Many of us would love to travel more, or look our best by getting the latest fashions or taking regular visits to the spa. Some of us just want to be able to enjoy hobbies like smoking fine cigars or going to the races. But fitting all those little luxuries into our budgets can be tough – especially when more important bills come up or work is sparse.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to take control of your budget and ensure that you have enough for all your needs, as well as a few luxuries. Here are a few things you might be able to do to make more room in your monthly budget:
Cut Back on Energy Costs
Energy costs are one of the biggest expenses for your home, outside of the rent or mortgage itself. If you can cut back on energy costs, you can save a lot of money over time. Even if you only save $20 or $30 per month, that’s as much as $360 per year, which would go a long way at the spa. You can save significantly by investing in solar power for homes. You could theoretically eliminate your power bill entirely, assuming that you can generate enough power from your solar panels for your home. You might even be able to generate enough power to sell some back to the power company, which would put money in your pocket on top of eliminating your power bill.
Reduce Food Costs
Too many of us eat out far more than we realize or care to admit. You could be spending well over $1,000 a month on eating out without even realizing it. Those $5 coffees and $10 lunches add up fast! So, the first thing you need to do to save money on your food budget is to stop eating out. If you can’t stop entirely, you need to limit yourself, either by the number of times you eat out per week or the amount you spend.
You can also save a lot of money on food by growing a garden. Not only will you get healthy exercise and grow foods that are fresh and do not have pesticides, but you’ll also cut down on what you have to spend at the grocery store. By preparing more meals at home and growing some of your own food, you could save hundreds of dollars per month.
Work Out at Home
You don’t need to join an expensive gym or hire a trainer to stay in shape. You don’t even need to invest in expensive equipment for your home. You can get a great workout by running near your home and doing body-weight exercises for strength training. If you want some variety, you can do a plyometrics circuit at home, run stairs, swim in a local lake, or ride your bike.
If you do want to add some equipment, check Craigslist or Freecycle. Many people give away their old exercise equipment for free. The equipment may look dated, but it works just as well as the new machinery.
Save on Clothes
For some, clothes are the luxury. For others, they are just a necessity. Either way, you can get what you want or need and save some money. Host a clothing swap with your friends to give away the things you don’t want anymore and pick up a few cute items that your friends are giving away. You can also shop at small boutiques, consignment stores, and even secondhand marketplaces like eBay or Craigslist to find gorgeous clothing that is fashionable and still in good shape, but that is quite affordable.
The more you can do to cut down on your budget, the more fun money you will free up to put toward the luxuries you love in order to treat yourself. Sure, you can put some of it toward savings or investments, but why not have a little fun with it also? You only live once, and things like a good pair of Louboutins or a trip to Paris only make it better.