College and post college time has taught me how to stretch pretty tight budget. I think I’ve earned the right to use the phrase “ballin on a budget.” According to Webster, a budget is “the amount of money that is available for, required for, or assigned to a particular purpose.” I define “ballin on a budget” as being able to get the most bang for your buck in every purchase. And at first, I thought I was such a genius because I believed I created the phrase until I saw the Dormtainmenttv skit “Ballin on a Budget.” Hilarious.
It’s clear I am not the only one making the sacrifices and being creative with a limited income. So here are a few tips I’ve learned thus far.
1) 10/10/80 Rule
I try to follow the 10/10/80 rule: 10% towards tithe, 10% towards savings/emergency fund, 80% to live off of. Granted 10% towards savings may not be realistic with each pay period but I do what I can.
2) Beware of the Joneses
Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses and lose sight of your budget and find yourself broke, in debt or even neglecting your basic needs. Don’t be that person with a $200 dollar hair style and can’t afford food for the week.
3) Track your money
Review your spending habits over the last month to see where you are overspending and take action. There are many easy ways to record your spending: apps, spread sheets, etc. I personally like the Dave Ramsey Budget Calculator.
4) Practice minimalism
Webster defines minimalism as: the technique that is characterized by extreme spareness or simplicity. Focus on your true necessities. If it’s not a necessity for you do not buy it: i.e. cable, the most expensive cellphone plan, living without a roommate etc. This has to be a personal decision for you. Be realistic. Also, if you plan to move around frequently, minimalism is the way to go. It makes moving so much easier.
5) Coupons / Sales
Coupons are only cost effective if the product is already something you use. If a product is on sale, non perishable, and at least 40 percent off of its regular price buy as many as you can.
6) Meal Plan / Cook
Planning your meals for the week, using ingredients from the weekly grocery store sales can benefit your budget. Cooking is always the cheaper option. There are plenty of basic and free recipes on YouTube and online. All Recipes is a great place to begin.
7) Dollar Tree/ Family Dollar/ Dollar General / Fred’s
No matter your budget, proper aesthetics in your home helps keep your spirits up. You will be surprised at the quality and variety of the household items and home décor these Dollar Stores provide. Minimalist still have style, they just don’t go overboard.
8) Thrift Shop / Secondhand shops / Consignment Shops
A great place to find affordable furniture, and vintage clothing. Rule of thumb: you have to keep an open mind when shopping in these stores. You may not get the exact look you want but try not settle or buy just anything because it’s cheap. If you’re not going to use it, it is still a waste of money. Also if you’re not sure how to clean it, don’t buy it.
9) Investment purchase vs a Daily purchase
An investment purchase is an item purchased that will generate income or appreciate in the future: i.e. a business suit, or a computer. A daily purchase is an item that can only be appreciated for the moment: fast food or ANOTHER purse. Try to minimize the cost of your daily purchases.
The goal of a budget is to spend money in the proper place and hopefully be able to save money as well. This makes the impossible, possible if you will.
“I’m Just Saying..”
P.S. Be sure to view the Dormtainment video below. If you’re at work you may want to use your headphones!