Is it just me or is the Fall when we all decide we need to get our finances together? Reeling from summer vacation spending with the holidays mere weeks away, we tend to have our minds on our money more than usual. And again, could just be me, but I struggle with budgeting because it cramps my social life. Does this sound like you too?
- Yes, I'll get drinks with you!
- Yes, I want to try out that new restaurant!
- Yes, I want to go to that concert!
I say yes, yes, yes and my bank account says no, no, no. Where's the middle ground? As someone who's been fighting this budget battle a long time, I want to share a few tips on how you get live your best life while managing your worst spending habits.
Get Real with Your Pals
Please believe you are not the only one who has ever had to slowdown on their spending to save for something bigger and better or more important. So, instead of dodging invites or going to things and being tempted to spend more than you should, just be honest with your friends. Talk about your savings goals and ask your besties to keep that in mind when planning outings, "No, I can't join you for lunch at Proof. I'm saving for a flight to Spain – Dream trip! But, I don't want to see you. Could we do bring-your-own sandwich in the park instead?"
Be All About A Bargain
You don't have to swear off all things fun while you're saving, you just have to be strategic.
- Hit up happy hours. There's a good one almost every day of the week. I highly recommend $5 margarita Mondays at Migo in the Highlands. You can afford to have two without breaking the bank.
- Check for coupons. Okay, so maybe you're not about to turn into your mom and clip coupons, but I always do a quick Google search for coupons and discount codes before I order anything online. Every now and then, I get lucky.
- Time = Savings. I was once told that when it comes to time, money and quality, you can't have all three. You have to sacrifice one. So, if you're trying to get something for less, be ready to spend more time finding it or willing to sacrifice savings. So basically, I know if I want to do it up over the weekend, I have to take more time doing things during the week to save money. For example, instead of running out to grab a quick bite for lunch, I have to spend the time making my own lunch. Instead of paying to park close to wherever I'm going, I might have to spend more time walking from a further distance to snag some free parking.
Psst... Psst... Psst... Did you know you can save $10 on every Level Up class by registering early? Take advantage of this tip and learn more about getting your finances together by signing up for our Thursday, October 5th "Budgets & Bourbon" class with the crew from Drunken Money.
Don't Just Tell Yourself You're Doing Something, Show Yourself How to Do It
I can start each day telling myself I'm not going to spend any money and, if that's all I do, I'll end each day disappointing myself. Don't set yourself up for failure, create a plan. It's much more effective to think about how you're going to deal with the challenges that come up any time you're making a change. So, if my goal is to not spend any money, I should start by thinking about all the ways I spend money each day and how to avoid it. So an example would be, If I make a coffee run every morning, then I should prepare for this by making sure I have everything I need to have coffee at home or going to bed early enough to get a full eight hours of sleep so I'm not tired the next day. Another one is, It's Friday and the kids are used to getting a scoop of ice cream after school on Fridays. Instead, distract them with something fun and free like a trip to the Falls of the Ohio.
Hopefully these tips help you master your bank account while also being the life of the party. Trying to be responsible about your future and reaching your financial goals, doesn't always mean having to struggle through the present. By being strategic, you can still enjoy yourself while building your savings.