Thank you to all of my lovely friends on facebook that voted on this subject for today’s blog post. You guys are awesome ❤
I am glad there is an interest in saving money and keeping a budget together. They are both extremely important, and I have learned the value of those skills over the years. It’s time to share some of those valuable tips and tricks with you!
Today I will go over a few ways that you can keep control over your cashflow, so that it doesn’t take control over you. The last thing you want to have is only a few bucks in your bank account and a jillion things you have to dish money out for!
How to save at home
Let’s start with groceries.
Grab a pen and some paper, or if you really want to keep things minimal, open up notes on your phone. Start a list of all the food items that you normally purchase. If you are interested in coupons, now is the time to see if there are any you can use. If you don’t get any coupons in the mail (I get spammed with them it seems), then check online to see if there are any you can print/subscribe to.
I’ll be honest, I don’t use coupons all that often. They are super helpful though if you are buying a ton of items all at once, or have a lot to shop for. You can skip the coupon step if you prefer it. Now that you have that grocery list all filled out, head out to the store and start shopping.
A huge tip is to visit a heavily discounted grocery store for as many of your items as possible. There can be many places like this, but you just have to find what is convenient for you. I have mentioned in a previous post that I shop almost entirely at Aldi. If you want to see if there is one located in your area, visit their website. Their food and pricing is incredible!
While you are looking for the items on your list, make sure you take advantage of sales/deals that are going on. A good way to get the best ones is by checking different grocery locations online to see what they have posted for the day or week. It saves you time so you aren’t running around to different stores. Bookmark those websites so you have them handy!
If you haven’t tried buying in bulk, do itttttttttt. There can be a surprising amount you can save by purchasing items in bulk. This can be anything from nuts, beans, rice, dried fruit, or other dry items.
Last, but not least, have you ever shopped at an asian food market? If you are able to find one nearby, GO NOW. I can almost guarantee that you will always find a goldmine of food at super reasonable prices. Not to mention all of the awesome new stuff you may have not seen or tried before.
Utilities and bills
This is going to be a universal tip for any home bills you may have. Gas, water, electric, sewer, etc. Get online and check to see if your provider has any programs available that offer discounts of any kind. Apply or inquire about any that can be applicable for you. For example, my electric provider has a budget billing option which allows you to have a bill every month that is the same amount. They average your electric usage to determine the amount you pay. I also get notified by text if my usage exceeds the norm. Sign up for text alerts for everything while you are at it! They are super helpful reminders for everything from bill due dates, to any odd activity going on with your accounts.
In addition to your utility bills, make sure you invest the time and money to make sure your apartment or home is properly weatherized. There’s several steps you can take to protect yourself (and home) from the outside elements, and you will end up saving even more money in utilities.
How to save for yourself
When I say ‘yourself’, I mean saving money for recreation, pleasure, impulse buying, etc. All that fun stuff 😉
I used to buy things all the time just because I felt like I needed them, when in reality I really didn’t. I still do that on a rare occassion, but definitely not as often. The more money I have available, the more I feel tempted to buy extra stuff. That’s where a budget comes in, but I’ll save the budget tips for the end of this post. 🙂
Not only is a list helpful for groceries, but is also helpful for yourself and your own personal spending habits. Make a list of your hobbies and the items involved with them and anything else you normally spend on. (clothes, shoes, accessories, etc.) You can also write down the places you shop at the most for an even better overall picture. This is optional, but also helpful, if you save any receipts or remember, try to write down how much you typically spend on those visits. For example, I typically spend around 30-50 dollars when I am buying personal items. That can be on anything from craft supplies, clothes, to something cool I saw on the internet and bought. Let’s be honest though, it’s mostly craft supplies 😉 heehee.
These are all great ways to get an idea of your spending as a whole, so you can stay in line with them or try to improve. I am comfortable with my spending habits, and by implementing these tips, I hope you will be with yours too!
Now let’s get on to the budgeting business. . .
How to set up a budget and stick with it
This will be pretty simple, and once you get it finished and filled out you shouldn’t have to worry about it that much. Again, grab your phone or pen and paper, notebook, etc. You are going to make another list. This time, write down every single thing that you need to spend money on for a month, or on a weekly basis. After that, put down the amount of money you will need. If it can be an exact amount, great! If not, make sure you use your best judgement on how much you will need. More is always helpful in some cases. I will show you an example of what my own list looks like!
This is my banking app, and this is what my budget looks like. There are a few things in there that aren’t really a monthly occurence, and more of a yearly thing, but you get the idea. I write down what I need to have money for, and then the colorful boxes to the right show you the amount of money that I have put aside for them. FYI, anything that looks like white scribble is just there to keep my finances private.
You can do this exactly the same way, but by using any method of your choice. Making a budget gives you the proper amount of money for your bills and allows you to see what is leftover in the end. You can use that extra cash for anything else you may have in mind or keep it saved for a long term goal.
To stick with your budget, make sure it is with you or nearby at all times! Slap it on your fridge, put it in your bag, wallet, on your phone, etc. Last, but not least, use a calculator! Once you make it a habit, it won’t be difficult. On any shopping trip, I open up my calculator and add up every item I am buying. By the time I get to the checkout line, I have a pretty good understanding of what my total should be and whether or not I am staying in my budget.
That’s all the advice I have pulled together for now. I truly hope they help in some way! Let me know if you would like to see more money savvy related posts in the future. 🙂
What I’m listening to