Budget Your Way to Financial Independence
Today, we’ll have a look at budgeting and saving money. I’ve made a few videos and blog posts about this before, but there’s a lot more to cover. And why today? What made me think about this right now? Well, it’s partly due to all the emails you guys send me (by the way, I really appreciate your feedback and I read every single one of them!). But there’s something else as well.
Last week, I visited my family in Bulgaria, and I saw something that I’m sure you’ll find very inspirational.
My 85 years old granny managed to save 2000 leva (which is about £940) in just ten months. And believe me when I say this – 2000 lev is no small thing for an 85 years old Bulgarian pensioner. She wanted to do something nice for her grandchildren, and she was determined to do her best.
I receive a ton of emails about investing. It turns out that a lot of you are quite interested in becoming financially independent. And, as a person who loves sharing information and helping people, this makes me very happy. I get to share my experience and help you achieve your dreams at the same time.
A lot of people have a problem with budgeting and financial management. And that’s understandable since most people today want to lead lavish lifestyles, even on an average wage. I’ll admit that, a few years ago, I was also guilty of this on occasion. I was happy with how my business was going, so I would treat myself every now and then.
But that’s not a good idea even if you do own a business.
Do you know why?
Because you need money to make money!
If you want to save money, you need to plan ahead. Yes, this goes for everyone – no matter who you are, where you come from or what you do for a living, you need to be realistic. You need to sit down and think about your options.
You need to take budgeting seriously.
When you want to start saving, you can always find a way to do it. And you don’t need to wait to get a promotion or to start your own business before you can get started. Yes, if you make more it’s easier to save more, but the sooner you start, the better!
Just for reference, my granny has a total of ten grandchildren (and great-grandchildren).
As long as you want to do it, as long as you are motivated, you can definitely learn how to save. Of course, you need to start small. I always make a note of this, but I’ll repeat it again:
If you want to make lasting changes in your life, you need to introduce them gradually. Don’t try to change everything overnight, because it’s just too much. You risk getting overwhelmed and giving up.
Start Saving Early
Those of you who are still young and live with your parents have an excellent opportunity to save. You should still help out with bills and stuff, but most parents don’t really ask their kids for rent. And, even though most teenagers and young adults are eager to spend rather than save, I’m sure that you’re not like that. After all, you are here, looking at my content, because you want to make a positive change in your life, right? You are here because you want to learn to save money. This is the first step!
We can use my favourite green living device as an example here. I own a Kangen Water machine. And yes, no matter how you look at it, it is a pretty significant investment. But, in the long-term, it is helping me save money. A lot of money.
Ever since getting my Kangen water device, I’ve stopped buying:
- Bottled water
- Cleaning solutions
- Make-up removers and beauty solutions
All of these things allow me to reduce my carbon footprint and save at the same time. You can read more about my Kangen Water journey and how it changed my life here – A Healthy Life Is Your Most Vital Asset and Here’s Why.
The older generations, especially where I’m from, know how to save, simply because of how they grew up. My country, along with a decent portion of Eastern Europe, wasn’t doing so well financially. The economies were in bad shape, the wages were low, and the working conditions were pretty harsh. This taught people to live frugally. They know how to lead a decent life without spending a lot of money.
And here, I’m showing you a bit of what they know, adapted to our current age.
Now about my granny, you might be asking yourselves– why did I, as a London business leader, accept the money? After all, 50 leva is about £23, which is almost nothing in the UK. Yet, she wanted to give this gift not just to me, but also to my daughter and my partner and my daughter’s partner So, in total, she gave us 200 leva (roughly £90).
Well, if I have to be honest with you, I didn’t really want to take the money. Because even though it’s not much for us, it’s a hefty sum in Bulgaria. Here, £90 can cover an entire month’s worth of bills, and you will even have a bit of cash leftover afterwards.
But she wanted to give us the money as a present. It was her way of showing us that she thinks of her family. There was no way for us to refuse unless we were willing to risk offending her. And that’s the last thing I’d ever want to do. It is the intent here that counts, not the sum of money. For me, this gesture is priceless.
With this money, we bought a few small pieces of jewellery. We plan to keep them as a memento of her gesture and a reminder of how easy it is to save money when you really put your mind to it.
For her, we’re all equally important. She said: “You might have a business in some faraway city in some distant country, but you are still my granddaughter. I am not going to give you a smaller present just because you’re a bit better off financially. “
Afterwards, I had a brief chat with her about this, and she shared that she put a lot of thought and effort into saving enough money to give us all these presents. Every evening before going to bed, she would go through her budget and take notes on her progress.
So, as you see, you don’t need to be a big shot to be good at budgeting. You don’t need to live in a fancy apartment or run a business. As long as you have the drive and motivation, it is possible to save.
Now, let’s take a look at how this is done.
First, you will need to get into the habit of tracking how much money you spend. Don’t worry; I know that you can’t perfectly recall everything you buy immediately. This is why I suggest you take your time. A week or two should be enough but take as long as you need. Every day, after coming home from school or work, take a moment to write down everything you spent money on. And I do mean everything:
- The cost of your commute
- Your food expenses
- The coffees, water and drinks
- Small tickets or fees
- Membership cards, subscriptions and hobbies
Use a separate notebook or just an Excel spreadsheet on your computer (I prefer to do this digitally because it’s a lot more convenient and eco-friendly).
Effective Budgeting Tip #1 – The Essentials Come First
A couple of weeks later, you’ll know exactly where your money is going. Once you get a clear look at the picture, you can begin planning your budget. First, write down the necessities:
- Bills, rent, mortgages and other (necessary) living expenses
- Commute and travelling expenses
- Food and health-related expenses
These are non-negotiable. You can’t skimp on the necessities. You need to pay your bills, you need to be able to get to work on time, and you need to eat. There is just no way around it.
Effective Budgeting Tip #2 – Everything Else is Optional
But there definitely are things that you can go without. These include:
- Restaurants, bars and pubs
- Fancy new clothes
- Items for your home that you don’t really need
- Cleaning solutions (more on that later!)
- Expensive hobbies
Effective Budgeting Tip #3 – Subscriptions add up
I’m talking about newspaper subscriptions, Sky, Netflix, digital services, gym memberships and so on. Ever since I became a minimalist, I cancelled almost all of my subscriptions. I don’t read newspapers, and I don’t watch TV anymore. Instead, I spend my time reading and listening to E-books and watching YouTube videos. And yes, I do have a premium YouTube subscription, but it only costs me £10 per month. If I were worried about my spending, I would cancel that as well.
Effective Budgeting Tip #4 – Healthy Diets Are More Cost-effective
Limit your visits to pubs, cafes and restaurants. And before you get me wrong, I’m not telling you to stop going out with your friends completely. Instead, you should set a limit for how many times per month you want to do that and allocate a specific budget to it.
A cup of coffee at your local café is going to cost you a lot more than one you prepare at home. Besides, you can always invite your friends over and help them save a bit of money as well!
And the final benefit here is … health and eco-friendliness – when you prepare things at home, you can control the entire process from start to finish. You get to decide on the ingredients, you can stick to eco-friendly cups and cutlery, and you can use high-quality water.
Effective Budgeting Tip #5 – Quality over Quantity
You don’t need to buy a new outfit each season. Yes, it might feel like you have the money to spare at the moment. And yes, that particular piece of clothing might look tempting. But here’s the thing – high-quality clothes can last you for at least a couple of seasons without getting worn out. Look for quality, rather than quantity and take good care of your clothes.
Effective Budgeting Tip #6 – Think Before You Buy
The small purchases can quickly add up. Don’t fall for marketing tricks. If there is a “buy two, get one free” type of deal, but you only need one of the items, you should hold on to your money.
Custom-tailor Your Budget to the Situation
Personally, I stopped going to the gym. And I can’t recommend this to everyone, because we’ve all got different circumstances, health situations and routines.
Right now, I just don’t have enough time for frequent trips to the gym. Recently, we moved to a place outside of London, and the nearest gym is pretty far. The trips would take a lot of time (which I don’t have) and going just once or twice per week isn’t enough to justify the monthly fee.
Please remember that all of this is highly individual. It’s up to you to decide what you have to keep and what to remove from your spending. The one thing that you should absolutely never compromise with is your health.
Just because I cancelled my gym membership doesn’t mean that I’m not doing anything physical. I work out at home while watching videos or listening to audiobooks. I also take a thirty-minutes walk every day.
As a side-note, I would highly recommend working out and walking to everyone – physical activity increases your energy levels and improves your overall health and wellbeing. If you’d like to learn more about healthy living, please head on over to the health section of my blog: https://lifestyletipsbyantoaneta.com/categories/health/
Still, if a pensioner can save up so much money, then anyone can do it. She doesn’t have some high-income job or business; she just put her mind to it and adjusted her budget.
At her age, she isn’t interested in investing. But if she wanted to, a sum like that would’ve been a great starting point. I know that a lot of you are here precisely because you want to invest because you want to improve your situation in life and achieve financial independence.
And remember – no excuses! People love making excuses like “but I can only set aside £100 per month” or “my entire pay-check just disappears immediately and I can’t save any money”. But these are just excuses. If you want to save, you can definitely find a way to do it. A bit of planning is all it takes to get your budget in order.
And that’s about it for this post! I know this went on for a bit longer than my usual articles, but I believe that it’s well worth the read. Besides, I really wanted to share the story about my granny while it was still fresh in my mind.
In closing, I’ll ask you once again to give this post a thumbs up if you enjoyed it and share it with your friends. If you have any questions or ideas about budgeting and saving money, don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments section below – I always love hearing from you. You can also reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Social Media – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube Channel.
Thank you all for reading, and until next time:
Stay green and motivated!
Suggested Further Reading:
- 7 Great Ideas How to be Better with Your Money – More about budgeting
- Personal Financial Rules – Why financial independence is so important.
- Learning How To Make Wise Investments 7 Ways To Go – And here’s what you can do with all the money you save.
Minimalism and Healthy Living:
- A Healthy Life Is Your Most Vital Asset and Here’s Why – My Kangen Water journey
- My approach to minimalism in 15 steps – Why I chose minimalism
- How to live a minimalist life – My very own minimalism Ebook
- How to use ionised water – How I use Kangen Water for my home and office
© Lifestyle Tips by Antoaneta
Recommended books for further reading: