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Budget Management: 10 Simple Tricks to Help You Save Money

Budget Management: 10 Simple Tricks to Help You Save Money

Stress is a pretty silent but a very strong killer and the most common source of stress people are dealing with today, is money. Being something that we can’t live without and that simultaneously isn’t a thing a lot of people can gather easily, money can be a serious issue.

You should get rid of this raining cloud that keeps following you around. First of all, it’s important to understand that the chances of a distant cousin leaving you with a huge inheritance and turning your luck around are quite negligible and you shouldn’t count on them.

However, the good thing is that you can enjoy your lifestyle and improve it significantly if you introduce a couple of changes to your life.

Make a Realistic Plan

People who overspend usually do it because they are unaware of their spending limits. Having nice things implies that you have to work hard for them – so, be realistic. If you want to stop starving during the last week of each month, you should begin them by making a budget plan. Thus, you’ll be able to stretch your budget, afford all the necessities and direct those leftovers towards enjoying yourself.

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Mind Your Cooking

First of all – if you don’t prepare your meals at home, you should start. Eating healthy should be on the top of your priority list; it’s the source of your health and energy – and it’s less expensive than eating out.

Once you’ve got quality sorted out, you need to focus on quantity. A huge number of households are wasting enormous amounts of food by preparing too much, eating too little and throwing out the rest. You will need some time to harmonize the amounts of ingredients in your meals, but until you’re a pro, you should eat leftovers – simple as that.

Goods Exchange

Instead of purchasing new clothes or books, you should settle for used items. Many great organizations and websites out there are built as mediums and serve to connect people who want to exchange their used goods for others or sell them for a lower price than those you’d expect to see in stores.

Turn off Cable

Most households still subscribe to cable TV because out of nothing more than maintaining a habit. The truth is that you can spend more time with your personal computer or smartphone than watching TV and it seems like this appliance has become more of a noise regulator than an entertainment source. Besides, everyone is turning towards mediums like Netflix, as they are less expensive and a lot more user-friendly.

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Use Public Transportation

Other than being a green alternative, trains and busses are also a cheaper transportation method that can actually be faster if you harmonize your schedule with theirs. Sure, cars are comfy, private and all that, you’re used to that luxury, but it’s a thing you can live without. At least for now.

Change Your Phone Plan

Many people just sort of go with the plan their mobile career selects for them – you should change your phone plan because you can. You should evaluate how much you actually use your package because I bet that you spend more time using Wi-Fi. Considering the fact that your smartphone is one very personal item, you should adapt it to your needs.

My suggestion is to think about mobile phone insurance as well, so that you have a backup if it gets lost, stolen or damaged – you won’t have to worry about those costs if that time comes.

Collect Coupons

If you’d like to spend less money, you should invest more time. In order to cut your shopping costs regarding the essential list of items you find necessary like groceries and hygiene products, you should gather coupons and use them wisely. Almost all supermarkets and stores have an extensive list of discount offers you should definitely take advantage of.

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Entertain Guests

These changes will affect your social life as well, but that doesn’t mean that you should withhold from socializing – simply move it from overpriced bars and restaurants to your home and entertain your guests.

My suggestion is to make a selection of must-see things – your favorite band having a concert or an exhibition you’ve been waiting to see for a really long time and save up for those events. Going out should be all about spending quality time and doing the things you like – I’m sure you got bored on numerous occasions by following your friends to an event you’re indifferent about and this change is going to have a positive effect on that.

Think about Electricity

Simple things – I’m sure you’re already familiar with this because every single article about saving money mentions it – like turning off lights when you leave the room, make a significant difference at the end of the month and you should apply them.

One more thing that’s less known – you should unplug all appliances you don’t use because that way, you won’t spend any “phantom energy” those very same appliances are draining even when they’re not turned on.

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Consult Professionals

People go to school in order to learn how to manage budgets, so this is a skill you learn. If you don’t seem to make a difference and you still end up getting back to old spending habits, you should either consult a professional or sign up for a class.

This investment of your time into learning about money and how to treat your budget properly will make you a happier person in time – it did so for me. Life is a better place when you don’t have to worry or stress out over bills each day.

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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