Keeping a solid budget requires being able to tell the difference between things that you need to buy and the things you want to buy. Living on a budget requires that you take care of your needs first, and then move on to your wants if you have a bit of extra money. Sometimes the sheer number of your needs will overwhelm your budget, making you think there isn’t much hope of meeting every need. It’s times like these that your budget needs a bit of slimming to make ends meet and you have to start cutting some of your needs.
Luckily, there are many things that you may identify as necessities, but turn out to be nothing more than wants in retrospect. Today’s culture teaches that you are a machine full of needs that need to be met. If you have a hole in your sock, you need to replace it. If your nephew’s birthday is on Saturday, you are expected to buy something new for him. If you feel the slightest bit of hunger, you must get something to eat to keep going. These needs are often merely wants described as needs. The following are 5 ways to open your eyes to critically analyze your “needs”:
1 month Test
One of the easiest way to evaluate a purchase as a need or a necessity is to refrain from purchasing things on a whim. When you’re walking through the store and see something that you think you absolutely need, refrain from putting it in your basket. Write down the name of it and the date you saw it, and then write a note to reevaluate this need in a month from today. Take some time away from that thought for a while and then, if at the end of the month you still want it. More often than not you will find you don’t need it and are quite glad you didn’t buy it.
Repair damaged things (i.e. clothing, appliances, etc.)
There are many items that today’s culture will tell you that need to be replaced: a torn shirt, a hole in the sole of your shoe or a broken toaster. Many of things are easily repaired by yourself, or by a professional. Fixing it is almost always cheaper than buying a new one, even when you have to hire someone else to do it for you. Today’s culture will try to tell you to just replace it. Replacing everything gets extremely expensive.
When you open your eyes to the possibility of fixing it instead, you can save yourself quite a bit of money.
Make Your Own Gifts
Back in the day, a child would be happy with a hand carved pony made by her father. Today, a child would still likely be just as happy with that, but fathers have stepped away from that style of gift giving in favor of the eight minute drive to Wal-Mart and a $35 dollar purchase of a toy made by someone else. Making a present yourself will be much cheaper than that and have more meaning to you and your kids. There’s a lot more to a present than just how expensive it is. You can give great gifts for free, saving you money.
Invite friends over to play games
Getting together with your friends often entails going out to do something, thinking that paying for something will somehow legitimize your activity as a proper hang out. This is not always the case though. Simply inviting them over for dinner, play games or watch a movie is cheap and easy to do. You can have just as much fun at home as you can going out to do something. Find ways to stay at home and you’ll begin saving immediately.
Drink more water
So often, when our culture feels the inklings of hunger, people are on their feet and pulling out their wallet as they approach the vending machine. Many times, your hunger is easily sated by staying hydrated. If you keep your wallet where it is and head straight to the drinking fountain, you’ll save your money and be satisfied until your next big meal. Eating something isn’t always the answer.
These 5 items will hopefully help you open your eyes to the possibility that you don’t always need to be blinded by things you think you need. You can actively identify important purchases that are actually wants if you follow these techniques. If you do find yourself in a pickle though, and have more needs than you can afford today, but can have the money in the future, consider seeking out a payday loan at Check City. We’ll help you get the money you need to cover your needs today.