When I first got into blogging I was in the middle of university so had a hefty student loan grace my bank account at the start of each month and lived slap bang in the middle of pretty good town centre. These two really don't mix, as I always found a reason to go have a mooch around the shops; 'I'll just go for a little walk around, stretch my legs,' 'oh I only need a few things,' 'I'm just going to Sainsbury's to get a banana, but there's no harm in popping into Boots' were regular sayings out of my mouth. Couple that with the fact that I was hooked to my laptop devouring blog post after blog post and watching video after video, I knew there was so much I wanted to buy. Once after watching a YouTuber rave about a product I walked into town at 6 o'clock on a Friday evening and picked it up. I was a woman obsessed.
Now that I actually earn my own money and don't have the safety of my student loan or interest free student overdraft (I actually have to pay it back now, sob! Although I've managed to pay off my overdraft in less than 6 months which I'm proud of) I've learnt to be a lot more careful with my money, and thought someone else may learn(!) from the budgeting tips and tricks I've picked up.
1) Set yourself a weekly/monthly budget and stick to it - Each time I get paid I sit down and work out how much money I want to put in savings, outgoings that will occur in the month (think phone bill and any other standing orders) and then see how much I'm left with. A then give myself a weekly budget which I use for food, petrol, meals out and the odd treat. If you are a student trying giving yourself monthly allowances rather than spending your loan all at once, it saves the beans on toast for tea meals that occur at the end of the month.
2) Set yourself a small amount for treats - Being on a budget doesn't mean you can only buy budget items. I still love treating myself to a fancy brand lipstick or blusher, but because I've budgeted it for it I get to enjoy it guilt free, which is even better. I like to see how much money I have at the end of the week and then treat myself to the item I want. Much better than buying it and having to scrimp for the rest of the week.
3) Read in-depth reviews and don't impulse buy - Hands up how many of you have purchased an item because your favourite blogger has mentioned it (raises both hands and feet too)! It happens. It's easy to get lost in a blogger hype however what works for some doesn't work for others. There are lots of bloggers whose blogs I love to read but know we don't have the same skin type/tone so I approach the products the mention with caution. However with bloggers I know have similar skin types as me I tend to focus on buying those products. If there is a product I'm thinking about trying I try to find reviews before purchase and try not to go into Boots or Selfridges without knowing what I want to buy as it stops me buying items I don't need.
4) Keep note of what you're buying/keep receipts - This is slightly anally retentive and probably not for everyone but I like to write down each night how much I've spent that day in a diary and keep track of how much money I have for the rest of the week. I also like to keep my receipts to prove to myself how much I've been spending. I great thing about keeping receipts also means that any impulse buys I make can be returned. Especially useful as I hate trying things on in shops but always used to misplace my receipts.
5) Shop your (and your friends) stash - Chances are you've already got a big stash of make-up hidden somewhere (so your mom doesn't see and shout at you)! Go through your stash and re-live some old gems, and consider how similar they are to new items you're coveting. It's really easy to think you need new items to blog about, but finding old ones and creating new features, for me, is much more appealing then reading the 100th review on the new Urban Decay palette (sorry peeps!) I also love seeing what's in other people's make-up bags, so why not see what you're friends are using too? Chances are they could have some products they no longer want and you could do a little swap?
Obviously these tips are not profound and have more than likely been said countless times before, but they are the ones that I really find have helped me focus and curb my spending. Of course I still have the odd splurge every now and again after a crappy day (or when I'm in the mood) but they're much more controlled and save me from a massive panic at the end of the month.
What are your budgeting tips?