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Over the years I’ve learned a few things about budgeting.
One of those lessons; budgeting for non-essentials is tough! So here are some tips that I use when planning for those sneaky budget items. (Uh-hum shampoo and conditioner!)
1. Write the purchase date in permanent marker on the bottom of the bottle.
This is useful for makeup, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, face wash, perfume, toothpaste, floss, shower gel, etc. Writing the date on the bottom of the bottle will help you monitor how frequently you need to purchase those items.
It always makes me feel better spending $15-$20 a bottle for professional grade hair care and knowing it will last me 6 months for shampoo and 2 months for conditioner. And I can start budgeting for personal care more accurately.
2. Use cash for groceries.
This helps you really visualize how much you are actually spending. Using cash also triggers the pain sensors in your brain, so you will be much more likely to stick to the grocery list when using cash.
3. …And always shop directly from your grocery list!
4. Build guilty pleasures into your budget.
I’m a firm believer that money is meant to be enjoyed. The way to start enjoying guilty pleasures if by finding ways to make those things fit in your budget. If you love getting a pedicure every other month and it costs you $50- girl, get your damn pedicure. You can find $25 a month to fit in something you truly enjoy.
5. Create a separate account for those guilty pleasures.
This is a great way for you to find joy in play money. I have a travel savings account that I stock money into on occasion. If a spontaneous trip comes up that I REALLY want to go on and I have enough money saved, then I go on the trip. Easy peasy.
6. Find inexpensive ways to enjoy non-essentials.
Who doesn’t love going out for drinks with your girlfriends? There’s an adorable lounge in downtown Boise called Amsterdam. Amsterdam has the most delicious coffee cocktails. It’s like heaven in my mouth. But I can’t justify spending $12 on one drink a few times a month. So instead I hit happy hour after work and get drinks half-price. I also adore movies, but can’t stand spending $12 on a movie ticket. So I go to movies on Tuesday’s when it’s $5.
7. Create a priority list.
Sometimes Most times saying no to the little things that cause serious leakages in our budget will allow us to say yes to the things we really care about. Grab a notebook and make a list of what is really a priority to you. It’s your list, there is no right or wrong answer. If you get hair extensions every few months and it makes you feel like Rapunzel, put that on your priority list. Or maybe you love comic books and Naruto put that on your priority list.
Then put a monthly expense next to that. You may not be able to have everything on your priority list, but you will get the things that mean the most to you- no matter how silly they may seem.
These tips are all about finding ways to make your money go further. I’ve found all of these tips wildly useful in my life and it really does help alleviate the guilt that is often associated with buying items I don’t really need.
I’d love to hear from you. Comment below and let me know which tip you will start using in your life.
Forever living debt free,