owning a tumble dryer is undeniable. However, you are paying a significant price for that convenience. Clothes dryers are among the most expensive appliances to run, and they can really increase your home’s energy consumption. Hanging your clothes might take a little longer, but it is free. The money you save by not using your dryer can go to your emergency fund, and this could provide vital relief if you run into any unexpected expenses.
Start a vegetable garden
If you can find any way to reduce the amount of money you spend at the grocery store, you should do it. Of course, you are going to clip coupons and look for sales, but you could also start producing some of your own food. A vegetable garden offers a good way to cut the cost of going to the grocery store, and it could even turn out to be a hobby that you will enjoy.
Stop using your air conditioner
Air conditioning is a luxury. If you want to save money, you need to turn off the AC and start opening windows and turning on fans. The cost of running an air conditioner varies depending on several factors, but even under the best circumstances, it isn’t cheap. You might have to sacrifice a little comfort, but you will feel better about it when you see the money you are saving.
Turn down the heat
Home heating and cooling account for close to half the average home’s energy consumption. Unlike air conditioning, heating might be a necessity at certain times of the year. However, that does not mean that there are not ways to save. You should turn the heat down when you are not at home. You could also turn the thermostat down when you are home, wear heavier clothes, and use more blankets on your bed. Every degree counts when you are trying to save on your home heating bill.
Cut back on entertainment expenses
Entertainment can get quite expensive. Going to see a movie is major expense and the cost of cable TV grows with every year. If you want to save money for unexpected expenses, you should try to find some low-cost entertainment options. Go to the library and check out some books. You can even borrow movies from most libraries.
Reuse and repair
Modern culture has a tendency to look at things as more disposable than they are. You can save a considerable amount of money by looking for ways to reuse items or by repairing things that may only be slightly damaged. Furthermore, you should avoid buying things that are made to be disposable if there is a reusable alternative. You can cut a lot of waste out of your life by getting good at these skills and it will save you a ton of money.
You can spend a fortune on gas if you drive everywhere. While you may need to use your car for some trips, you could save money by eliminating as much driving as possible. If you are getting ready to get in the car, consider whether the trip is really necessary. Ask yourself if your destination is close enough to walk. You could even consider getting a bike to take some of load off your car.
Gut your phone plan
You might need your mobile phone for a variety of reasons, but that does not mean that you need everything on your plan. Go to your service provider to see if there are any cheaper phone plans. Look at the different extras that you might be paying for. Do you really need unlimited mobile data or unlimited texting? You could also check out some of the plans that are being offered by other carriers.
It is only a matter of time before an unexpected expense comes up. For a person that is living right up to the edge of their monthly income, this is like a time bomb that is waiting to go off. If you want to avoid the financial disaster that can come with such an event, you need to develop a strategy for cutting your expenses so you can have some savings for when the inevitable eventually does happen.