Requested by Michelle Jennifer

BEST WAYS TO BUDGET YOUR MONEY 💰💳💸

Whoa, this was hard! And I don't know how much it'll really help anyone else and I feel vastly underqualified, and I'm not sure if this was what you even remotely had in mind, and I'm scared to submit this bc it feels boring and lame, but here goes. My first request! 😳 thanks, @michellejennifer!
  1. I have to start with a caveat that it helps to have had a dad who had an economics degree from Harvard and was the best saver I've ever known: he was able to retire at 55. That guy invented extreme couponing and is how I could go to 7 years of private higher education with no loans. Miss you dad.
  2. Second caveat, I'm single and live alone and have no kids, so this probably isn't realistic to most people
  3. But good, careful budgeting is the only reason I can say that the only people I owe money to right now are my car loan and my mortgage company.
  4. First and foremost, I highly recommend using an app. I really like YNAB (literally You Need A Budget) but I've heard there are other free ones out there!
    YNAB is so great because it is flexible, but it only allows you to spend and budget money you have already received, which means you can't go into debt, which is 💯 💯💯 they also help you set goals for bigger purchases down the line and prepare for emergencies! Their biggest thing I'd prioritizing, and I love that. I can't recommend it highly enough! http://www.youneedabudget.com (i don't work for them, promise!)
  5. Prioritizing is huge for me, really being able to decide what I'd rather use a certain amount of money for. I wrote about it on my list about saving for travel so I won't bore by repeating:
  6. But probably the single biggest thing I've learned to do, and it was really hard (especially in a really expensive, materialistic city like LA), was to pay attention to every small purchase because every few dollars seriously adds up! Some examples:
  7. I almost never get take out 🍜
    For me, eating out is a social thing, so getting take out feels like a waste of money (it's also less healthy, side benefit!) since I'm just bringing the food home and not getting the social component. It also helps that I love to cook!
  8. If I know my friends are going to an expensive restaurant, sometimes I have a lil snack first and just get an app 🍢
    I also try to avoid doing valet if I can.
  9. It helps that I'm not a drinker, and I especially almost never order alcohol when I go out. 🍹
    Recently, my friends and I splurged on a pricey dineLA restaurant. My bill was $50 and the people who drank spent TWICE that.
  10. I love coffee but I only get it out a couple times a month ☕️
    To allow myself to still enjoy it, I buy really really good coffee from the farmers market. It's expensive but I did the math and it only costs me about .25 a cup! I have a little milk frothing wand so every morning I have a cappuccino! And it's better than Starbucks anyway 😎
  11. As soon as I decided I wanted to make travel a priority, I opened a separate savings account as motivation... Seeing that account grow to the point where I can book a trip makes all the sacrifice worth it!
  12. I buy stuff on sale and with coupons whenever I can
    Yes it takes a little more time and effort, but I have to buy toilet paper anyway, so why not pay less?
  13. I never get my nails done
    I've grown to love doing them myself every Sunday night. It's become a little ritual 💅
  14. I learned it's ok to say no.
    Several of my friends make more money than I do. They'll sometimes suggest expensive activities. Unless it's something I really want to do, I've become ok with saying, sorry that's not in my budget right now. It's the adult, boring version of peer pressure I guess!
  15. I get the max taxes taken out of my paycheck (0 exemptions) so I get used to living on less, then I put my tax refund right into savings
    I know there are very different opinions on this and people say I'm loaning the government money. I know I know, but this works for me.
  16. On the other hand, I allow splurges because deprivation never works. 🤑 this is where my dad made no allowances, and I know I want to live a fuller life than he did. Sure he passed away with money, but did he enjoy his life? And it's really not hard to budget for!
    Sometimes I get that Starbucks or that cocktail or buy the pretty dress or go to the expensive activity. Because I deserve it! 😀 and it's really satisfying when I do because I know it's something I thought about and really wanted and it wasn't just an impulse thin. Also, because I'm budgeting with an app, I can budget my splurges and not have to think twice about it because I know I can afford it!
  17. I also try to be conscious of little things that waste money
    I unplug my tv at night and when I'm out of town (and try to watch electricity usage in general). I have a water filter and never buy bottled. I'll go a little out of my way to get gas at Costco because here it's like 30c/gallon cheaper, stuff like that.
  18. And finally...
  19. This may sound silly and obvious, but at the end of the day, I know what I need to be happy and my basic expenses are within my means
    I drive a small, inexpensive car, and I bought a small condo because I didn't need more space than that. It helps that I'm not really materialistic in general, but it helps more that my big monthly bills are well within my means, which allows me to safely and generally easily budget the rest of my money for both fun stuff and the future.