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World’s 20 Most Expensive And Affordable Cities To Live In

World’s 20 Most Expensive And Affordable Cities To Live In

Many different rankings of the world’s most affordable and expensive cities exist, but several fail to take into account different ways of life in other countries. For example, over populated countries that raise the price of registering a car in order to encourage residents to take public transit are often cited as more expensive countries. This does not take into account the fact that most residents in these countries do not typically own a car.

On the other hand, lists of the cheapest cities to live in usually do not take into account the lifestyle and safety of a place. For example, Haiti or Pakistan may be among the cheapest countries to live in, but civil unrest means you are unlikely to settle there. One ranking from Expatistan however, compares cities based on a slew of realistic purchases in food, living, entertainment, and transportation.

Among the 247 cities categorized, many fall in dangerous or underdeveloped regions. For this reason, and to compare a wide spread of locations, we’ve taken twenty cities out of Expatistan’s most and least expensive cities around the world. With these practical considerations in mind, these are 10 of the most expensive and affordable cities you’d want to live in:

Most Expensive

10. Hamburg, Germany

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    Gunther Wegner

    Ranked number 66 out of 247 cities, Hamburg is among the more affordable “expensive” cities. With nearly 2 million residents and an impressively temperate climate, Hamburg is one of the most attractive cities for expats.

    Average costs:

    • Fast food combo meal  $8
    • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.28
    • 1 kg of apples  $3.27
    • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.81
    • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $1 577
    • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $106
    • Monthly transit pass $92
    • 1 roll on deodorant $2.48
    • 2 tickets to movies $26
    • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $7

    9. Vancouver, Canada

    1793982892_3ac7d7f535_b

      JamesZ_Flickr

      Also among the more affordable cities in the “expensive” list is Vancouver, Canada. Ranked 53 out of 247 cities, Vancouver boasts about 2.5 million residents in the greater metro area.

      Average costs:

      • Fast food combo meal  $7
      • 1 litre of whole milk  $2.47
      • 1 kg of apples  $2.75
      • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.35
      • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $2 124
      • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $125
      • Monthly transit pass $89
      • 1 roll on deodorant $3.98
      • 2 tickets to movies $23
      • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $10

      8. Tokyo, Japan

      4092898500_572c94582e_b

        sebastien batardy

        The next most expensive city on our list is Tokyo, Japan, ranked number 37 out of 247 cities. Unsurprisingly, with nearly 38 million residents, this city is among the more expensive cities when it comes to rent.

        Average costs:

        • Fast food combo meal  $5.60
        • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.82
        • 1 kg of apples  $5.42
        • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.29
        • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $2 749
        • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $70
        • Monthly transit pass $92
        • 1 roll on deodorant $6
        • 2 tickets to movies $31
        • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $3.88

        7. Honolulu, United States

        7109721751_2ce3abb315_b

          John Fowler

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          With only about a million residents in the greater Honolulu area, Honolulu’s isolated location in Hawaii likely accounts for it’s higher than average prices. Coming in at number 27 of 247 cities, this slice of paradise is still more affordable than New York City, Sydney or San Francisco.

          Average costs:

          • Fast food combo meal  $8
          • 1 litre of whole milk  $2.08
          • 1 kg of apples  $5.95
          • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.47
          • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $2 620
          • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $74
          • Monthly transit pass $80
          • 1 roll on deodorant $4.22
          • 2 tickets to movies $21
          • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $10

          6. Amsterdam, Netherlands

          5238675948_3b5dd8fe83_b

            Moyan Brenn

            Originating as a small fishing village around the 12th century, Amsterdam has grown to a premiere European destination. Ranked 23rd out of 247 cities, Amsterdam sees slightly lower rent than other “most expensive” cities, but higher prices on day to day purchases.

            Average costs:

            • Fast food combo meal  $9
            • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.27
            • 1 kg of apples  $3.07
            • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.57
            • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $2 266
            • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $127
            • Monthly transit pass $113
            • 1 roll on deodorant $3.17
            • 2 tickets to movies $26
            • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $8

            5. Paris, France

            6672156239_822c689d3d_b

              Moyan Brenn

              Ranked 14th out of 247 cities, Paris is home to some of the most famous destinations in the world, including the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and countless fashion and food events. While transit costs and basic groceries are average priced, on this list only New York City and Zurich cost more for rent.

              Average costs:

              • Fast food combo meal  $9
              • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.62
              • 1 kg of apples  $3.02
              • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.98
              • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $3 285
              • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $102
              • Monthly transit pass $81
              • 1 roll on deodorant $4.85
              • 2 tickets to movies $25
              • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $9

              4. Sydney, Australia

              2553570276_1106779499_b

                Corey Leopold

                Another popular tourist destination, Sydney is ranked 13th most expensive by Expatistan. While rent costs are lower than some of the other “most expensive” cities on this list, more expensive transit and consumer goods push this city higher in the rankings.

                Average costs:

                • Fast food combo meal  $7
                • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.40
                • 1 kg of apples  $3.60
                • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $3.05
                • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $2 708
                • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $123
                • Monthly transit pass $127
                • 1 roll on deodorant $3.80
                • 2 tickets to movies $33
                • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $17

                3. New York City, United States

                10842014626_6e48b04fa1_h

                  Roman Iakoubtchik

                  Number 7 of 247 cities, New York City sees high prices for most goods and services. With about 8.5 million residents, New York also is among the most pricey for rent costs.

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                  Average costs:

                  • Fast food combo meal  $7
                  • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.54
                  • 1 kg of apples  $3.92
                  • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.19
                  • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $4 075
                  • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $85
                  • Monthly transit pass $114
                  • 1 roll on deodorant $4.13
                  • 2 tickets to movies $28
                  • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $13

                  2. Oslo, Norway

                  4468389726_8b2b18e43d_b

                    2Tales

                    Oslo, the capital of Norway, ranks 4th most expensive out of 247 cities around the world. Though rent costs fall below those in New York or Paris, Oslo sees higher costs on groceries, transit and other goods.

                    Average costs:

                    • Fast food combo meal  $14
                    • 1 litre of whole milk  $2.36
                    • 1 kg of apples  $2.91
                    • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $4.55
                    • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $2 883
                    • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $134
                    • Monthly transit pass $107
                    • 1 roll on deodorant $5.90
                    • 2 tickets to movies $33
                    • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $15

                    1. Zurich, Switzerland

                    11875643915_13dc8540e9_k

                      kuhnmi

                      According to Expatistan, Zurich is the most expensive city to live in in the world. On average, from fast food to rent to entertainment, purchases in this Swiss hub cost more than anywhere else.

                      Average costs:

                      • Fast food combo meal  $14
                      • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.76
                      • 1 kg of apples  $3.58
                      • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.71
                      • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $3 594
                      • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $154
                      • Monthly transit pass $97
                      • 1 roll on deodorant $6
                      • 2 tickets to movies $38
                      • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $8

                      Most Affordable

                      10. Valencia, Spain

                      valencia

                        Felivet

                        Velencia is the third largest city in Spain, with about 2.5 million residents in the greater metro area. Ranked 165th, this city also boasts affordable rent, transit and consumer goods. 

                        Average costs:

                        • Fast food combo meal  $8
                        • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.40
                        • 1 kg of apples  $2.18
                        • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.78
                        • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $1 006
                        • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $93
                        • Monthly transit pass $52
                        • 1 roll on deodorant $3.94
                        • 2 tickets to movies $21
                        • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $5.97

                        9. Bangkok, Thailand 

                        7032083211_a730e00ce8_k

                          Evo Flash

                          Since Thailand is known for affordable vacations, it should be no surprise that Thailand is one of the more affordable cities to live in, ranking 194th out of 247 cities. Despite nearly 15 million residents in the greater Bangkok area, rent for this city remains accessible.

                          Average costs:

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                          • Fast food combo meal  $4.64
                          • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.34
                          • 1 kg of apples  $2.68
                          • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.16
                          • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $1 200
                          • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $106
                          • Monthly transit pass $28
                          • 1 roll on deodorant $2.93
                          • 2 tickets to movies $11
                          • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $2.57

                          8. Lima, Peru

                          9444298324_6e28dfb861_k

                            Serious Cat

                            With a bustling population of about 8.5 million, Lima is not only the capital of Peru, it is the fifth largest city in North and South America. Despite a high population density, this city offers affordable groceries, rent and transit.

                            Average costs:

                            • Fast food combo meal  $4.84
                            • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.28
                            • 1 kg of apples  $1.95
                            • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.96
                            • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $1 006
                            • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $95
                            • Monthly transit pass $27
                            • 1 roll on deodorant $4.91
                            • 2 tickets to movies $11
                            • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $2.67

                            7. Budapest, Hungary

                            8082258732_dd1e56bdd8_k

                              Moyan Brenn

                              Another affordable European city is Budapest, capital of Hungary. Ranked 208th, Budapest not only offers cheap cost of living, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

                              Average costs:

                              • Fast food combo meal  $5.74
                              • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.12
                              • 1 kg of apples  $1.20
                              • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.57
                              • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $669
                              • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $90
                              • Monthly transit pass $40
                              • 1 roll on deodorant $2.87
                              • 2 tickets to movies $14
                              • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $4

                              6. Casablanca, Morocco

                              Parc_de_la_Ligue_Arabe,_Casablanca

                                Unknown

                                Slightly more affordable than Budapest is Casablanca, Morocco, coming in at 210 out of 247 cities. While rent in Casablanca is higher than several of our most affordable cities, residents get a break on the price of transit, groceries and consumer goods.

                                Average costs:

                                • Fast food combo meal  $5.81
                                • 1 litre of whole milk  $0.83
                                • 1 kg of apples  $1.83
                                • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.35
                                • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $1 098
                                • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $78
                                • Monthly transit pass $21
                                • 1 roll on deodorant $3.33
                                • 2 tickets to movies $13
                                • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $3.72

                                5. Prague, Czech Republic

                                St Charles Bridge Prague

                                  Jorge Royan

                                  Also on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites is Prague, ranked 211th out of 247 cities. Another top European city for cheap cost of living, this city is also home to a temperate climate and is consistently ranked as a top vacation destination.

                                  Average costs:

                                  • Fast food combo meal  $5.81
                                  • 1 litre of whole milk  $0.95
                                  • 1 kg of apples  $1.36
                                  • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.59
                                  • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $962
                                  • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $79
                                  • Monthly transit pass $25
                                  • 1 roll on deodorant $2.99
                                  • 2 tickets to movies $14
                                  • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $3.57

                                  4. Bucharest, Romania

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                                  8020977260_94c7cde397_k

                                    Mario Sánchez Prada

                                    With around 2 million residents, Bucharest is the center of Romanian culture and art. This eastern European city is ranked 214th, making it another affordable option with a rich cultural past.

                                    Average costs:

                                    • Fast food combo meal  $5.13
                                    • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.33
                                    • 1 kg of apples  $1.09
                                    • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.65
                                    • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $800
                                    • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $80
                                    • Monthly transit pass $16
                                    • 1 roll on deodorant $4.22
                                    • 2 tickets to movies $13
                                    • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $4.08

                                    3. Krakow, Poland

                                    5214905_ddee0e6f0e_b

                                      Craig Wyzik

                                      One of the oldest cities in Poland, Krakow is ranked 217th on the list of most expensive cities. Affordable living expenses and commercial goods make this city an ideal place to settle for expats.

                                      Average costs: 

                                      • Fast food combo meal  $5.05
                                      • 1 litre of whole milk  $0.83
                                      • 1 kg of apples  $1.05
                                      • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.68
                                      • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $909
                                      • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $73
                                      • Monthly transit pass $27
                                      • 1 roll on deodorant $3.15
                                      • 2 tickets to movies $12
                                      • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $3.76

                                      2. Lodz, Poland

                                      8076430869_84885dca06_b

                                        Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland

                                        Also located in Poland, Lodz is centrally located with about 1.5 million residents in the greater metro area and sits at number 227 out of 247 cities. Another affordable European city, Lodz is a relatively safe and secure city boasting impressively accessible cost of living.

                                        Average costs:

                                        • Fast food combo meal  $5.19
                                        • 1 litre of whole milk  $0.86
                                        • 1 kg of apples  $0.85
                                        • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.51
                                        • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $706
                                        • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $85
                                        • Monthly transit pass $24
                                        • 1 roll on deodorant $3.22
                                        • 2 tickets to movies $13
                                        • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $4.01

                                        1. Delhi, India

                                        6849982923_9b58efd08d_b

                                          VasenkaPhotography

                                          Delhi, the capital of India is the most affordable city to make it onto our list, ranked 239th out of the 247 most expensive cities. Known for it’s high population density and rich history, Delhi is truly a hotspot for those looking for affordable international destinations.

                                          Average costs:

                                          • Fast food combo meal  $3.93
                                          • 1 litre of whole milk  $0.74
                                          • 1 kg of apples  $1.92
                                          • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.11
                                          • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $502
                                          • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $56
                                          • Monthly transit pass $17
                                          • 1 roll on deodorant $2.70
                                          • 2 tickets to movies $8
                                          • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $2.72

                                          All prices are in US dollars, based on conversion rates in November 2014. See Expatisan’s full city ranking here.

                                          Featured photo credit: sebastien batardy via flickr.com

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                                          Published on October 8, 2018

                                          13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

                                          13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

                                          Are you having trouble sticking to a family budget? You aren’t alone.

                                          Budgeting is difficult. Creating one is hard enough, but actually sticking to it is a whole other issue. Things come up. Desires and cravings happen. And the next thing you know, budgets break.

                                          So how can you stick to a family budget? Here are 13 tips to make it easier.

                                          1. Choose a major category each month to attack

                                          As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” With that in mind, one approach to help you get into the habit of sticking to a budget is simply starting slow.

                                          Spend too much on Starbucks runs, eat out too often, and have an out-of-this-world grocery bill? Choose one bad habit and attack.

                                          By choosing one behavior to focus on, you’ll prevent yourself from being overwhelmed. You’ll also experience small victories, which help you gain positive momentum. This momentum can then carry over into your overall budget.

                                          2. Only make major purchases in the morning

                                          If you’re making large purchases in the evening, there’s a good chance you’re doing so after a long day and you’re probably tired.

                                          Why does this matter? Because our judgement tends to be off when tired – our willpower is compromised.

                                          Instead, only make major purchasing decisions in the morning when you’re energized and refreshed. Your brain will be firing on all cylinders and your resolve will be high. You’re less likely to give in and settle at this point.

                                          3. Don’t go to the grocery store hungry

                                          Have trouble with impulse buys at the grocery store? If so, there’s a good chance you’re going grocery shopping while hungry.

                                          The problem here is that when you’re hungry, everything looks good. So you’re more likely to make split decisions on things that aren’t on your grocery list.

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                                          Instead, make sure you eat prior to your grocery store trip. Then take your list, along with your full stomach, and go shopping. Notice how food doesn’t look quite so good when you’re not fighting cravings.

                                          4. Read one-star reviews for products

                                          Is there a product you just have to have (but maybe not really)? Check out the one-star reviews.

                                          By reading all the horrible reviews, you may be able to basically trick yourself into deciding that the product isn’t worth your time and money.

                                          Next thing you know, you didn’t make the purchase, you saved the money, and you feel good about the decision.

                                          5. Never buy anything you put in an online shopping cart until the next day

                                          If you are making a purchase online, it’s typically a two-step process. First, you click “Add to Cart” and then you go in to review your cart and pay.

                                          The problem is that there not typically much reviewing during step two. It’s generally click pay and there you go. However, this is the perfect point to stop for reflection.

                                          Once you add to your cart, your best bet is to step away until the next day. Let the item sit there and grow cold, so to speak.

                                          This gives you a night to “sleep on it” and decide if you really want and need to spend that money. If you wake up the next day and still find the purchase viable, then perhaps it’s time to go for it.

                                          6. Don’t save your credit card info on any site you shop on

                                          One of the other pitfalls of shopping online is that fact that most sites ask you to save your credit card information.

                                          While the sites will frame it as a method of convenience, the truth is they know you’ll spend more money in the long run if your credit card information is saved.

                                          The “convenience” takes away one last decision-making point in the purchasing process. True, it’s a pain to get out your credit card and enter the information every time. But guess what? That’s the point. If that inconvenience helps you stay on budget, then it’s worth it. Which leads into the next tip.

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                                          7. Tape an “impulse buy” reminder to your credit card

                                          Credit cards make spending much easier than cash. When you spend cash, you can literally see your wallet emptying. A credit card comes out, then goes back in. No harm, no foul.

                                          That’s why it’s a good idea to tape a reminder to your credit card. Customize a message that is something along the lines of “do you really need this?” or “does it fit the budget?”

                                          That way when you pull out the card, you get one last reminder to help you question your decision and stick to your budget.

                                          8. Only use gift cards to shop on Amazon

                                          Amazon is probably the easiest place online to blow money. It’s just so easy to click and buy. However, one way you can slow the process down is buy only using gift cards. Here’s how it works.

                                          If you plan on making a purchase on Amazon, go to the grocery store and purchase a pre-loaded Amazon gift card of the proper amount. There’s no convenience fee, so you literally pay for the money you’ll spend.

                                          Now take that gift card home and load it to your Amazon account. There’s your money to spend.

                                          Why does this help? It makes you have to purposely go to the score and purchase the card in order to purchase the item. That’s a pretty deliberate thing that takes some time, commitment, and thought.

                                          This process will effectively kill the impulse buy.

                                          9. Budget using cash and envelopes

                                          As mentioned earlier, it’s a lot harder to spend cash than swipe a credit card. You can take this even farther by using only cash, and separating that cash by budget category.

                                          Create an envelope for each category and stick the cash in there at the beginning of each month. When the envelope is empty, no more spending on that category, unless you borrow from another (be careful of that approach).

                                          This can be pretty helpful for people that have a hard time following transactions in their checking account, or keeping a budgeting spreadsheet.

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                                          The envelopes simplify the tracking process, leaving no room for error. Nothing hides from you because it’s tangible in the envelopes in front of you.

                                          10. Join a like-minded group

                                          Making the decision to stick to something like budgeting is difficult. It takes long-term commitment.

                                          You’re going to feel weak sometimes. And sometimes you may fail. That said, support from others can help strengthen resolve.

                                          Support can come from a spouse or a friend, but they won’t always have the exact same goal in mind. That’s why it’s a good idea to join a support group that’s likeminded.

                                          No need to pay here, as there are tons of free communities that fit the bill online.

                                          For example, reddit has multiple subreddits that deal with budgeting and frugal living. You can follow, subscribe, and get active in those communities.

                                          This will open your eyes to new tips and strategies, keep your goal fresh on your mind, and help you realize there are others dealing with the same struggles and being successful.

                                          11. Reward Yourself

                                          When you set a budget, it’s usually with a large goal in mind. Maybe you want to be debt free, or perhaps you want to see $10,000 in your savings account.

                                          Whatever the case, the end goal is great, but the end is often far away, making it hard to see the end of the tunnel.

                                          With that in mind, it’s a good idea to set mini-goals along the way. This helps you still look at the big picture but have something that’s attainable in the short-term to help with momentum.

                                          But don’t stop there – set rewards for yourself when you reach that small goal. Maybe it’s an extra meal out. Or a new pair of shoes.

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                                          Whatever the case, this gives you something in the near future to look forward to, which can help with the fatigue that can result in pursuing long-term goals.

                                          12. Take the Buddhist approach

                                          You don’t have to be a Buddhist to recognize some of the wisdom in the teachings. One of the tenets of the philosophy involves accepting that we can’t have everything we want. And that’s okay.

                                          Sometimes you won’t feel good. Sometimes you’ll have cravings. You can’t deny them. But you can recognize them, accept them, and let them pass by. Then you move on.

                                          Apply this to the times you want to do things that will break your budget. You’re going to have the desire to eat out when you shouldn’t. You might want to stay out and spend too much at happy hour with your work friends.

                                          The feelings will come. Recognize them, accept them, but let them go.

                                          13. Set up automatic drafts to savings

                                          If you wait until you’ve spent all your budgeted money to deposit money into savings, guess what? You probably aren’t going to put any money into savings.

                                          It’s too easy to see that as extra money and end up using it to treat yourself.

                                          Instead, set up automatic savings withdrawals. That way, the money is marked and gone before you can even think about it. It becomes a non-issue. It’s no longer “extra.” It’s just savings.

                                          Conclusion

                                          Sticking to a budget can be difficult. No one is denying that.

                                          However, if you can do a few things to set yourself up for success, and put some practices in place to curb impulse buys, then you can (and will!) be successful sticking to your family budget.

                                          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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