It has been proven that it is difficult to make ends meet living as a single person. You have rent to cover by yourself, have to feed yourself and pay utilities and these expenses add up. Bachelors do not despair! There are some small (and big) things that you can do to save money when living away from home.
Budget is a scary word. It sounds like adulting, big time. The truth is, it isn’t that difficult and you pretty much have to do this if you want to make ends meet. If you aren’t working, but are going to school instead, substitute whatever income you receive for the ‘when you get paid’ advice below.
This method is extremely easy for those just starting out on a budget. The idea here is that you total up all of your monthly expenses and divide by 4 for a weekly total. Make envelopes for each bill you pay (phone bill, rent, etc). Every time you get paid, set aside the proper amount in each envelope and don’t touch it! Once you’ve done this for about a month, you’ll have the money you need when bills come due and also know what you can spend each week outside your bills.
If that sounds like too many envelopes, you can use the same principles, simplified. Total your expenses and divide by 4 for a weekly total. Open a second checking account or a savings account. Each week, deposit the weekly bill total into one of these accounts. The rest is your spending money. Now when the bill is due, pay it with the money you’ve set aside.
If you get paid or receive income monthly, pay all of your bills as soon as you get your funds. This can be painful, but it’s worth it in the long run. Now you know what you can spend without getting into financial trouble.
Men often overlook the many ways to discount shop. There are coupons online for almost anything you need to buy, from electronics to clothing to even food. Explore all store loyalty rewards that you can, including things like Amazon Pantry for groceries. Before you buy, use a search engine to look for coupons for the store you are shopping at. You can make it more easier using Frugaa.com – it groups many online coupons together in one place so you only have one place to look. Once you get good at this, consider using coupons at the grocery store too!
If you love to go out to eat, set aside one day a week to splurge on this as a treat and cook at home the rest of the days. If you are dorm living, you can still buy fruit and easy to prepare items like everyone’s favorite ramen or mac and cheese. Be sure to add in some bagged salad and healthy snacks like nuts to offset the often unhealthy factor of prepared foods.
If you live in an apartment or house, you have no excuse. There are thousands of easy recipes online for things as simple as grilled sandwiches and salads to slow cooker soups and stews. You can make several dishes on the weekend and freeze them in portions for quick meals. Remember that things like beans and pasta are always economical options.
One of the saddest truths about living on your own is that you can’t always have what you want. If you want the newest gadget, compute what you’d have to save from your spending money and for how long before you could afford it. This helps give some perspective and having a plan helps to resist impulse purchases. When you feel impulsive, try to wait a week and see if you still want the item. Sometimes we just get caught up in the moment!
Things like alcohol and cigarettes may seem fun, but add up in terms of expense. Writing down what you spend each week on these items often makes it easier to resist. You can literally save thousands a year by giving up one or both. Even cutting back means major savings.
Students and workers alike often have access to certain unconventional benefits, such as a stocked pantry at work for lunches or a school meal plan that your parents maintain. Take advantage! Even waiting until you get to work to have your morning coffee can add up to savings.
The truth is, several little things add up to more money in your pocket. Treat your budget like a game rather than a chore and it will seem fun. Maybe you can take a great vacation with the money you manage to save. Even a monthly trip to the movies is a great reward for staying in budget. Rewards reinforce your progress.