Budgeting Basics for Bachelors
Regret comes much later; while on your way to buy groceries that would last a week, you passed by a kicks store. Compelled, you entered the shop and felt euphoria...and fear. Elated, because you were surrounded by your dream sneakers; quite scared, because the dough for your weekly supply might go this pair of Air Jordan 1. You wished someone would save you from this predicament, as you didn't want to find yourself knocking on your parents' house and asking your mom to cook something for you. But you ended up getting the pair anyway.
Indecision: this is only one of the finance-related problems of many young men, especially those with high disposable income. Indecision leads to losing control, and eventually, to being broke. Most young professionals and those who have just moved out of their parents' comforts are starting to learn the wonders and puzzles of financial management. Your learning curve may only be starting to draw a line, but we're here to help you out with it.
As you're living alone and probably don't have a girlfriend to spend on, consider your status as a default benefit. What you're going to focus on is self-discipline and developing a strategy that will work for you. Below are some tips that will manage your cash flow.
Notebook and Pen
Writing everything down may be the oldest method of accounting and budgeting, but it works. The concept of this technique is to allocate a certain amount of money to things you may be spending for before the next paycheck. This gives you something to refer to when faced with spending evils.
To do this effectively, write down the things you usually and will spend money on and how much you spend on each item. Usual items include bills, groceries, rent, and entertainment. Don't forget the emergency funds and debts, if you have any. If you notice that the sum of all bills can eat up more than your take-home pay, it's time to make some immediate changes. You can also choose to create the list after spending for the past cutoff so you know where your money goes and you know which expenditures to avoid next time.
Jars and Envelopes
After listing everything down, get yourself jars or envelopes where you're going to put the money allotted for each expense. Mark each jar or envelope with each item from your list. One should say "rent," the other one should say "groceries," and so on. The technique may sound old school, but it truly works.
The only challenge you will face is showing discipline. What you need to do to prevent yourself from dipping into your "grocery" jar once your gas funds run out is to keep them in a place where you will feel lazy to go. These places include high shelves and locked cabinets.
Listing Down Again
Spending and saving depend on lists. When you're out in a grocery or mall, make sure you have a list of things to buy. Lists make things a bit more tangible. They're the authority that you should follow to prevent unnecessary splurging.
Credit is Good, But You Need Cash
Credit cards are financial magicians. They allow you to buy things without actually using cold cash, and they give you debts you never imagined existed. Give your plastic a rest and convert spending money to cash. That way, you can actually see where it's going and how fast it's running out.
Budgeting should be part of any bachelor's activity. This is a sign of responsibility and a preparation for a committed life, where expenses can get too hefty. Be a financial prodigy and take total control of your money.