California, the Golden state is one of the most popular and beautiful states in the US, attracting visitors from all over the world. It is also one of the most expensive. Living in California can be hard, but many people manage to do so and get the most out of this sun kissed corner of the world. You can live in California on a budget, it just takes some sensible thinking and planning your personal finance. Here’s how:
Write it all down
Not tracking your expenditure is setting up yourself up for a fall and leaving yourself at risk of not having enough money at the end of the month to pay your bills. It’s important to keep tabs on what you spend in a month and try to create a budget that allows you to live well, without accumulating tons of debt. According to My Money Coach, creating a budget ensures that you will always have enough money for the things you need.
Think outside the box (or throw away the box altogether)
While it may be true that many fun activities require money, this this doesn’t have to mean that you spend all your hard earned cash on socializing with friends. Instead of going out to dinner, seeing a show, or having drinks at your local bar; try a games night at home, watching a movie together, visiting a gallery, or taking up sports that are free, like jogging and soccer.
Literally, walk the talk
In California, transportation can be a real expense, and while it may not be possible to walk, skate or cycle to your destination all the time, think twice before getting into your car. Taking the bus or carpooling with your colleagues to get to work can be a refreshing change. Not only will you save money, but you’ll be doing the environment a favor as well.
Unleash your creativity in the kitchen
While you may not be Martha Stewart, everyone should learn how to cook at least basic food for themselves. While ordering in or dining out may be convenient, it’s far less cost-effective than getting your hands dirty in your kitchen. Cooking your own food can save you hundreds of dollars every month and can also be a great way to relax and unwind after a long day at work. Think about organizing dinner parties with your friends and taking it in turns to be host; not only is this a fun way to get together, but you’ll all spend less money in the process.
Think before you buy
The next time you’re out shopping, be sure to ask yourself these two simple questions. Do I really need this and how many hours will I have to work to afford it? Usually answering the second question is deterrent enough from allowing your impulse-buy.
Compare and contrast
Use price comparison tools online that will let you see if there are lower prices for the item you intend to purchase available elsewhere. Sites such as Price Grabber and Shopzilla can help you save tons of dollars on many items, and you can also think about changing your home or car insurance for a cheaper provider, using sites like Home Insurance Web and Esurance.
Just like anywhere else in the world, you can live in California on a budget. It isn’t easy, but if you take the time to implement these simple practises into your life, you’ll be off to a good start.
This is a guest post by Michael Peggs.
Michael Peggs is the founder of Marccx Media, a digital marketing agency specializing in SEO and Content Marketing. Before Marcxx, Peggs worked at Google in business development, forming digital media and advertising partnerships. He is also a blogger and podcaster, hosting the iTunes Top 10 New & Noteworthy podcast You University – The Personal Branding Podcast.