Welcome back to the blog! Today I’m speaking about a subject that’s a part of my daily life: budgeting. For me, the best purchases are the intentional ones that I won’t feel guilty about afterward. I’m sharing tips for ballin’ on a budget, AKA living within your means and sticking to a budget you can feel good about — and look good in.
I often get comments in person and online asking, “I love your (*insert item I’m wearing*), where did you get it?!” and I often get shocked responses when I mention discount stores and a whole lot of “tell me your secrets!” The secret is in the hunt ladies and gents, and not inching outside your budget is what makes the finds so sweet.
To give you some background information, I’m your typical young-professional college grad making about as much money as you’d expect, with some additional income on the side from my blog and freelance work. For me, budgeting means living within my means. I don’t create a monthly budget for myself, but I do keep track of my purchases and how much I’m spending. I’ve been doing this for so long that I don’t need to set a dollar restriction for myself because it’s become my lifestyle. I don’t restrict myself too much and I definietly shop a bit here and there, but always stay within my limits.
With all of this being said, you can still look good on a budget. You can wear the latest trends, have a full variety-filled wardrobe and not look “cheap” or feel like you’re wearing the same outfit over and over again. To do this, there’s a right way and a wrong way to spend your money. Without further delay, let’s get into my best tips for ballin’ on a budget.
Tip #1: Check your bank account status on a regular basis.
If you’re anything like me, this may have been an issue for you in the past. I avoided checking my balance a majority of the time throughout my freshman year of college when I wasn’t working, driving to Cincinnati pretty much every other weekend to go to parties/hang out with friends (about 95 miles one way) and buying fast food pretty much daily. This led to me once overdrawing from my account assuming it would cut me off when I ran out of money… WRONG! Though it wasn’t a big overdraw, it still made me learn my lesson and I never did it again. Don’t get psycho with this one, but checking the status of your bank account every week helps you become more aware of what you’re spending. Knowing the number will keep you mindful.
Tip #2: Don’t spend money you don’t have. This seems like a no-brainer, but I know so many people that are addicted to their credit cards and use a payment system to pay off absoluetly everything they buy. Just don’t do it. I don’t like credit cards and never use one, and I suggest doing the same whenever possible. Even if you have money in your account and plan to pay it off later, don’t do it if you don’t have to. A lot of people choose to use cash so they can visually keep track of how much they’re spending, which is a good method. I’m a debit card girl myself, but do what works for you!
Tip #3: Be intentional with your purchases whenever possible.
Before purchasing anything, consider if it’s something you need. Does this item serve a purpose? Is it something your life is lacking? Don’t get me wrong, I totally encourage treating yourself now and then, especially on things you don’t necessarily “need” but really want, but refrain from going on an all-out shopping spree every weekend. Again, live within your means. Live the life your income can afford and allot yourself a monthly “allowance” to spend on personal things if you feel it’s necessary. You can also pick up extra work on the side (mine’s through blogging and my freelance shop) to spend on yourself.
Tip #4: Spend smart and avoid spending out of convenience.
If you can buy an item cheaper somewhere else, do it. Try to avoid spending out of convenience and do your research on the best deals. I only shop online for a couple items a year and do a majority of the rest of my shopping at TJ Maxx where I can touch and feel the items to know how the quality compares to the discounted price — however, that doesn’t mean you can’t find deals online as well! Become a deal hunter and your bank account will thank you later! Sign up for your favorite store’s email list and use their sales to your advantage when you’re in need of something new.
Tip #5: Use coupon codes.
A perk of shopping online is coupon codes. Before you purchase anything (and I mean anything) online, do a quick Google search for discount codes. I’d say I find coupon codes 75% of the time and I never regret taking the time to do some looking for one, and RetailMeNot is always one of the first places I look. In addition, choose the standard shipping option when checking out to save a couple more quick bucks. You probably don’t NEED that new purse to arrive on your doorstep in two business days instead of five.
Those are my secrets, guys. I hope you’ve found these budgeting tips helpful. Check back for a new post on Monday & have an awesome weekend!