Don’t be a Prisoner to Your Budget
What goes through your head when you hear the word budget? For some people, it’s a happy feeling, because their budgets keep them on track. For others, it’s something that keeps them from buying what they want, and they want to escape budget constraints. If you are among the second group of people, let’s frame it differently.
We’ve had members tell us that having a budget means limiting the amount of money they had to spend on the things they wanted, instead of the things they needed. What if your budget could actually help you find the money you need to enjoy life a little more?
Let’s look at some ways your budget can work for you while making room for the things you enjoy in life:
- Instead of paying your regularly scheduled bills once a month, pay half with one paycheck and half with the next paycheck. That may clear up your budget for other things. Paying credit card bills that way may actually help you pay them off faster, because reducing your outstanding balance reduces the amount of interest charged.
- Ideally, you want to pay more than the minimum payment on your credit card bills. Try doing this every other month, instead of every month. Use our debt consolidation calculator to assist.
- Only pay for services you use. Many people still pay for a home phone they don’t use. They say it’s because that line is tied to their internet. Contact your internet provider and find out if you can save money by no longer paying for the line. Do you use all the cable channels you have? Call the company and work out a plan more compatible with the channels you watch. Or, cut the cord completely and go with services like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Frndly TV, Discovery+ or other services that charge you very little for specific channels.
- If you have more than one credit card, pay off the smallest balance first. It’s the fastest way to add wiggle room to your budget.
- Set aside a certain amount every paycheck for a splurge, whether you splurge immediately or save that amount for a larger purchase. Reward yourself for being responsible with your money.
Don’t be a prisoner to your budget. You still want to be responsible with your money and pay your bills on time, but make your budget work for you and escape budget constraints. Many resources offer free budgeting spreadsheets for use in programs like Excel or Google Sheets, which is free to use.