One of the most overwhelming topics, when you think about adulthood, is being responsible -and thinking about being responsible isn’t enough. Without any action, things can spiral out of control fast. If you want to be responsible, you’re actually going need to need a plan. Running away from your responsibilities won’t change the fact that they exist, so you’re better off taking control of the inevitable and getting things in order.
You need to map things out. You have to identify the where (where is the money), the when (when is the bill due), and the how (how do I manage everything regardless of my current resources.)
- How do I pay my rent?
- Is my car payment more important then my utilities?
- How am I going to fit food into this pay period?
I know this can really get overwhelming.
Here are a few of the tips I use to stay on top of “adulting”- I mean I can’t get caught slipping 😉
Start: GO OLD SCHOOL AND WRITE IT DOWN:
Start with getting a Budget/Bills book. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy either. Just something you can write in and keep track of past bills, future plans, goals, income etc.
Writing down, tracking, or journaling (whatever term you like to use) works for me because I am able to physically see my progress. It’s awesome when referring back to notes and past bills that are now crossed out (paid off). I think I literally write out / review my bills weekly, if not more. It really has to become apart of your routine. Like just as important as brushing your teeth important.
If you are a little bit more organized and better at keeping track of things, you can try making a spreadsheet. It’s really up to you. The goal is to do whatever works best for you so you stay consistent.
1st Write down everything and I mean everything. –Rent – Gas & Electric- Car Payment- Car Insurance- Gasoline- Cable- Cell Phone- Home Phone- Internet- Water Bill- Credit Cards- Hair cuts- Hair styles- Subscriptions- Student Loans- Takeout- Daycare- Entertainment- Household Supplies- Toiletries and whatever else you can think of.
2nd List all sources of income. Fulltime after taxes- side hustles (Babysitting, Uber, Lyfe, Hair braiding etc)- Seasonal work- Overtime.
3rd Total your monthly expense and income. If the expense is more then the income, its time to do inventory. Start thinking about what’s important to you and what your goal are. Really have a long talk with yourself about what is important to you and start making some cuts.
WHERE TO CUT COSTS
I suggest starting with your cable and internet. Cable TV is way to expensive!!!! CUT IT NOW!… You don’t need it and there’s nothing but repeats on away (HAHA these are the things I told myself). Seriously though, you are paying $100 a month (maybe more) for cable services. Maybe you should consider streaming tv. When I got rid of the cable in my house, I didn’t even notice. There are so many options now:
Netflix– $8.99 per month
Amazon Video– 8.99 per month (but included if you have prime)
Sling TV– from $20 per month
Hulu-5.99 per month
Youtube TV– from $35 per month
SETtv Now– $20 per month.
The list goes on. Nowadays, all you really need is internet. Another trick to saving money with the cable company is buying your own modem and router. The cable company charges you $10 a month to “lease” theirs. Let’s do the math. Say you’ve had cable internet for 5 years that’s $10 a month time 12 month times for 5 years which equals $600 and that’s not including the monthly bill. This is just to LEASE a box. WOW! Right? So making an initial investment of $125-$200 in the beginning can save you $400 instantly.
Cable is just the start. We live in a competitive world so there’s no need to be overpaying for anything.
- CELL PHONE: Look at your cell phone bill, maybe consider prepaid.
- CAR INSURANCE: Shop around for a lower car insurance rate.
- CREDIT CARDS: Try consolidating your credit cards.
Cut out anything that is not essential to your daily living.
4th Set a goal for yourself. Where do you want to be? Why do you even need a budget? Are you trying to just free up money? Are you trying to get out of debt? Are you trying to make a big purchase? These are just a few things you should ask yourself.
Write it down in your book, and Look at it everyday!
Another thing to consider is to map out your pay periods with your biggest expenses.
Example: If your rent is $1000 a month and you are a paid biweekly you may want to try paying it biweekly ($500 per paid) along with your car payment and with any other large expense. Divvy your smaller bills up according to the due date.
Keep in Mind! With all this mapping and downsizing, you still have to treat yourself. Set a side $20 to do something nice for yourself: a meal out, maybe a movie or a manicure.
It’s really a necessary on your journey to financial control and helps motivate you to maintain your goals and not get BURNED OUT! But DO NOT OVERSPEND!!
- Write down everything.
- Do inventory.
- Think about what’s important.
- Set your goals.
- Track your progress.
- Treat yourself.
- Do not get discourage.
It may take a few months beore you see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I promise things will get better if you stay focused and stick to your personal budget!