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5 Tips For Living Like Royalty on a Tight Budget

5 Tips For Living Like Royalty on a Tight Budget

“Cash rules everything around me, cream get the money, dollar dollar bills ya’ll”, are famous lyrics rapped by none other than the infamous hip hop group the Wu-Tang Clan. Albeit, not overly eloquent in its execution, the sentiment is undeniably true. Pretty much every step in our life is governed by our monetary circumstances, meaning that balancing the books is a fine art.

So, if you’re not one of the lucky few who was born into an oil baron’s family or you didn’t invent a social media page that went bonkers, you’re probably apart of huge crop of individuals experiencing the challenge of getting on top of payments and struggling to save.

When looking at the old bank account, the knot in your throat might be suggesting a visit to a public library or prompt you to Google, “free things to do in my city this weekend” as a few tears pour out, (but only a few, the lack of sustenance you can afford will only produce so much!) Don’t fear, unless you live in Mogadishu or Kabul, there are plenty of ways to live like the Wolf of Wall Street and still fulfil your cash money goals.

So, where to? It all starts with budget and planning. Yes, the old ‘budgeting’, approach. No doubt we’ve all heard this method a hundred times from parents or that annoying accounting student we all know. It’s constantly mentioned for a reason; it works. It doesn’t matter if you’re earning mega benjamins or only a few, you have to look at what is coming in versus what is going out.

This helps you work out where you money is going and can then help you develop a strategy to start racking up pennies. Once you got a budget, you can then plan expenses by planning your life. You can plan a week of meals, transport, social hangs, whatever, meaning there will be no surprise costs that strike up like a jack in the box leading you to sing for extra coins at the train station.

We all have essentials and desirables. One obviously takes a bigger priority for quality of living, but here a few tips to merge those wants into your everyday hustle.

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1. Eats

Food on a table

    We all gotta eat. For your everyday life though, buy in bulk. With your grocery expenses buy for most meals of the week. Leave a few meals spare for eating out with mates and/or romantic mates. Yes, I feel ya, you’re probably thinking,”Eating out?! Isn’t that the worst? So expensive”. You’re not wrong, however don’t worry, I got you. As long as you’re not dining out everyday, there are plenty of ways to eat out on a budget.

    First move, get on social media, no not to perve on hot people or watch funny cat videos, get on there and follow any local restaurants, bistros, diners, bars, if it serves food, follow it. Food businesses and eateries are always posting deals, ranging from 2 for 1’s, discount hours, special offers, events, it’s how they market and build customers, why not take advantage?

    For budgeting purposes you can save bulk dimes and still enjoy the luxury of someone else cooking you up a feast.

    2. Stay Fashion Relevant

    A woman in various outfits showcasing fashion

      You might remember that moment at school when you’re sported new sneakers or mad clothes and the whole class was like “Damnnnn!!!!”. Contrarily, you also might remember that moment where you got picked on for wearing daggy threads or looking like a Kmart mannequin. Fearing that the latter may come again due to budget constraints? Stay calm, a world of affordable and trending fashion is out there.

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      Companies like Asos, H&M, Zara, the Iconic, present magic and freaking awesome options for styling up a storm. Forget about the last catalogue of Abercrombie and Fitch and Ralph Lauren, you can pick up quality plain tops, sweaters, shirts, pants, jackets, shoes for anywhere between $10 to $40 and look fit for anything from a fashion show to an ivy league party.

      The rise of the hipster and serious gentrification has meant picking up second hand apparel is also a cheap and stylish option. Fortunately, op shops are everywhere so get rummaging. The world of fashion is no longer all about labels, it’s about style and there a plenty of sources available to maintain yours on a budget.

      3. Date Nights

      Wine and Candles

        Candlelight: the perfect real-life Instagram filter.

        You don’t have to hire Hitch to spark romance or maintain it. Staying in with your significant or attractive other provides great ways to inspire love, cuddles, romance and even savings on the finance scene. Ever heard of “Netflix and Chill?” Yes, while the term has its dubious associations, it is a darn impressive service full of great, versatile content for just over $10 a month. There’s something for everyone and every mood.

        Cosy up on the couch and watch classics or discover new favourites. Don’t hesitate to follow your local cinema on social media if you prefer a bigger screen, just like restaurants, they’ll be promoting hot deals too. Or, If you happen to be a Masterchef, cooking in at home can serve up a dish of good times and speaks for itself when saving cash.

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        If you’re going to, make something edgy like burritos, arancini balls, something that is fun. Pair this with a bottle of wine or drink of preference, light a few cheap candles, dim the lights and voila, you’re on your way to recreating a scene from The Notebook. To throwback a few paragraphs, pair your date/s with a local dinner deal, even better!

        4. Bulk Gains, For Less Cash

        A woman stretching on the beach

          Provided you’re not living under a rock or militantly disbelieve basic science, exercise is pretty important when it comes to your health. Luckily, we live in a time of #fitspiration. In a nutshell, you don’t have to fork out bags of cash to stay fit and healthy, nor have you ever had to. There are plenty of cheap, small 24 hour gyms that offer more than enough for your everyday sweat and shred production.

          If budget doesn’t permit, your heartbeat can still be increased by more than just your financial anxieties. The internet is a great place to resource intel on exercise. Take notes, then hit your local park or lounge room floor and get sweating. Remember that push-ups, sit-ups, squats, running are all free and still widely used in military and professional sporting team programs. Last I checked, those guys are pretty cut.

          If you’re chasing zen, check your local council or shire as many throw free Yoga and Tai Chi classes. For more #healthyliving tips on the cheap, follow fitness fanatics or athletes on social media outlets to get even more daily workout and exercise tips. Do you even lift? No excuses.

          5. Grind and Hustle

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          A woman walking 4 dogs

            “I need a dollar, dollar, dollar man what I need,” Aloe Blacc isn’t wrong. Having an actual income when assessing finances and budget is a pretty good start, (obviously). But if you’re unlucky enough to be working hard for less, or just need more capital on top of your paycheck, the world is your oyster to make a few extra scraps.

            With a global service like Uber, you can drive up the figures displayed in your bank account. All you need is a car that meets the required specs imposed by Uber, and then let the extra cash floodgates open. If you’re not riding dirty in the vehicle game, there are plenty of creative alternatives.

            For example, roll deep with a couple of canines providing your own dog walking business. Not only does it give you great company, it’s also a method to integrate fitness while earning dosh. If you’re one of those weird people allergic or just don’t happen to like pooches, look to jobs posted on things like Gumtree or Craigslist. House-sitting, cleaning or even selling some of your possessions are easy and generally stress free ways to generate remuneration.

            Failing these options, pick up a part-time job at a bar or restaurant, a fantastic place to earn wages, get cash tips, and socialise. Eat, sleep, earn, repeat

            Alright, we may have overstepped the mark when saying live like royalty. Unfortunately that privilege is only destined for a select crop of lucky individuals. So if you’re eating rice in the dark in your apartment, with bills coming in while seeing your friends tagged in photos out and about, turn that frown upside down.

            There are countless methods to live a stimulating and adventurous life on a budget. Need help budgeting? Why not seek out a professional wealth advisor, the pay-off from an investment like this could be the ticket you need to your financial success. At the end of the day, it’s your life, your money, your budget, your goals, treat yourself where you can and know full well the world offers more than just paying the man.

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            Last Updated on January 2, 2019

            How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

            How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

            Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

            Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

            Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

            This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

            Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

            What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

            Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

            When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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            How It Leads to Financial Improvement

            It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

            Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

            Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

            It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

            Types of Personal Finance Software

            When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

            Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

            For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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            Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

            When to Use Personal Finance Software

            So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

            Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

            1. You Have Multiple Accounts

            There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

            If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

            Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

            2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

            Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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            There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

            With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

            3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

            Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

            Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

            Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

            4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

            Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

            You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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            How to Get Started

            From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

            Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

            It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

            When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

            Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

            Final Thoughts

            Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

            In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

            Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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