There’s no denying the fact that moving is an expensive process. Not only will you have to settle the bill for your movers, but you’ll also have to account for a range of other expenses. For instance, you may need to buy extra storage/moving boxes or even take a day or two off work. Unfortunately, there’s no getting around such expenses, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare for them.
This is why budgeting will become your new best friend. Not just the secret weapon of penny pinchers, budgeting will help you to stay on top of your finances so your wallet won’t feel too overworked. It’ll also help to reduce your stress levels, as well as those of your family. To help you out, we’ve put together 4 of the best budgeting hacks that will assist you substantially with your move.
1. Work Out How Much You Need
First things first. Before you start making any changes to your current lifestyle, you need to work out how much you need for your move, and how this will impact your overall budget. Simply diving into the following hacks without any awareness of your financial situation will make the entire process of budgeting harder on yourself.
To begin, you can sit down and sort through your bills yourself and determine, after making some calculations, the ideal amount to save. Or, you can hire a financial planner to help you out. In the end, it’s up to you how you go about this, the only thing that matters is that you actually follow through on doing it.
2. Start Tracking Your Money
Are you surprised at the end of the month with how much you’re left with? As Angela Stringfellow at Wealthy Living Today points out, it doesn’t need to be like this. “Start tracking your expenses and income,” she says. “Doing this will mean you’re always on top of how much you have and how much you can expect to have at any given moment.”
The great news is that there are no shortage of resources that make tracking a breeze. There are desktop and mobile apps, like Toshl and Mint, and even physical budgeting books that you can add to every day. It’s all about being consistent and remembering to log every little expense. In time, you’ll gain a greater awareness of your spending habits and work out how to save more money based on this data.
3. Start Planning Your Meals
Food is a huge expense in anyone’s budget, especially if you have children to feed as well. That’s why meal planning is so important. The idea behind it is if you head to the supermarket with no idea what to buy, you’ll be more likely to buy things you don’t really need. Moreover, you won’t know exactly how much everything will be until it’s time to swipe your card. Needless to say, being more conscious about what you’re buying and for what purpose will help you keep your food expenses to a minimum.
You can either plan out a couple of days worth of meals, weeks, or thanks to the power of freezing meals—even longer. And if you think that means you need to be eating the same meal for days in a row, think again. There are so many resources online which show just how to go about this process to ensure you’re never bored. It certainly takes a bit of getting used to, but many people find that can’t go back to their old ways once they get into the swing of things!
4. Skip the Latte
We’ve all heard advice about how to shave hundreds or thousands off our monthly expenses. Sometimes, this advice can be frustrating to hear, especially if it’s unsolicited. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some genuinely helpful tips that will help decrease your spending. One of the most effective ways to save more money is to cut back on “luxury” expenses. We’re not talking about designer goods here (though, it’s best to hold off on those too!).
What we’re talking about is all of the nice-to-have but unnecessary items you casually pick up at the store. For instance, some chewing gum every other day or the half-price scarf to add to your ten strong collections. While these items may not seem expensive—some may only be a couple of dollars—they really do add up. Think about your daily cup of coffee on the way to work. It may only cost $2, but if you’re getting it twenty times a month, that’s $40. Remember, you won’t have to give up these niceties forever. Just until your move is over and your budget is back on track.