The Steps I Took to Take a hold of My Finances…
Since last year, how I handle my finances has been a priority in my life. It’s a journey that I’ve taken to build upon what we have and establish healthy money habits. It’s not something that I really talk about, especially on Instagram. I’m planning to open up soon but I want to get some other practices in place before I do.
However, I do want to open up about some basic habits that I’ve got in place. These are things I do almost every single day. Once a person who hated looking at her available balance, it’s one of the first things I do now. Honestly, early-twenties Elle would not know this person now.
If you’re starting your journey with getting control of your finances and want to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck, then here are some of my top tips for getting ahead and in control…
ESTABLISH YOUR AVAILABLE SPEND.
Something that changed the game was setting up my budgeting spreadsheet and establishing my available spend. Different to your available balance, this is the money after everything. As most of our bills are automatic and the same amount and I over budget on spending for food, etc; this allows me to get an idea of what money is for me. This allows me to enjoy my money without the worry of ever overspending.
As such as it’s tempting to underestimate what you’re going to spend throughout the month (those that aren’t itemised and automatic). However, by overestimating, I’ve managed to save money at the end of the month which I either throw into savings or spend on yourself.
PUT AWAY LEFTOVER MONEY.
Another thing that’s been essential for us not living paycheck-to-paycheck is having leftover money. This is not savings as such. It’s money that I’m saving in my current account. Since this time last year, I’ve been putting away £50 that I keep in my account, but budget it as spent on my spreadsheet. That way, I physically cannot be living on my last £10 like I used to, because the money has been accounted for.
Over the past few months, there have been times when we’ve had to dip into that spending to help us get through. Thankfully, there’s been no blind panic, just easy sailing because the money was already there. I’m very much looking forward to building it up again. It’s become a fun game to play every month.
HAVE NO SPENDING DAYS DURING THE WEEK.
This has been pretty easy to do during the current times, but giving yourself a couple of days of no spending helps to just gain control of those impulses. For us, our no spending days are Tuesday-Thursday. Now, if a bill is coming out that’s fine, this is something already accounted for. For me, it’s about the impulse spend, the maybe I want a coffee, no I’ll wait till the weekend feelings. If you’re looking for a way to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck, giving yourself no spending days (or even the challenge of a week) gives you that freedom to breathe and say no to those small spends that add up.
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