These Are The 14 Budgeting Hacks I Have Learned As A Recent Adult, And I Swear By Them

·5 min read

As a young adult and student, spending money wisely is a new skill I had to cultivate. When I moved out of my parent's place, the reality of how easily money can slip out of my hand hit me. Since then, I have been experimenting and figuring out ways to stick to my budget and not end up living paycheck to paycheck. Here are the eight budgeting hacks I have learned by experimenting, and I swear by them.

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1.Meal planning and prepping.

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A while ago, while going through my bank statements, I realized that eating out is where I spent most of my money. Most of the days I don't know what to eat or don't have all the ingredients needed for a dish and I just end up eating from outside or ordering in. I was way over my food and grocery budget. That's when meal planning came to my rescue. Here is what it looks like:

Once a week, make a list of what your meals for the week will be. Make a grocery list. You can add one meal or two that you plan to eat, depending on your budget. This will stop you from impulse buying and eating out often. This way your diet will be much more healthy and you will have more control over what you eat.

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2.Write down your expenses.

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Keeping track of expenses is crucial to living within your budget. There are many ways to do this.

You can use a budgeting app to note down your expense. I personally like to write down my expenses on paper at the end of each day. This helps me understand where exactly my money is going and helps me reduce my day-to-day expense consciously.

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3.Give yourself two days before you buy anything new, especially online.

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Impulse shopping is another black hole where most of my paycheck goes. Every time you feel the urge to buy something, don't do it right away. Add the item to the cart and leave it there. Revisit after 2-3 days, and see if you still feel like buying. If you still feel like you need it, go ahead and get it. More often than not, you will not feel like getting it anymore.

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4.Overestimate your expenses.

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While setting a budget, always overestimate your expense. This will leave room for unforeseen expenditures and help you stick to your budgeting goals.

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5.Save wherever you can.

A grocery bag

One thing I have learned in my few months of being an adult is that it is always the trivial expenses that drain your paycheck. It is also how you save money.

Do your research, and see where you can save money. For example, my local grocery issues a card that the customers can use to get a 10% discount on all their purchases. This literally means I save 10% from my grocery budget.

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6.Use public transport.

Traveler at a metro station

Public transport might not be the way to go in all places, but if your city has a good public transport system like the metro or good bus service, make full use of it. Also, public transportation often sells monthly or weekly passes at a discount. See if your city has a similar system and get yourself a metro/bus pass.

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7.Wait for sales season.

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Sales are the best time to splurge a bit and get the things you want. The sale season comes every three months or so. Waiting for sales season to make big purchases can save you big bucks.

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8.Shop in bulk.

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Get things that you buy regularly like detergents, shampoos etc. in bulk. This can help reduce packaging waste and save some extra money.

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9.Thrifting clothes, furniture and books.

A student buying clothes at a thrift store

Thrifting is a great idea even if you are not looking to actively save money. You can do this by following thrift stores on social media platforms, going to yard sales etc. Furniture and home decor can be found on Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp etc.

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10.Have a daily budget.

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Adhering to a monthly budget can be difficult for many different reasons. I have found it easier to have a daily budget and stick to it.

To find out your daily budget, first, you have to separate all your expenses into monthly and daily expenses. For example, your rent is a monthly expense, while your bus fee or morning coffee will be a daily expense. Once you have it separated, subtract the total expenses that recur monthly from the monthly budget and divide the rest by the number of days of the month. There, you have your daily budget.

If you happen to go over your daily budget one day, you can make up for it by watching out for it on the next day. This will help you be on track with your expenses.

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11.Split subscriptions.

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If you use paid subscription services like Netflix, Amazon Prime etc. you can save some money by sharing and splitting the subscriptions with friends and family.

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12.Regenerate your produces like lettuce and basil.

13.Use a vision board.

Picture of a vision board

If you are saving up for a particular occasion, product or trip, make a vision of what you are saving up for and place it where you will come across this constantly. Having a specific goal will help you rethink your impulse purchases.

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14.Try a no-spend day, week, or month, to avoid tempting purchases.

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No spend can mean anything you want it to mean. It can be a week without eating out, buying clothes or going out.

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