If you haven’t developed an actual budget for your personal finances, creating one may reveal some drains on your spending that are easier to resolve than you might think.
The three main categories to begin setting up a basic budget include your total income, including any side hustles; regular fixed expenses, like rent or a mortgage; and finally those variable costs, like food and entertainment.
Once you have a budget in place, you can focus in on those expenses to make sure you’re getting the expected benefit or value for your money. Here are a few ways to find room in your budget for the latest tech upgrades.
Cost Versus Reward
Consider your personal cost vs. reward for each of your expenses. Do you really watch all the channels you pay for in your cable package, or would it make more sense to stream those shows and movies? Similarly, if you brewed your own coffee each morning rather than visiting Starbucks, your cost-savings would quickly pile up in no time.
Practices like cutting back your monthly restaurant spending and cooking enough food to bring leftovers the next day for lunch will also keep more money in your pocket. In the winter months, you can save approximately 3 percent on your utility bill for every one degree you turn down your thermostat.
With that in mind, try to keep warm and cozy by wearing an extra layer of clothing and covering up with a blanket while you relax on the couch. If you travel during your time off, save some money by booking less expensive travel destinations or limit the number of days you spend away.
Personal Inventory Days
Whether we’re working, spending time with family or reading a great book, time can quickly fly by at an extraordinary speed, leaving us little time to reflect and contemplate our future. But by taking a so-called personal inventory day, you can use this time to set a budget and better control your spending, which may include canceling online product auto-renewals and gym memberships that are putting a serious dent in your savings.
With that in mind, look for ways to cut your monthly fitness plan costs or drop your gym membership altogether; instead, go for a walk or run outside, or choose to work out at home. Meantime, take a look at your insurance packages to ensure you have the most economical plans and look to pay off your credit cards if you’re able.
Ultimately, being a better financial steward will help you limit any unnecessary spending and finance charges.
If the amount of money you plan to save each month is rather ambitious and you aren’t spending money on what makes you happy, then perhaps shifting your priorities is in order. For example, if you value new technology and want to have the latest upgrades, move some money from your variable budget column into your fixed column.
What used to be considered “extras” are now more commonly being considered necessities for many people. Of course, people prioritize and desire different things. But, if buying new tech gadgetry is what interests and best serves, then move it into the fixed column once you begin to spend less on other purchases.
When you’ve made changes to your budget and saved some hard-earned cash, you can certainly shop for the latest and greatest smartphones and tech gadgetry without impacting your finances. But you can make your money go even further if you check with your wireless carrier for any promotions and discounts.
For example, you may qualify for zero interest financing and upgrade options for the iPhone 7. Just skip one latte a week and you’ll help save the cost of your monthly payment to keep your budget on track while having the latest smartphone. You can also check manufacturer websites to see if they have any money-saving offers or interest-free finance options.
Once you have a budget in place, removed any unnecessary drains or spending habits, and possibly adjusted your savings plan, you are more than ready to invest in some desired tech. Use these tips again anytime you need to reconsider your budget costs versus the rewards.