When you move into an apartment, you have to manage your money so you’re able to pay rent each month. From creating a budget to meal prepping, being financially responsible isn’t as challenging as it might seem. Here are a few important things you should consider when you start budgeting—or decide to reevaluate your current spending habits.
Track Your Expenses & Build a Budget
The first step to creating a budget and getting your finances in order is to start tracking your expenses. Try creating a spreadsheet and logging all of your expenses to help you understand where your money is going. Once you know more about your spending habits, make a budget for yourself.
First, note your monthly income and any recurring expenses you have like rent, membership fees, or loan payments. Next, decide how much you want to be saving each month. Finally, divide whatever is left into different categories like food, entertainment, and travel. Try to spend the allocated amount—or less—in each category, each month.
If you find you’re spending more money than expected in one category, change your budget to reflect that by reducing the amount allocated to a different category. Just remember, it’s a good idea to revisit your budget regularly to make any necessary updates.
Reduce Spending by Meal Prepping
One easy way you can reduce your spending is to grocery shop and meal prep—or invest in a meal kit delivery service—instead of eating out several times a week. In fact, according to Forbes, “It is almost five times more expensive to order delivery from a restaurant than it is to cook at home. And if you’re using a meal kit service as a shortcut to a home-cooked meal, it’s a bit more affordable, but still almost three times as expensive as cooking from scratch.”
Research recipes online or in cookbooks and head to the grocery for ingredients. Meal prep for lunch each day so you won’t be tempted to pick up something when you’re on-the-go and consider preparing a second recipe for dinner so you don’t have to eat the same meal ten times in one week. Allrecipes, Delish, Tasty, and Food Network are all great sites to discover simple recipes. You should check out Pinterest, too!
Set Goals & Start Saving
Whether you just graduated from college, are in between jobs, or happen to be experiencing any unexpected financial burdens, it’s not always possible to save money. If you don’t have the means to save now, consider setting short or long-term goals to help you get to a point where you can save for your future needs.
When you start setting financial goals, make sure you factor in needs (i.e. an emergency fund or 401k) in addition to the things you want to save for (i.e. vacation or a new car). Since everyone is on a different financial path, it’s hard to identify goals everyone should be working towards. However, if you’re in your 20s and need help getting started, The Balance suggests these five goals; build an emergency fund, save up on a down payment for your future home, contribute regularly to your retirement fund, start investing, and establish money-saving habits.