How to manage finances is probably among the last things one learns. And it usually happens too late. Ideally, you should do it right from your first salary. Otherwise, money will always seem to last too little. Many people start by losing boatloads of money before they take their personal finances seriously. When you’re married, though, both you and your partner have to pay more attention to your spending habits. And one way to do it is by creating a family budget or by drawing some imaginary lines concerning how much you can spend on something each month.
Finding the right financial strategy for your family may take years. However, a good thing to remember is this: While you can do little to increase your monthly income, there are plenty of things that you can do to lower your expenses. So, what to do if you don’t make as much money as you wish you would? Read the following tips, and by the end of this article, you should feel a lot better about your finances.
Spend less on entertainment
We all need to wind down after a long day at work. We all want to break free from this hectic world. And we are willing to pay a lot of money – maybe too much money – to access a fantasy realm where all our problems melt. Having a good laugh is a must from time to time, too. But try to think about your favorite places to destress. Is it a cinema? Is it a stand-up comedy club? Or do you like to travel a lot? The further you go away from home, the more you end up spending. So, the cheapest way to entertain yourself is to stay at home and have friends/family over for a dinner or a game night. The more, the merrier.
Also, think about cutting the costs on cable subscriptions and video streaming services. Choose one or the other. Or ditch both. That quickly makes between $10 and $50 available for other purposes, like the next one.
Start gardening at home
A trend that is spreading like a wildfire today is organic gardening or urban gardening. It’s all about growing your own food despite your limitations such as light, space, and lack of experience. Everyone can do it! Gardening is such a rewarding activity that allows you to relax and save money at the same time. Just do a simple computation – tomatoes are between $2 and $4 per pound. Obviously, those labeled as “organic” are the most expensive. Now, we know that one tomato plant can yield up to 10 pounds of tomatoes. A pack of tomato seeds costs about the same, but it can provide you at least 10 healthy plants. Now, with a small investment of $4, you can enjoy 100 pounds of 100% organic tomatoes all summer long. And you’ve just saved a few hundred dollars. If you have a backyard, start your vegetable garden right away! And if you want year-round production, install a high-tunnel or a greenhouse.
Cook at home more often
If you feel a little bit too clumsy for a gardener, maybe you are better at cooking. You may wonder though who has time to cook during the week, especially when both you and your spouse are working long hours to make ends meet. Well, maybe you can rethink your schedules to include some cooking time together. Cooking is a great way to relax and learn something new. And it also boosts your mood instantly.
The main goal when cooking at home, though, is to save the money you would have otherwise spent on eating out. It does require a lot of planning, but if you’re serious about saving money, the effort you put in your cooking adventures will pay off sooner than you think. The meals that you cook at home don’t have to contain costly and rare ingredients. And you don’t have to tip yourselves either, although that money could go into a special fund for date nights, for example. Trying out a new restaurant as a couple is a great way to keep the spark alive. So, just because you start cooking at home doesn’t mean that you’ll miss all the fun and flavors of popular eateries.
The ultimate goal of managing finances
No matter how much you hate numbers and math, they are here to tell a story and to depict your financial situation. Are you doing well financially or not? Are you getting closer to your long-term goals? One of the most anticipated moments is the day when you pay off your mortgage. Are you doing everything you can to make the payments on time and to preserve your credit score? In most households, there is room for improvement when it comes to finances. Let’s assume that you can save about $1,000 a month applying the tips above. By directing that money towards your monthly payment or towards your savings account, you are that much closer to paying off the mortgage or to raising the money you need for a downpayment. If you agree, then share this article with your better half right now.