It’s summertime, and as we come upon the middle of the year, now is as good of a time as ever to do an inventory of your finances. Are you where you want to be with your monthly budget? If not, there could be a few services you pay for that you could do yourself to save money. Here are some ideas of DIY services that could help you get back on the right financial track for the rest of the year.
Cut the Cords
Cutting off cable services is a trend that is growing more and more popular every year. With subscription services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime (among many others), people are no longer required to pay hundreds a month just for television entertainment. According to various studies, by the end of 2017, around 22 million people decided to go without cable. If you still want your local channels, just invest about $30 in a good quality antenna, and you are good to go! Cutting out cable not only saves you hundreds each year, but as a bonus, it makes you intentional with your television watching. You are less likely to mindlessly surf channels and more likely to only go to your TV when you specifically want to watch something.
In today’s busy society, many people employ the services of others to keep up with their home. From lawn care services to house cleaning, they depend on these services to keep them sane after a long work week. If you have these services and money is tight, it might be time to let them go until you can get your finances in order. If time is the issue, sit down and make a house and lawn schedule that breaks up each task that needs to be done in smaller tasks over the week so you don’t feel so overwhelmed. Chances are once you get into the habit of doing it yourself, it won’t even bother you anymore.
Home Cooked is Best
Food is always a hard part of any budget. It seems these days that food costs just keep rising every time you go to the store. However, preparing and eating most all of your meals at home is often much cheaper than eating out a few times a week. Make a meal plan for every meal and snack (not just dinner) and only buy ingredients necessary to make them. Schedule your meals you want to eat out and try to keep them to a minimum per week. Make your coffee and your lunches at home and take them to work with you. Simple changes to your schedule such as these will save you more money than you can imagine if you stick with the plan.
Style At Home
Grooming expenses (especially for the ladies) can get very expensive very quickly. From hair and nails to brows and beards, keeping up with appearances is time consuming and can be costly. If you are struggling to stay on budget in those areas, consider doing some of the services yourself. The process of dyeing your hair at home has come a long way over the years and most of the time the results can rival any salon. Look up tutorials online on how to give yourself the perfect salon-worthy manicure, beard trim or eyebrow wax, and try to recreate it at home with supplies you already have. You might enjoy pampering yourself and you can save tons of money while you are at it.
So you see, there are many things you pay for that you can do yourself. It does require some planning, but you will find that you might even enjoy doing these services for yourself rather than pay someone else to do it for you.
When it comes to reaching your goals in any capacity, self-discipline is key. If you find yourself struggling to accomplish your financial dreams, it’s time to take a look at how you can cultivate more self-discipline into your everyday life. Here are a few ways you can keep your dreams alive and yourself in check.
Believe You Can Do It
At the risk of sounding incredibly cliche, the first step in helping your self-discipline is to simply believe in yourself. You have to really feel like you can accomplish the task at hand before you actually start doing the work. If your mindset isn’t right, it will be incredibly hard to reach your goals–financial or otherwise. If you believe you can do it, you are already one step in the right direction.
Look for Inspiration
A good way to garner motivation for your financial goal is to look for inspiration from success stories. If you don’t know anyone in person that has had success in your area of interest, look for inspiration online. With one internet search you can probably find tons of stories that closely resemble where you want to be. Find out how they reached their goals and employ those methods to your own journey. By seeing how others accomplished their goals, you will stay motivated to keep on pursuing your own.
Once you have inspiration for your journey, it’s time to focus. Lots of deterrents will present themselves throughout the years, and you will be tempted to throw in the towel, but you must not give up on your dream. It’s time to stay focused on the end goal. Think about how great it will feel to accomplish what you set out to do. Set little rewards for yourself along the way to help motivate yourself to stay focused.
Accomplishing financial goals takes time, so part of having self-discipline is to just be patient. Sure, there will be lots of things you want to do with your money in the meantime, but by delaying gratification and being patient, you will reach your goal faster than if you were to take several detours along the way.
Some people are naturally born with tendencies toward self-discipline and others have to really work and make a conscious effort to cultivate self-discipline. Whatever your case may be, having self-discipline is the key to making your goals work–in your finances and in other areas of your life. Following these simple tips will help boost your self-discipline and move you closer to your financial goals.
Everyone wants to be physically healthy over the course of their lives, but what about being financially healthy? The definition of being financially healthy may look different for everyone, but there are some habits that you can adopt that will help anyone get back in financial shape.
Most people who are financially healthy have an ultimate financial dream. This could be anything from being debt free or having a certain amount in savings to being able to retire early. When you have a goal set, it helps propel you to carry out the tasks necessary to reach that goal. Most successful people set goals for themselves regularly. It’s important to write your goals down and display them in a place that you frequent. That way, you will be able to daily see the goals you have set for yourself. It’s also a good idea to review your goals yearly to see where you are at in completing it, or to change the goal if it isn’t relevant anymore.
Another habit of a financially healthy person is that they actively avoid debt. This means, in a lot of cases, that person has to develop self-discipline and patience. If they see something they want to buy that they can’t afford, they have the patience to wait it out until they have enough money that they don’t have to finance it, or until the price comes down to where they can afford it. The simple truth is, you can’t be financially healthy if you are riddled with debt. So if that is your situation, the first step to financial health is to learn to stop the debt cycle once and for all.
If you are financially healthy, you more than likely have a budget of some sort. Some people have incredibly detailed budgets and others are very simple, but whatever the method, they accomplish the same task. They help you see how much money you have and where it is going each month. Budgets will help you avoid debt and save money. They will be the plan of action for all of your spending. If you can get into the habit of regularly planning out a budget and sticking to it, you will be setting yourself up for financial success.
Saving money is very important for your financial health. When you have money in savings, you don’t have to worry about some unexpected expense popping up and breaking your bank account. You have it covered! Savings also helps you achieve the big purchases you want to make over the course of your life without having to go into debt. You can help send your kids to college and live well when you retire if you can get into the habit of regularly saving some of your paycheck every week. Some people even set it up as an automatic draft out of their paycheck so they don’t have think about it–making it the easiest habit of all. Whatever you decide to do, just make sure you are putting some money back for a rainy day.
As you can see, these habits are very basic. They are actions you probably hear about all of the time. If you can develop these habits and put them into your everyday life, you will be financially fit.
Summer’s here and there is a sense of freedom that comes with it every year. People tend to go on vacations and do more fun activities than they typically do the rest of the year. But what if you are on a tight budget and can’t afford all of the extra fun? Well, fear not, because we have put together a few easy ways to have fun and keep busy this summer without breaking your budget.
Make Use of Your Library
This is the tip that typically shows up on “Free Things To Do” lists, but for a good reason! Libraries offer a ton of free resources to entertain and inform you. Besides the magnificent selection of books to read, most libraries offer free DVD rentals, movie nights, storytimes for children, author readings and community lectures. All of these are completely free! Just visit your library’s website and find their event calendar to plan something fun (and free!) this summer.
Take a look at your city’s online community calendar. I’ll bet you can find all kinds of events you didn’t even know were available. Free movies and concerts in the park, museum days that offer free or discounted admission, festivals and downtown events are all items typically seen on a community calendar. Some places even have splash pads for kids to beat the summer heat. Most of these events are either free or very cheap to attend. So before you say that you have nothing to do, check out what’s going on in your community.
Have a Yard Sale
Forget about saving money this summer–how about you make a little extra money! Clean out your house, attic and garage and, host a yard sale. It does take a little effort, but the pay off can be great! Your home gets de-cluttered, and you make a little cash that can be put toward doing something fun this summer.
Volunteer Your Time
If you have some spare time this summer, think about volunteering some of it to a worthy community cause. If you find an organization that you are passionate about helping, the work actually turns into something you enjoy. It’s a great feeling to give back to your community and help others, and it’s a free but valuable way to spend your time.
So, don’t be bored this summer just because you don’t have a lot of funds to play with. Get out in your community and see what’s going on! Chances are, you will find more out there than you thought–and you will be able to afford them all.