Living Simple

So, how do you live on a budget? Not surprisingly, making sure you have one of those handy tools in your arsenal is the first step. Here are some basics and some tips that I follow. Really, it's so basic that is almost seems ridiculous to write it out.

1. Create a budget. Excel has extremely useful budgets already created, it's just a matter of choosing which one is right for you. Determine how much you bring home, what your bills are and what other "musts" you need to spend money on (pet products, gas, etc.). Excel spreadsheets can be customized for your specific needs and will guide you in the right direction.

2. Don't go over your budget. Don't buy the boots you've been wanting for months if they're on sale if you do not have the money for them. Same with the concert you want to go to and the new restaurant that everybody else has tried. If you can't afford it, don't spend it. Plain and simple. Trust me.

3. Get rid of things you don't need. No matter how ridiculous you might look/feel selling your belongings on Craigslist, eBay or in your front yard, guess what - those same items serve absolutely no purpose collecting dust in your home. If you haven't used it in a year or more and it holds no sentimental value, get rid of it. It's amazing how much less you feel compelled to buy when you own less. Just make sure you get a fair price when you declutter!

4. Shop inexpensively. This may seem obvious, but most people don't follow this rule (I also assume these people make more money than me, but still...if you can spend less, why wouldn't you?). Check out my shopping tab for tricks of the trade.

5. Price shop. Price shopping really pays off when it comes to purchasing larger items, but if you can shop around online before making a purchase, this step is a must. I price shop headache medicine. Trust me. It pays off. Many retailers price match online prices and their competitors deals, so it's always good to know your numbers when heading into a purchase.

6. Give it a few days. Did you find a really great deal and can't figure out if you have to have that item or you can really justify the expense at that moment? Put the item on hold (if you can) and think about the purchase for a few days. I follow a two-day rule. If it's a clothing item, I go home and see what I already own to match. If it's a larger item, I see if I go two days needing to use that item...if the answer is yes to both, I will go back and buy it. *This doesn't always pan out, so proceed with caution.

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