Being frugal is all the rage these days, or so the cool kids tell me. More and more people are resorting back to the “old days” when every scrap of food was stretched, hand-me-downs were the norm, and credit cards were non-existent. This movement is leading to more and more people aiming for sustainable living and financial freedom. I am personally so happy to be a part of this awesome frugal living and minimalist lifestyle movement. Amidst all of the fantastic frugal choices being made every day, however, there are some major mistakes being made. I know because I personally made them while striving to be more frugal. The thing is, there are actually times when you need to stop being frugal and start being realistic.
When I think back on my life, there are two main struggles that stand out. The struggle to be young, beautiful and thin and over-spending my money on clothes, shoes and anything with glitter. So much time was spent in constant striving to reach an impossible level of perfection. No doubt so much of my money was spent trying to fill that “unhappy” void with useless stuff that only left me temporarily happy. But, that’s a whole different issue in itself. Today I want to talk about how to manage your finances more wisely. There is undoubtedly a link between spending money and staying beautiful. However, that is not the link I’m talking about. This link between wrinkle cream and your finances goes much deeper and frankly can be solved a lot more simply. Well, maybe.
I have loved booking different vacations and we have always used a travel agent because I was too afraid to ever even attempt to make plans on my own. Whenever I brag about our travel agent, I’m surprised to find a lot of people don’t take advantage of them! Booking flights, hotels and excursions can be easier than ever and you can do it on a budget. Instead of scouring the internet trying to get the absolute best deals around you can book your travel plans all in one place. Personally, I don’t know if I could book an affordable, amazing trip without a travel agent. That’s why I really wish I had known that there is easy access to a type of online travel agent. You can literally book flight, hotel and excursions all in one location!
Be honest – how often do you think about your financial future? It doesn’t matter whether you are in your teens, twenties, thirties or forties, there are still many years of work and earning potential ahead of you. And if you are like many people around the country, you probably think you will be OK by the time you retire. You might have a nice little 401(k) set up with your current employer, and perhaps a little bit of savings set aside for a rainy day. But is it enough?
We have been budgeting for about 5 years now and our first budget was really not great. We tried, we definitely thought we were doing our best but there was still so much we were missing out on. It’s no wonder we continued to struggle financially. Now that we have a good handle on our budgeting, it’s crazy to think about all those little things that would jump up and bite us in the butt (financially speaking) but we never took the time to change our budget for them. This is how it goes for a lot of people. After subtracting your bills, you think you’re all done budgeting. In reality, you have only spoken for a portion of your total budget. After sitting down to budget, if you don’t find yourself with a balance of $0 then you’ve missed something. Every single cent should have a place. It’s like doing the laundry, you don’t just put away your work clothes, the important ones, and just leave the rest in a pile on your floor and call it a day. Well, maybe you do; but you should definitely not do this with your money! So what are some things you might not be budgeting for, but you should?
Have you checked your credit score recently only to be disappointed with the figure that is staring back at you? Perhaps you know why your credit score is bad; you went through some financial troubles and now you want to build your credit rating back to good health? Or, maybe you are shocked your score isn’t better? There could be a number of reasons why your score isn’t great – it could be that you have no credit history at all, or that you are using all of your available credit (even if this is just a couple hundred of pounds). No matter what applies, you can improve your credit score, and here’s how…