Money. Love it or hate it, whether you have tons or none, it is something that dictates a lot about your life. With that being said, I hate it, and it is because I have spent all of my life never having enough money. My husband and I work hard and in our house, he does the budget. It isn’t because I am not capable of running the household budget, but rather because money slips like mercury through my fingers, faster than the speed of light. Once in a while, I ask him where things stand, and these days, it is looking better than it ever has. We are not rolling in the dough, in fact, we are very far from that with our household income. We decided years ago that it was better for him to take control over the money. Many fights happened since then, but when we made the decision to have him handle the budget, we promised to never let any fights we had about money be about anything other than the money. Do you know what? It worked. There have been days where I was so angry I was shouting at him to find me the money I needed for whatever we were fighting about needing money for. We made that little rule at the start, and we have made it work for us, ever since.
I am now going to share my top 6 Budgeting Tips. They will not be things that you have never heard of before, but they have helped me stay the course and not go crazy all the time.
- Don’t leave the house. I am really serious about this one. The second I walk out of the house I am 100% guaranteed that I am going to spend money. Except if I am going to work, or to visit a friend. It is a given. When I have time off, I avoid shopping temptation by staying home. I am not an avid online shopper, so this does not affect me like it might for other people. When I do make online purchases, they are planned, not impulse purchases.
- Make a grocery list. Use the weekly flyers. Cut the coupons. Go the extra mile to get whatever deals that you can find. If you can sign up for email coupon sites or local couponing groups, you can swap the ones you don’t need for some that you do.
- Pack your lunch. Eating out should be a treat, not an everyday event. If you make a meal, the leftovers can be your lunch the next day. I do this a lot. I get bored of sandwiches, so when I prep cook, it is for my lunches. I recently discovered that I need carbs at lunch. I will have to be planning ahead more for this, as I thought the sleepiness after lunch was my blood sugars being too high. I checked. They weren’t. The next day I added the right kind of carbs, and I wasn’t falling asleep at my desk. Who knew?
- Find ways to earn money to save up for something extra. I have done a bit of pet sitting for friends, but it can be anything that you can do. I have also done overtime at the day job when I was planning something that I couldn’t afford from the regular budget. The household budget has been so rigid for so long that it is now a habit for me to stop and think before I make plans to figure out where the money for such and such is going to come from.
- Make use of points. Whether you collect air miles, scene points for movies points at your local grocery store or pharmacy, spend them wisely. I have one that I let accumulate until I have enough saved to buy makeup with. I have others that I cash in when I am low on funds and need to make a purchase that I can’t wait until payday for. If you are spending money to buy coffee every day (another way to save money is to make it at home) then get the card and claim your free coffee when it is earned. Or, pay a gift forward to a friend in need with points. Save them to purchase Christmas or Birthday gifts. Whatever you use them for, if the points are used, and it is something that you want instead of need, then it is a valuable way to spend them.
- When you are paying down your debt load, pay extra when you can. Choose one of two things when you start to target your debt load, either the smallest total balance and continue paying each one off one at a time while paying the regular payments to the other bills. The other factor to weigh into this decision is the interest rate for each separate debt load. When it comes to making ground, it makes sense to start small and remove the smaller totals first. This builds momentum because you are seeing results as each bill is paid off. Then you can change tactics when you only have larger bills left, and tackle the one that is charging you the highest interest rate first. When you are improving your credit rating, then call the companies that you want to keep doing business with, and ask them what they can do to help you save money, and keep doing business with them. They may lower your interest rate that they charge, and if you have problems spending, ask them to lower your balance when you hit the balance that you can manage.
My bonus tip is to live within your means. Think before you shop. Wants are not needs. If you don’t overspend, you won’t have to pay down the debt if there is none there, to begin with. This is practical advice, but not always possible. Emergencies happen and need to be dealt with. If you have your debt under control, having to find a way to cover an emergency is not as stressful when you have wiggle room to manage to pay down a new and unexpected bill.
I am writing this story for 2 different reasons. One is that it is something that might help someone like me figure out how to manage their money better. My husband uses a computer program to keep track of it all, but he also writes out the budget by hand months in advance to help him plan ahead. The other one is to slip in another introduction for a third Guest Blogging adventure. I have teamed up with Carla Gardiner who was the first Blogger to respond to my open invitation to guest blogging. I have written a story for her blog. It is a bit familiar to the information I have shared here on this blog, with my own little spin to make it just different enough that you should go read it, to make sure you don’t miss out on any of my stories. I really had fun with this one, and there is a science fiction reference or two in it. You can read What are you doing with your towel? on Carla’s Blog.
While you are there, check out what she is up to. She is so you can well imagine that she has her own stories to tell, in her own way, from living life through her own journey. I do read her blog, and I am in the #100Coffees group with her, it is where we met. She and I were brainstorming, as I am not quite what her ideal audience member would look like. While chatting, I was inspired to write about reinventing myself and to share budgeting tips. These topics were chosen based on sharing the audiences of both blogs. So here is the first part. Please do take the time to visit her blog also. The Blogging community has always been a delightful way to help other bloggers with Guest Posting such as this one, and I look forward to participating in more writing adventures in my own journey.