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Nicola Fisher


If You Had To Live on $2000 USD Per Month, How Would You Do It?

    1. Create an annual budget

    This is really my top tip and I've done this for a long time.

    I create an annual budget spreadsheet that includes annual and monthly outgoings. Annual outgoings are totalled and divided by 12. This amount then becomes a monthly outgoing and I put that amount into a 'contingency' account. Out of this account I pay anything that is an annual payment (house/car insurance, car tax etc).

    If you're doing this for the first time, the first year is the hardest. But, once you have your routine going, the money is always there for your annual bills.

    Monthly outgoings include utilities, a food/petrol budget, monthly subscriptions. All of these are colour coded - negotiable/non-negotiable.

    2. Pay bills first

    Based on your annual budget spreadsheet, you'll know how much you need each month for non-negotiable bills.

    3. Minimum viable income

    Know your MVI. For me, this is my non-negotiable bills. Anything else could, in theory, be cancelled.

    4. Track your finances

    I use an app/web app called Clear Checkbook. It's not the most sexy app but I've used it for a long time and it works. I can see what outgoings are yet to be paid, how much money remains, and when payments are due each month. I reconcile my finances every 2-3 days as it's easier to keep up to date.

    5. Don't use credit cards

    If you can't afford it, don't buy it. I ask myself, do I need it or do I want it?

    I only use credit cards for convenience and where the funds are already in my contingency account. I use a credit card for food and petrol. The monthly food/petrol budget is in a separate account and pays off the credit card at the end of the month. I get points from my credit card and save these up to use in a supermarket.

    6. Save

    I have a number of accounts for contingency, food/petrol, holidays, Christmas etc. Each month I transfer an amount to each of these accounts. So, when we reach Christmas, I already have a little pot of money.

    7. Cancel non-essentials

    I review all of our subscriptions and ad hoc memberships on a regular basis and cancel anything that isn't needed any more.

    8. Be frugal

    I'll take a hard line if I need to and will have an 'on budget, no frills' month.

    9. Create a side income

    Explore possibilities of generating extra income. Mine is digital writing.

    10. Be organised

    Not just with your finances but how you run your home/live your life. Plan menus, create shopping lists, cook in bulk, turn off lights etc.

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