Tagged With budgeting

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The last time I went grocery shopping, I bought the name-brand cheese instead of the store-brand cheese. The price differential between the $3 cheddar and the $6 cheddar used to feel impossibly vast; now it barely matters. It still registers, though, every time—and reminds me how much my life has changed, over the past ten years.

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Earlier this week, I ran a report on all of my 2019 spending to date, divided by category. While I’m sure I’ll have a few more expenses before the year ends, I was still able to get a fairly accurate picture of where my money has gone this year—and whether I allocated my money in accordance with my values.

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It hasn’t even been a full year since Instagram launched its in-app purchasing feature, allowing us to go from liking an image to buying whatever it is we just liked. If you’ve found yourself buying a little more than your budget can afford, you’re not alone.

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If you want to achieve your financial goals, you’re going to need to have some cash set aside for unexpected expenses.

If you want to achieve your time-based goals, whether that’s “completing my work by 5pm” or “writing a 50,000-word novel in November,” you’ll need to set aside time for both your work and the unexpected stuff that gets in the way of your work.

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Some recurring expenses in your budget are the same each month, which makes them easy to anticipate. But some budget lines are harder to keep consistent — food, for instance. Food is a necessity, after all, but it’s possible to spend way more than you need to. With some research, you can figure out a realistic range for your budget.

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It’s one thing to be frugal. You know what you want to spend money on, and you prioritise it. You know where you don’t want to spend money, and you minimise that spending. But you’re far from militant, and you can be known to cut loose with your money from time to time, while travelling or perhaps on special occasions. Frugal is fine.

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How many subscriptions do you pay for each month? Your money zips away via autopay, and you grow accustom to the benefits of such memberships: The trial-size makeup box. The monthly video-game t-shirt subscription. That app that lets you customise at-home yoga routines. The $20 or $30 per month may seem like small potatoes in the greater scheme of your monthly budget. But what if you started thinking beyond the monthly cost? Would you still want that subscription if you had to pay up front for it?

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According to You Need a Budget (YNAB), my total net worth is currently $108,940. That’s $27,213 higher than it was six months ago, when I switched my budgeting app from Mint to YNAB and began focusing on growing my net worth as quickly as possible.

I wasn’t expecting the numbers to grow quite this fast, honestly. So let’s look at how they did.

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A lot of us think about our money in terms of what it can get us. When we’re earning X (or when we’ve saved X), we can purchase Y. But if you’re working towards long-term wealth — whether for financial security, financial independence or retirement — it’s just as important to think about what you aren’t buying.

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Whether you finally landed that big client or you finally won the lottery, an influx of surprise cash is always a good thing. And it also requires some planning. Here are my thoughts on the best ways to allocate that extra money, in order.