If you are considering a budget and you’re always broke, don’t panic. You’re considering a budget because you feel like you’re living paycheck to paycheck and you want to figure out where your money is going each month. One way or the other, you’ve noticed you aren’t able to save a dime. Most of us are paid every two weeks or once a month. I know we quickly realized after two children came along that we were living paycheck to paycheck each month and we decided to make a budget. We weren’t dedicated at first because we were used to being free spenders with no children. We recently sat down and actually wrote out a budget on paper hoping that this would help us stick to it. We have! I’ve developed a few tips below to help you begin budgeting and how we are doing with our budgeting.
- Find budgeting forms to help get you started when writing your budget on paper. Keeping it on paper in a designated location is really going to help you figure out where your money goes each month. The Budget Mama has a really good FREE book that provides you with some printable worksheets to use when creating your budget.
- Be willing to make a change. Of course, living on a budget doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice the good life, but it does take dedication and hard work. If you want to figure out where all your money is going, you’ll have to start somewhere.
- Cut back on things you waste money on such as television. We all know that cable is far to expensive these days. It’s actually way overpriced. We have been married almost eight years and have never had cable or satellite. We did get Netflix as it came into popularity, probably about four years into our marriage, which runs us about $10 a month. We both feel that beats the heck out of $100+! If you wear expensive makeup or perfume, be willing to make a sacrifice in this area as well. Let’s face it ladies, a $50 Urban Decay eyeshadow palette is far too much to pay!!!! I am not guilty of this just yet and probably never will be. I’ll admit, I used to be, but two children changes your perspective on life.
- Save for specific things such as vacations or those property taxes that come up right before Christmas or those car insurance/tax bills that come due at the exact same time. I promise it’s going to happen. Every November, we are bombarded with $1500 in extra miscellaneous bills (property taxes, car taxes and car insurance) and I was never ready for them until this last year. I kept a separate account hidden all year just for these bills and it didn’t make me feel broke right before Christmas.
- Keep your random coins!! We all joined in with saving our coins and ended up having over $300 in loose change last year that we put towards Christmas gifts! It’s so simple to save change, yet something that is commonly forgotten! I really wish everyone in America would send me one penny. Haha
- Do NOT get into further debt or venture into any debt especially if you don’t have any! A house is a necessity and should likely be your only debt especially if you are making payments to own your own place someday. Here’s an example of what not to do. Don’t be tempted to buy a brand new car. I’ll just be upfront with you, I did it. I guess I just had to experience the feeling of buying a brand new car and boy was I dumb back then. I wasn’t raised that way. I had always driven used cars, wrecked cars, that me and my dad rebuilt together. I have no clue what I was thinking, but I was young and dumb is all I have to say. Don’t do it! There are very nice cars out there for a lot less!
This list is going to keep growing! We ourselves are on the track to saving and budgeting the right way. We’d love to hear your stories of budgeting!
Have you been looking for ways to save money, but never know where to start? I’ve tried many ways to save money and been very successful at it. I’ve created a growing list below. If you have never been a saver, don’t try to do all of this at once, it will be too overwhelming. Take you time and do it right.
- First off, you need to open a separate savings account that isn’t as easy for you to get your hands on. For example, Discover has a savings account that is easy to apply for but a little harder to take money out of. I just opened one and it’s perfect for saving because it’s money that I’ll keep hidden from myself.
- Sell some of your clothing (you don’t wear), or jewelry on Poshmark. Once you’ve done this, take that extra $200 or so and put it into that hidden savings account.
- Don’t be a procrastinator. If you’re wanting to save money to pay off debt, do it. If you have things just lying around that you don’t use, pick them up, take some pictures and put them on Ebay. These are tedious tasks with packaging and all, but that couple hundred extra dollars is well worth it in the end. Of course, drop this into your hidden savings account as well.
- Set yourself up on a budget, your spouse as well. Allot money for specific items each month. There’s no reason a new pair of shoes has to be purchased every single month. Let’s get serious people.
- Download these two apps, Ibotta and Checkout51. They can be annoying as heck to use sometimes, but it’s well worth it when you save $30+ over the course of a few months. Once you acquire this money, drop it into your hidden savings account.
- If you shop at Wal-Mart, download their app. They’ve got a savings catcher section that allows you to scan your receipt and the app looks for any items you purchased that might be sold for a better deal down the road. You are then given some money if that’s the case. It usually only totals up to about $40 over the course of a year, but that’s money we would’ve lost and it gets dropped into our hidden savings account.
- Shop frugally. Clip coupons out of that trashy stuff that comes in your mail each day and use them! It’s okay to buy the knock off food brands, but keep in mind that not all tastes are equal.
- If you have a baby that’s still in diapers, download the Huggies app and use it. If you purchase wipes or diapers, scan your receipt and they’ll give you points that you can earn that can be used for gift cards or free diapers and wipes!
- Download the On the Go Survey App. This one can be a little time consuming, but it pays you to take random surveys. It’s not much, but it adds up at the end of a year and all of this random cash can be put into your hidden savings account.
- Start a shop on Teacher’s Pay Teacher’s and go from there! The possibilities are endless with this website. You don’t have to be a teacher to join!
- If you are a state employee, sign up for deferred comp to begin increasing your retirement. This is offered to state employees in my state. Other states aside from Kentucky may be a little different. Deferred comp basically is a set amount, that you set, that comes out of your check each month into a semi-savings account. The reason I say “semi” is because this is a mutual type investment. Yes, your money is being put into the “real” stock market. It’s a risk, but it will gain more interest than a savings account.
- Don’t eat out all the time! We all know it’s easier then making a huge mess in the kitchen, but if you do it all the time, you could easily end up spending thousands each year eating out. Every once in a while can be a special treat.
- If you have a credit card and are dead set on keeping one, make sure it earns you cash back rewards. It’d be pointless to have one that doesn’t. The cash back rewards can be used for gift cards or to pay on your account. This is perfect for Christmas time!