Monday, February 8, 2016

organizing expenses


since I moved twice last year and had to spend a lot of money on my health - not regretting this, but I had to set my priorities straight. out of need, I had to simplify my life and now that I'm back on top of things, I'd never go back!
so here's what helped me organize my expenses & afford living my life as I wish:

#1: inventory.
after moving into a shared apartment, and then finally into my own small space, my belongings are down to an absolute minimum, what a relief! basically what I did is go through all of my stuff and made three piles: keep, store or give away/trash. if you only have limited or no storing space, put those things away in a box. if you haven't touched that box in a year - in the bin it goes!

#2: clothes.
same goes for clothes. I used to shop for fun every other month - couldn't afford that anymore. I'm lucky to have a lot of friends with my size, so we end up swapping or sharing clothes. instead of buying, I look up second hand clothes and go for a more timeless, durable style.

bonus tipp: colour-theme. when looking at my wardrobe, I found my clothes are all within the cool colour range - black, white, grey, with bits of blue and green. after realizing that, I found it a lot easier finding new combinations for old bits in my wardrobe.

#2: money.
I started tracking my expenses about six years back, even before I moved out to live on my own. just because I had money left at the end of the month, doesn't mean I can automatically afford an own apartment! I found it always hard to tell where all my cash goes.. bills, larger amounts are obviously all documented on my bank account. I use an app for all my cash expenses now and divide into categories: food, car, apartment, insurance/saving, phone/internet, emergency/exceptions (repair, accidents, etc.), hobbies and, no joke, alcohol. 

#3: partying.
my number one expense was alcohol and partying. you never realize how much you really spend on different things until you document it. admitting to myself that I spend more cash on booze than food is well, quite shocking. that led me to point #4.

#4: budget.
so, you've got your expenses documented, which means now you can evaluate - what's important (next to housing & food, obviously)? where can I save money? and that's where the budget sets in. I tried to do a weekly budget, but ended up being too lazy. nowadays, I try to consciously think everytime I go out: what am I going to spend money on? why? how much? and set myself a limit. 

#5: temptations.
whenever I'm out and about, I estimate the amount of cash I will need, and leave the rest at home. if friends take me on their shopping spree, I leave my wallet in the car. this actually takes some practise, but after a couple of months, I tried to shop for random clothes but simply couldn't. "I don't need this" & "think about the next time you'll move house!" kept creeping up in my mind and I was honestly impressed with myself!

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