• Tynisha Sanders

Balling on a Budget

In times of economic uncertainty, it’s wise to get creative with your budget. Here are a few small things you can do to free up some extra cash and have fun while doing it:

Cut back on eating out. At one point eating out daily had become the norm for me. It was convenient, particularly during my lunch breaks. Going out for dinner became not only a favorite pastime but also a way to socialize and catch up with friends and acquaintances. As much as I enjoyed it, eating out was putting a dent in my pockets.

How I changed it…

· Meal Prepping. Planning your meals in advance helps you save money because you’re not buying food on impulse. Preparing your food at the start of your week will require some type of budget. You can create your own meal plans or go with a company who offers predesigned choices such as Hello Fresh or Blue Apron. Don’t forget your lunchbox or necessary containers so you can package your lunch to take with you each day.

· Practice Discipline. When I’m hungry, any and everything looks yummy. Therefore, it was easy for me to spend ridiculous amounts of money for lunch just to turn around and buy food again for dinner. Being aware of my thoughts and making conscious decisions about food choices and money were the keys to practicing discipline. (Discipline was also required in order for the meal planning to occur.)

· Cook at home. Once I began cooking at home, I started to actually have fun with it. Cooking is art and as with anything, the more you do it the better you become at it. I saw a significant difference in my budget once I started inviting friends over for a home cooked meal versus meeting out for food. It’s more personable and my friends looked forward to gatherings centered around eating.

Learn how to do things yourself. Like many others, I was once addicted to convenience. Anytime there was a problem my first instinct was to find someone to fix it, immediately no matter the cost. I realize now that was a defense mechanism and a prime example of throwing money on a situation instead of actually learning the lesson from it.

Here’s how I did it…

· Become Self Sufficient. Get out of the habit of paying for convenience and learn to do things yourself. Instead of paying someone to mount my television, I went on YouTube and learned how to mount it myself. Instead of paying the hairstylist every week, I learned how to cut, color and style my hair myself (see below). If the task is massive then, of course, outsource it. Otherwise, have fun with projects & you’ll be surprised at the things you’re capable of doing and the amount of money you will save.

· Be Frugal. Rather it be the grocery store or retail, I rarely purchase anything full price. In terms of retail, outlet malls are a great example of frugal shopping. At the end of each season, a new line is introduced by popular fashion designers, therefore the label sends last season’s clothing to outlet shops. This affords us the opportunity to purchase luxury designer clothing for 50% to 80% below ticket price.

· Sell on eBay. We all harbor unused items in the closet, attic or in storage that we no longer need. We tend to keep them around for sentimental value but in tough economic times, it’s okay to let the junk and old clothes find a new home. Sites like Poshmark, OfferUp and even Facebook marketplace are great free platforms where you can sell new and used items to earn some extra cash.

· Avoid Paying Bank Fees. Banks make a ton of money by charging small unnoticed fees to their customers. Insufficient funds, monthly maintenance fees and ATM withdrawal fees make up a large portion of the bank’s revenue. Balance your checkbook properly to avoid paying those pesky $35 insufficient funds fees.

“Being self-sufficient never goes out of style. Neither does being smart about your money.” Tynisha Sanders


IG @thetynishasanders

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