Hey guys! Priddymomma here. This week, we’re discussing tips and how-to for maintaining a budget. (oh joy…)
As unfun as that sounds, you have to know how much you spend in a month. For thirty days, keep track of every penny that goes out: bills, gas, food, fun, unexpected, gifts, etc.
Are you living within your means?
You’ve tracked your expenses for 30 days. How much do you bring home in thirty days? If you are spending more than you bring in monthly, some changes need to be made!
Time to separate the necessary from the unnecessary. Necessary are things like utilities, gas, and groceries. Unnecessary are that daily Starbucks, cigarettes, and fast food. Where can you make cuts?
Budgeting tips and tricks:
- Keep a calendar just for bill due dates and amounts due. When you pay off a bill, you can put a check mark on the item paid.
- Pay a six month period at a time for things like auto insurance to maximize savings.
- We all love tax time, but that return can help you build an emergency fund! Keep it in the bank as long as you can and pretend you don’t remember it’s there! If you need something big (hospital visit, car repair), you’ll be glad you have the dough. Or you can use it to pay off existing debt.
- Make a weekly grocery list and meal plan. You’ll be less likely to eat out and more likely to avoid impulse buys. I don’t know about you, but it easily costs $25 or more for my family to have fast food. If you eat out once a week, that’s $100 a month you could be enjoying in a more lasting way.
- Get out of debt! Pay off credit cards and then toss them. If you have them, you are likely to use them and get right back in debt. Always pay more than the minimum payment.
- Call insurance companies and cable providers once a year and tell them you are looking to save money. Ask for a better price. They almost always are able to do something for you. They want to keep their customers!
- Use cash. When you use debit or credit, it feels too much like imaginary money. You can’t see the money dwindling and it’s a lot more work than counting what’s in your wallet.
- Use store brands where possible to save some money. Clip coupons. Look up coupons and coupon codes online for purchases. It all adds up.
- Don’t forget to forgive yourself for little slip-ups here and there. Being too strict just makes you miserable in the long run. Good luck on your budgeting ventures!
If you are interested in learning more about budgeting and money type issues, check out resources by Dave Ramsey. He has some great tips to get you started on just about anything.