Managing your budget can be very difficult and frustrating, and with the price of commodities skyrocketing, it’s not going to get any better. I live in the Philippines and I make $2,600 before taxes a year but I’ve managed to live within that budget, support my family, and be happy about it. Here are some helpful tips to get you started.
Ask the Tough Question
When you’re trying to decide whether or not to buy something off the rack, ask yourself this question: “Do I really need this?”. Sure, you might think this is a little too extreme of a question to ask, with you working those long overtime hours and putting up with every annoyance your job has to offer and thinking “I need a break, and this is my reward for all my hard work”. I admit that it can help ease the pain a bit, but so does talking to friends and family, and on the plus side, it doesn’t have to cost you $100 up front (unless of course if you take them out to diner). So put that impulse to buy aside long enough to make the right decision.
Those electricity bills can be murder. Thankfully, there are a lot of innovations that can help you reduce your energy consumption that are readily buy at your nearest hardware store. Yes, they may seem costly now, but you have to think of the benefits it will yield in the long run. And best of all, your helping the environment! Instead of a motorized lawn mower, why not use the manual type? Oh sure, you don’t want to push something like that all day long right? What you don’t get is your getting more exercise by switching to a manual, which is a good thing, and you don’t have to refuel it thus saving you money. If you have a car, try selling it and getting an electric car or even a hybrid. It may not be the dream car you want, but at least your helping out securing your family’s dream.
Drop the Bad Habits
No, I’m not talking about picking your nose in public. I’m talking about drinking, smoking, and gambling. But if you must drink, drink responsibly and only for the right reasons (getting fired from your job does not count as a good reason, it just digs you a deeper hole). Celebrating an anniversary or birthday would be good examples. Smoking also takes it’s toll. $6 per pack, and say you smoke one pack a day, that’s 365 packs in a year. That gives you a total of $2,190 up in a fiery ember of nicotine and tar, not to mention the iron lung your going to buy when your lungs fail. Gambling is the worst thing you could do to your money. It’s like donating to feed Bill Gates, it just doesn’t make sense. Sure, you could probably join the professional tour, but would that really be setting a good example to your family?
This is something we all know, but so few that ever follow. Here in the Philippines is no exception. But what most people neglect to recognize is that there is money to be made in recycling. I personally know a couple of people who not only saved lots of money, but also got rich recycling. Lucky for them they beat me to the punch…
Learn to Cook
Cooking for yourself and your family can save you a lot of money. It builds discipline, character, and it’s a whole lot cheaper to do it yourself than order it from a restaurant. One more thing about cooking it yourself is there’s love in it when your cooking for your family, something fast food doesn’t have which also brings me to my last tip:
Doing it yourself has it’s rewards. You save money, take pride in your work, and in some cases, get a work out at the same time. So whenever you find yourself in a situation where you can do it yourself, like say, painting the fence, cleaning the house, washing your car, or doing the laundry, grab that opportunity to do so.
If there’s two things I’ve learned from my father, it’s that every bit and piece becomes one big whole when you put it together and it just goes to show that you can’t make a dollar without the all-important penny.