Wednesday, December 12, 2018
50 Budget Hacks for 2019
You feel that? I know I do. It’s that gross feeling of your money being bled from you this time of year. As the lump develops in your throat, you start thinking about your money situation. Is this Christmas craziness breaking you financially? Is it just pissing you off like it is to me? Can you live like this anymore? Christmas comes every year, and they start celebrating it in August now, so why does it always feel like a financial surprise. Let’s get this right, once and for all. Today I am giving you 50, yes 50, Budget Hacks for 2019. If you can do even 5 of them, you will be rolling next year!
1) Bring a lunch
You can payroll deduct your lunch where I work, in the cafeteria. No thanks! Brown bag it folks. If you don’t think it saves money, you’re wrong. In my mind, lunch should never cost more than a few bucks. The people bringing their own are saving a ton of money annually.
2) Don’t hate leftovers
I know people that refuse to eat leftovers. Here is a question: Who do you think you are? Too good for reheated food? Your dinner from the night before makes an amazing lunch for the next day. Heck it beats the PB and J sandwich the guy next to you has, and I’m not knocking PB and J, it’s great too. It takes nothing to make a little extra food and save on another meal folks.
3) Bring your coffee
Three coffees a day and there goes an hour’s pay that day. That’s sad. It’s literally a liquid you will flush down the toilet during your shift. Bring your own coffee if you need it that bad. I would rather pay 25 cents a mug than 4 bucks for one and so should you.
4) F*** Starbucks
How is this place still open? No seriously, how is it open? There isn’t Grey Goose in it, so why does it cost so much? If you have a daily Starbucks quota, it needs to be cut back. David Bach wrote a whole book on the Latte Factor, I suggest you read on what this addiction can be costing you.
5) Kill your Amazon Account
I walk into my building every night and walk by numerous apartments with a box from Amazon waiting out front. This disturbs me on a high level. Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world for a reason. It’s because people have no self-control. If you can’t not use Amazon, kill your account ASAP.
6) Stay away from the mall
Aren’t malls only for old people trying to get their steps in? Everything is overpriced at the mall and you get sucked into buying junk you don’t need. It’s like some guilt thing that if you walk into a store you feel obligated to buy. Don’t fall for it, fight the power.
7) Cut down on drinking
I made a lot of money in my early 20’s. Sadly most of it ended up in a urinal at Jim Bob Ray’s Nightclub in Downtown London, Ontario. Drinking is a complete waste of money. Now I like a drink with friends as much as the next guy, or even one after a long day, but I moderate now. 2-3 is enough, and only if I can afford it.
8) Just don’t drink
In my mind, there are 2 reasons to drink: To celebrate or to drown your sorrows. Which one are you? Let’s be real, do we actually have to drink after work? No, but it’s a ritual thing. I laid off the booze, or any fun for that matter, for 5 years and paid off 50K of debt and saved up 50K as well. That’s a 100K swing in 5 years! If you are in dire financial straits, or can’t balance your budget, this could be the reason.
9) Brew your own
Okay, so we have determined that you are a borderline alcoholic. Fair enough. The least you can do is save on booze. Brewing your own wine can be done for around $2 a bottle! In the stores, wine can cost you around $10-$15 for the same thing. Your glass of wine may stop you from killing your kids when you get home, so we will take the lesser of 2 evils here and save on cost.
10) Bring a list when you shop
Groceries are insanely expensive these days. You should always bring a list so you aren’t walking away with crap you don’t need. The grocery store is a trap, just like the mall. They hire psychologists to build those things and design them to make you buy more. That’s a fact. Be vigilant and only get what you need.
11) Never go shopping hungry
Been there, done that. Funny how our minds work. When you are hungry, grocery shopping ends up like Super Market Sweep. You run down the aisles like the world is coming to an end. Eat before you go to solve this problem.
12) Meal prep
Taking one day a week to prep your meals saves you time and money. It also stops you from dining out because you’re tired and promotes buying in bulk, which saves money as well.
Now I don’t like doing this, but couponing can save you tons. There are plenty of gurus who share their knowledge and even apps you can use to help you out.
14) Delay Purchases
I delay purchases so long that I forget about them. Everything seems like a need when it first enters your mind. As you delay, you start to learn to live without that thing you thought you had to have.
15) Use a budget
Seriously, do it. My life changed when I finally organized my finances using a budget. You see where everything goes, and it all becomes crystal clear. It is simple grade 2 math folks.
16) Review your budget regularly
There is no point to a budget if you aren’t reviewing it on a monthly basis. This is YOUR money and unless you are on top of it, you will never have enough of it.
17) Use free software and spreadsheets
Don’t get caught up in paying for budgeting software. You can use a simple Google Sheet or Microsoft Excel to make your budget. Heck, you can even write it on a piece of paper.
18) Turn off the lights
Nelly Furtado is my girl. If you aren’t home, or in the room, turn off the lights. Saving on electricity is good for your wallet and the environment. I love seeing how low I can get my bill to be every month.
19) Negotiate your bills
I just got 16GB of data for $65! A little yelling can go a long way. There is no reason you should be paying top dollar for your services. See if your carrier will chop your bill, or shop around and find someone that will.
20) Negotiate your debts
Creditors have built in the cost of delinquency into your monthly payments. By crying poor, you may be able to shave money off what you owe. Threatening bankruptcy used to be my go-to. Try it out, what do you have to lose?
21) Pay off debts
We all know that interest is a female dog to our monthly budgets. Taking 2019 to become debt free is a noble goal. It will save you thousands and is the base element of financial freedom.
22) Vow to never pay interest
I get deep when it comes to interest. I call it juice and the juice man never comes calling for me. I MAKE interest, I don’t pay it. If you make this a vow, you will be remarkably successful.
23) Cut up your credit card
Just like some people shouldn’t have a bottle of vodka in their house, some shouldn’t have a credit card. If you cannot help yourself, cut up that card. Use debit for all your purchases. Being broke is one thing, but being broke and owing money is a completely different, much worse thing.
24) Consolidate debt
I do not advocate refinancing as a solution to your money woes, but if the math supports it, you got to do what you got to do. Make sure your interest rates go down, and your cash flow is freed up. If you do refinance, it should be a lesson to right the ship. Save money ASAP so you never have to be in this position again.
25) Stay Organized
People who have no money are usually disorganized. A chaotic life leads to chaotic finances. Organize your home and office and keep a calendar. It feels good to be on top of things, believe me.
It is amazing how much stuff can build up just from everyday life. Minimalism is a beautiful thing, so focus on staying clutter-free. It also prevents you from adding clutter, which costs money. Any new thing stands out like a sore thumb when you are a minimalist.
27) Donate unwanted junk
Many people would be very thankful for that sweater you never use or the toys your kids forgot about. Make it an annual routine this time of year to give the things you don’t use away to those in need.
28) Use your old stuff
I can almost guarantee you have older stuff at your house that is still good. Reduce, reuse, recycle was a mantra for a reason. If it still good, use it. You don’t need the latest of everything.
29) See a money coach
A money coach can give you an honest, unbiased opinion on your financial state. A second set of eyes that is outside your walls may be what you need to get it all in order.
30) F*** your phone
I get it. We all live on our phones. That doesn’t mean it should be a monthly car payment. That doesn’t mean it should control you. Literally 10 years ago it wasn’t that big of a deal. 20 years ago, it didn’t even exist. Think about that. Somehow, we all survived those flip phone years….
31) F*** Apple
If this company owns your soul, you need to re-evaluate. Your dollar or two or ten a month heading their way is helping them hide money on the Isle of Man, and not pay taxes. It also helps buy the safety nets that keep their workers from dying when they jump out the windows of the Apple factories in China.
32) F*** Amazon
Okay sorry, no more swearing, I promise. But yes, I mentioned Amazon already and they get another special mention. This company, while ingenious and convenient, is monopolizing on all our ignorance. If you have a prime account, you messed up my friend.
33) Drink water
Water is essentially free, for the time being. Drink it instead of soda or juices. It is better for you and better for your wallet.
34) Buying books is insane
Knowledge should be free in my opinion, so if you must buy a book, get it on the cheap. There is also this thing called a library and it’s not just a place where the homeless place chess.
35) Drop a car
If you are a 2-car family, re-evaluate that. Cars are very expensive and if you NEED 2 of them, maybe living closer to your place of work is the right move.
36) Commute together or carpool
I think couples, if possible, should commute together. Also, there is no reason why co-workers can’t go to work together either. It’s good for the earth and good for your bank balance.
37) Ride your bike
This is tough for us who live in freezing cold weather right now, but when its warm out, riding your bike is a great option. It’s cheap and it gets you some well-needed daily exercise.
38) Get an electric car
They are fairly pricey right now, but that cost is coming down. Depending on your finances and transportation costs, it might be a good solution. Crunch the numbers and see if it works for you.
39) Say no
No is a beautiful word. You don’t have to attend every party, dinner date, staff outing, family gathering, or any other event. You also should learn to implement the word no with your kids. It will change your life and theirs, for the better.
40) Don’t dine out
I come from the service industry and believe me, you are getting ripped off. That $15 meal cost $2 to buy and prepare. Dining out is the #1 BUDGET KILLER in our society. It’s 100% true.
Most of us live near beautiful areas that have many fun things to do. There is nothing wrong with taking your vacation at home and just relaxing. Remember, broke people don’t, or shouldn’t go on vacations.
42) Host parties or potlucks
The weekly gathering after your softball game could be a potluck or BBQ in the backyard. It doesn’t have to be wings and beer at the local roadhouse. Take turns hosting the potluck, or BBQ and you will be amazed at what you can save.
43) Saving is sexy, for real
Saving money is not only good for your wallet, but it’s also good for your mind. It feels good to watch your accounts grow. It gives you confidence, strength, and peace of mind. Don’t believe me? Try it.
44) Have an emergency fund
Most Canadians have less than $1000 in emergency savings. This is extremely scary. With no emergency savings, you are easily brought into debt when something comes up. Debt requires interest payments and now the cycle has begun. Make it a goal to build up some emergency savings in 2019.
45) Get philosophical about spending
You see those “anti-establishment,” “non-conformist,” blowhards who are usually annoying and in our faces about our consumerist ways. They are also usually better off financially. Your spending should reflect who you are. When you look at it this way, it will curve your spending to reflect your values.
46) Get the kids in on it
You are budgeting and saving money and so should the whole family. Reward frugal behavior from the get-go. Discourage excess and gluttony. Kids are sponges and they will become a reflection of the morals you instill in them. Make saving money fun, and it will become one of their values too.
47) Pay in cash
Most people need to be on a cash-only diet. Most get “swipe-itis” and cannot control using credit or debit. If that is you, take out the cash you need for the week and when it’s gone, you’re done. The cash diet actually trained me to think about purchases and instilled frugality in me.
48) Pay with credit
This is the opposite of the above point, but some people are the reverse. When they have cash, they blow it. If this is you, use credit and then make sure you pay off the balance in 48 hours. I use credit for everything now, but it is paid off within a day. This was a result of my cash diet and frugality training. I am one with my checking account. 🙂
49) Automate savings
Most people don’t have the discipline or wherewithal to make regular savings contributions. If this is you, then you MUST automate your savings. Have money come out of your account when you get paid and send it far away. Tell this money “Bye-Bye” and you will see it when it is greatly needed, like in retirement. If you do not save on a monthly basis, you will be poor when you are old. That is a fact people.
50) Give a shit
Okay, one last swear word. You MUST care about your money in 2019. This isn’t about preaching, or sounding smart, or anything else. Your relationship with money is the most important one you will ever have in your life. Either you control it, or it controls you. It’s how we live the life we want, give to those we care about, and never worry about what’s next. It’s hard work, but it is essential to your financial success and it is so, so, so worth it. Trust me.
“Frugality and minimalism are not just a way of life, they should be THE way of all our lives.” – Joe Francis – Budget Boss
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