Spring is here, and the warmer weather might make you feel more inclined to go outside and spend more money. If you’re experiencing a large increase in your spending as sunny days get longer, now is the right time to budget better so you can stay on top of rent, utilities, and all your other apartment costs. Here are five ways to budget better this April.
1. Set a monthly grocery budget
To make a monthly food budget, you’ll need to first determine your disposable income. You can calculate this figure by subtracting your monthly expenses – rent, utilities, insurance, and loans – from your monthly income.
Experts recommend that food budgets be approximately 10 percent of your disposable income. Following their advice, you can calculate 10 percent of your disposable income and make it your food budget. Additionally, buying specific groceries, meal prepping, and keeping a spreadsheet of your purchases can keep you from overspending on your food budget.
2. Set a leisure budget
Similar to a grocery budget, financial experts recommend that your leisure budget not be more than 10 percent of your disposable income. Instead of going to a restaurant, you can save money by inviting a friend or two over. Then, you and your friends can have a nice dinner at your apartment.
Having an affordable social hobby can also be cost-effective for you to reel in your leisure spending while seeing other people. Most importantly, if you decide on plans when you see people, then you’ll have more control of your spending.
3. Use energy more wisely
You can reduce your energy bills by following a few simple tips. First, make sure your apartment’s thermostat isn’t high. You can lower your bill by approximately 10 percent if you lower your thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees. Another way to lower your bill is to unplug any unused devices and turn off lights when you’re not using them. Additionally, LED light bulbs are more affordable since they consume less energy, and they can thus reduce your electricity bill.
4. Do chores yourself
Laundry day may be a hassle, but doing your chores yourself instead of paying someone else to do them will save you money. Laundry services may seem convenient and save you time to do other things, but they can be pricey, and you won’t have control of your clothes. If your laundry service loses your clothes and you need to buy new clothes, that’s yet another cost.
If you want to make sure you’re not overspending your disposable income, it’s also a good idea to forgo hiring an apartment cleaning service. These services usually charge $25 to $50 per hour, and even if your apartment is small, cleaning jobs might take at least two or three hours.
5. Know what you don’t need in your apartment
Lastly, it’s smart not to buy unnecessary items for your apartment. You don’t need certain single-task items such as specific food slicers for different kinds of food. You also don’t need tableware or other decor items you will rarely use.
Looking for more budgeting tips? Read the below My First Apartment articles:
- Your Hassle-Free Electricity Budgeting Checklist
- Five Ways to Save on Your Winter Heating Bill
- Store Brands Vs. Brand Names: Which Is Really Cheaper?
- Help! I Want To Save But My Friends Love Going Out
Which budgeting tips will you follow to budget better this April? Share your thoughts in the comments!