At some point in our lives, almost all of us will be in a position where we need to budget, and none of us are going to enjoy it. That’s because cutting our costs usually entails cutting back on the things we like, especially if we’re committed to getting it over with as quickly as possible.
Usually, the end goal – of saving money and boosting our bank balances – makes the short-term sacrifices worthwhile, but if you’re struggling to stick to the budget you’ve set yourself, it might be because you’ve gone a little overboard.
You see, while saving is a good idea, and does entail being strict with yourself to an extent, it can also be nearly impossible if you decide to be too zealous. Like dieting, it tends to be more effective when you allow the occasional cheat day, but this doesn’t mean all of your hard work has to be wasted.
Rather, it’s about knowing how to have fun on a budget. Here are our three top tips to help you walk the perilous tightrope between miserly and moneyless.
When it comes to spending money, one of the simplest ways to minimise costs is by shopping around, and while we often think to do this with regards to our regular outgoings – such as our monthly car insurance or the amount our Wi-Fi package adds up to – we’re not as good at sticking to it when it comes to occasional purchases.
Let’s use internet bingo to illustrate our point. Imagine, for a moment, that your favorite way to spend an evening is with a game online. While this is undoubtedly going to entail some expenditure, it’s up to you to decide how much, and one of the easiest ways to make your money go further is by shopping around. If you’re looking for online bingo available in the UK, for example, ticket prices start from as little as five pence on websites like Betfair. This means you can have as much fun as you like without breaking the bank.
Hold out for special offers
Shopping around tends to illustrate the often-dramatic difference in prices between like products and services, but if you’re willing to hold your horses, you can make some even bigger savings – for example, by waiting for special offers and sales to come around.
Almost every company in existence will slash their prices at some point, and being ready to jump once they do is a great way to get more for your money. Plus, items bought at rock-bottom prices tend to hold their value well should you decide to sell them on in the future, meaning there will be more cash left over to put back into your savings pot.
This applies not just to retail items, but other treats too, such as a trip to the cinema, a fancy meal, or cocktails with friends. For example, by eating out between Monday and Wednesday, you’re currently entitled to a discount of up to 50 percent on food and non-alcoholic drinks as part of the government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme. GroupOn is also a great resource for getting money off in your local area.
If you fancy treating yourself to a new pair of trainers or a designer bag while restricted by a budget, don’t forget that you can also pick up some real bargains secondhand. As the saying goes, ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’, and you’ll be surprised by how many great deals you can get.
Facebook Marketplace is a particularly useful resource, as lots of goods can be picked up locally, meaning you don’t have to fork out for postage and packaging costs either. eBay is also wonderful for those who are willing to buy used, as are the charity shops in your area. When you purchase from the latter, you have the boon of knowing that your hard-earned cash is going toward a good cause too.
Isn’t it time you made saving money a whole lot more enjoyable for yourself?