Imagine facing a sudden and unexpected loss of income while you’re already struggling to manage expenses and make ends meet. Sadly, this is the current reality for many. The value of managing your finances, especially through the good times, has become apparent now more than ever. So, in reality, these trying times are a wake-up call to learn better money management. If you’re already putting money aside for a rainy day, then you’re in better shape than most. However, by taking it a step further and mastering your finances now, you’ll become limitless faster.
Achieving your financial goals requires loads of discipline and a willingness to change your buying behaviors.
A Word of Warning
A monetary mindset is one of the biggest challenges for most to overcome because a large number of us weren’t ever taught how to manage money properly. Furthermore, due to our social standards and our love for “things,” we tend to fall into the trap of focusing too much on what we don’t have instead of appreciating what we do. By being grateful for what you have and learning to identify your needs versus your wants, you’ll be able to create a measurement to adjust your spending habits.
Before we dive into managing your money, you must start by auditing what you have, what you really need, and what you can let go of.
It’s imperative to keep your life’s vision in the forefront when making financial decisions. You must be wise in your spending habits and consider every expense as a hurdle delaying you from reaching your financial goals sooner. So, grab a pen and paper because it’s time to start slashing your expenses.
Reduce Your Living Expenses
Typically, your biggest expense is housing. If you live in an expansive place with more room than you need, consider downsizing. If you’re living in a costly area, consider moving to a less expensive one. If you commute, try relocating to a place closer to work to reduce fuel expenditures. If you live in the city where there’s reliable public transport, then you can eliminate car expenses altogether. If you’re living in an apartment with added amenities, such as a spa or gym, consider whether these luxuries are worth the extra money you are paying for them. Take an honest assessment about what you really need and what you can live without. You’ll need to compromise somewhere to reduce your living expenses. Weigh all your options and decide based on what’s most important to you right now.
Do you have a gym membership? You can save a significant amount of money by choosing to workout at home rather than spend on a gym membership, but only do so if it’s going to get you the same results or better. Here’s where self-awareness comes into play and why it is so important. If you know you’re not disciplined enough to stay accountable to yourself then by all means, find a workout buddy or go to a gym. Your health and fitness is essential to becoming a limitless woman.
Lastly, look at your utilities and see where you can cut down in this area. Can your water bill be reduced by adding water filters? Are your showers too long? Do you always have the water heater on? During the summer months heaters can typically remain off. Do you have energy saving appliances? Are you using good practices with your A/C thermostats? Do you have good insulation? Sometimes spending more on home repairs now can save you money over the long run.
Dump Your Subscriptions
These days there are countless subscription-based items available like streaming shows, apps, cloud storage, newspapers, etc. Go through your subscriptions and identify the ones that you don’t use or don’t really need (remember a need is different than a want). Up front, many subscription costs seem too minimal to make a notable difference in your wallet, but over time they do add up. Look at your cable bill. If you’re honest with yourself, you’re most likely better off ditching cable completely because too much time TV scrolling is a needless distraction keeping you from reaching your dreams anyway. Can you adjust your phone plan? If you’re connected to Wi-Fi most of the time, maybe you can reduce your need for data.
Get Rid of What You Don’t Use
It doesn’t matter what it is, but if you haven’t touched it for forever and a day, it’s time to get rid of it. Try selling your old items online or throw a garage sale. This will help you generate cash as well as reduce clutter in your home. It’s a win-win and can also be a lot of fun.
Minimize Your Shopping Trips
Decrease your trips to the store by planning out meals in advance as much as possible. This will save you time and energy while simultaneously reducing your expenses. Multiple trips to the store in a week are a recipe for disaster because, let’s face it, the more often you go, the more likely you are to buy items you don’t truly need. Start by keeping a list of the staples and other items commonly used in your household. Buy them in bulk and when they’re on sale. If you’re prone to spending more when you physically go into stores, shop online instead. If you prefer to go into a grocery store, make sure you’re not hungry when you go. It’s a proven fact that hungry shoppers buy more. Get into the habit of carrying and sticking to a list every time you walk into a store and bring along your reusable grocery bags. This will reduce the risk of buying more than you need. Also, only go down the aisles containing the items on your list; resist the urge to wander aimlessly down each one. Get what you need and get out of there. If you are easily tempted into buying more, then consider leaving the cart at the end of the aisle, get what you need, and go or just use a smaller basket. Think about it this way, shopping for groceries is a game of your mindset versus the store’s marketing campaign. The layout and store atmosphere is designed to entice you to buy more than what you came for. If you focus on buying only what you need, you are mastering your mindset while managing your money.
Cook More and Eat Out Less
We all know it’s healthier to eat at home, but it’s also more cost effective. So, let’s audit why you eat out in the first place and then work toward reducing it.
Asking yourself the right questions is powerfully critical here because it’s the key to understanding why you do what you do, and this understanding will enable you to adjust your habits.
Do you lack the time to cook? If so, consider that most healthy meals take only 30 minutes to make. Choose quick and simple recipes instead of complicated and time-consuming ones.
Do you eat out because it’s convenient? Set aside a block of time during the week for meal prepping or repurpose your meals by finding creative ways to turn your leftovers into new meals. For example, cook extra chicken one day so that you use the leftovers for a chicken salad the next day.
Do you not enjoy cooking? If you have a picky household maybe it feels more like a chore. If so, get others involved in meal planning as well as cooking. Ideally find ways to find joy or spend quality time with family members while cooking at home. When you change how you view something by finding a more positive perspective, that situation or activity becomes more desirable, and the likelihood of it becoming a good habit or a success habit increases.
Maybe you just like the experience of eating out? There’s nothing wrong with self-indulgence. In fact, we promote it heavily here at The Limitless Woman. However, eating out shouldn’t be an everyday occurrence because more times than not, it’s an unhealthy alternative. You can find more affordable daily indulgences that make you feel just as good as eating out. Consider taking time out to drink tea from your favorite cup or reading a book in your favorite quiet spot while sipping on a latte.
Maybe you eat out just to socialize with friends or family? Try gathering over a home-cooked meal or spend time together over coffee or tea. If you don’t want to get together at home, find an outdoor space where you can have a picnic. Gathering with friends and family doesn’t need to be extravagant or expensive.
Once you figure out why you do the things you do, such as eating out in this case, you’ll be able to discover ways to control your spending habits.
Pay Off Any Debts
With the money you begin saving, start paying off any outstanding debt you have. If your debt is massive, create a debt consolidation plan or restructure your loans so that you’re contributing more monthly until you become debt free. Pay more than the minimal amount required each month so you can clear your debts faster. In terms of your credit card use, make sure to pay that in full at the end of the month so you don’t accrue interest. This will help you live within your means as well.
Look for Bargains
Whatever you’re in need of, there’s usually a second-hand option. Check on Craigslist, eBay, thrift shops, garage sales, flea markets, or other similar outlets. You can find some valuable, yet money-saving, bargains if you can get past any limiting beliefs that new is better. In fact, by buying used items you’re helping the environment as well.
When you learn how to manage your money effectively, you’ll find a new appreciation for what you really need to live a quality life. You’ll be shocked when you realize how much money you’ve been wasting unnecessarily. When you reduce your expenses and learn to make purchases in line with your needs instead of your wants, you’ll feel a huge weight lifted off your shoulders because you’ll be living within your means and debt free. You’ll discover a freedom that lies at the core of being a limitless woman. And in the process, you’ll save money for times that you’ll need it most.