Friday, July 20, 2007

How to Survive on a Budget

As a kid, I was the one who ate all the candies at once instead of saving them for the week and savoring them one at a time. On the other hand, as a teenager it seemed that I always had plans for the next 5 years and knew exactly what I wanted to do. I am not sure what happened in the middle for this change to occur!

My goal in the next 5 years is to start tracing my own path towards financial independence, and by this I mean that my source of income will not solely be my job.

This blog is for women who want to take charge of their future starting today. Sometimes you will find that my ideas are too serious or too strict when it comes to money management, but this is the way I chose to live my life to achieve my goals as a Biz Girl.

Last time we discussed a Biz Girl budget; here are some tips to help you live on this budget:

If you live in the city, you might not even need to buy a car. Otherwise, take your time, shop around and preferably buy a used car in a good condition. I bought my car for $2000 in my last semester before graduating and spent another $2000 on fixes. It ended up being a good deal: the car has been cooperative for the past 2 years and now that I have learned how to manage my finances, I am ready to get an upgrade that I can afford. Make sure you do research about car types, prices, etc. before any purchase. You can save thousands of dollars!

Based on the example of last time, our Biz Girl had $375/month for food, if we divide it by 30 days we get $12.5/day.

Obviously, eating out on a daily basis is not realistic. Welcome to Compromise World: you might want to have lunch with your colleagues, so you will have to eat breakfast and dinner at home. A common trick is to keep the exact amount of cash reserved for eating out per week so you don’t spend money you don’t have.

Trust me, you can buy a lot of food for $375/month in a supermarket and more importantly you will be healthier! Stack up on fruits and vegetables, cheese, dairies, lean meat, etc.
Take your own snacks and meals to work.

For example (very simple example):
if you buy a pack of soda from the supermarket, the can would cost on average 25 cents versus $1 if purchased from the vending machine. You will basically save 75 cents. Let’s say our Biz Girl drinks 1 can of soda per day at work, 5 business days a week, she will save $15 a month if she brings her own soda can. This translates to $180 a year! Or let’s say an iPod (oh, now it makes a difference!).

Your best friends are Outlet Malls and Sales. You can easily buy 2 well tailored pants and 2 shirts for $125 from a very good store in an Outlet Mall. Remember, your work wardrobe is going to keep growing, so don’t feel like you need to buy the whole wardrobe on the first week of your job. Use the tips posted earlier on this blog to mix-&-match your clothing items. I will definitely come back to this subject in more detail.

Keep tuned for more budget survival tips on Sunday :-)


The Biz Girl

1 comment:

Maths private tutor said...


Great information in this post and I think a common trick is to keep the exact amount of cash reserved for eating out per week so you don’t spend money you don’t have.