Most people end up living by themselves at some point in their lives, whether they’re just getting out of their parent’s house, find themselves alone after a divorce or just lost their spouse. And while living alone can be frightening at first, it can be a rewarding experience if you learn how to manage your budget. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you budget your expenses when you go it alone.
Calculate Expenses in Advance
Calculate your current expenses to determine how much you can afford for an apartment or house. Besides rent, you’re going to have to pay for food and household supplies, electricity and gas, your cell phone, water and sewage, the internet, cable television, gasoline for your car, clothes, haircuts, entertainment and pet food if you have a cat or dog. Whenever possible, make sure you have enough for at least three to six months of living expenses on hand in the event of an emergency, according to Intuit Mint Life.
Limit Variable Expenses
Although it’s tempting, try to limit variable expenses such as entertainment, meals at restaurants or expensive personal care items. You may be able to save on the later by switching brands or finding your product online.
Pay Yourself Each Paycheck
Paying yourself means taking $5, $10 or even $25 per paycheck and socking it away in a savings account. This is money you won’t touch unless you absolutely need it. It will also give you a buffer when unexpected expenses arise, such as a car repair or medical treatment that requires a deductible.
Save Credit Card For Emergencies
Don’t get in the habit of paying everything by credit card. Although it’s an easy transaction at the store, you’ll be accumulating interest over time, and consequently, paying more in the long run.
Most stores today take both print and electronic coupons. Spend time finding coupons on the items you frequently purchase, which will cut back on your food bill.
If you follow these tips and flip those lights out when you’re not using them, you’ll be surprised how fast you’ll start saving money. And whenever you want to purchase something like a new television, set money aside in advance instead of splurging at that moment.