By Anastasia Burton
Well, well, well… Look at you. Broke, hungry, and slightly tempted by a Chinese takeaway. Sorry, sometimes my inner monologues transfer to my pages. Now where were we? Oh yes, budgeting advice! Let’s face it, we are all finding moths in our pockets and wallets after the festive season. The short three weeks we had in 2020 before the latest lockdown was the biggest economic boom since March. We all missed going into a store and actually looking and feeling the items we want to buy. It was great being able to buy overpriced coffee and sit INSIDE the cafe. Sometimes something like a pandemic must hit us to make us realise how good we had it.
But my job is not to justify your spending habits, my job is to get you back on track with your money! Firstly, create a makeshift ledger and view your spending for the month of January compared to December. If you see that your spending is higher than your income, or slightly below your income, we have a problem. It is very easy to stay in the red after the holidays when you are mentally still enjoying Christmas songs and munching on leftovers from the fancy dinner. In order to decrease your spending, you will need to say no to certain things you love for the sake of being able to afford them in the future.
For example, no takeaway February will help you save money on overpriced food which sometimes costs as much as a week’s grocery shop. Avoid takeaway or decrease it to once a week. You will notice a large difference in your balance once you realise that eating the food at home isn’t so bad and isn’t as expensive. You could also partake in sustainable living for a period of a couple of months or even the whole year. Sustainability is a big thing right now and rightfully so, we need to stop buying and hoarding items that are not essential to help decrease our waste but also save our coin. Decrease your clothes and accessories shopping. Avoid buying unnecessary rags when you could save that money instead and afford better things in the future. Don’t think about the right here, right now, think okay I’m here, but I want to be there. Living life at the moment and spoiling yourself is completely fine, but you must know what you can afford to spend and when.
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching you would be looking for gifts right? Why not create a pact with your Valentine to, rather than buy each other useless gifts, go grocery shopping and buy all the munchies. Maybe get Disney+? Get gifts that are needed or long-lasting, something the person truly needs or wants. Don’t overspend without a necessity. Don’t buy a lot of small gifts, more often than not they end up costing more. Buy one big gift that would be within your budget and will make the other person happy.
Remember we are all living in a pandemic, nobody is going to judge you for not splurging on gifts.