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how to budget my income

OK, so I make 1,000 a month and I know this may sound like a strange question, but I am having a difficult time trying to balance it out ( I am new on budgeting and paying bills, just got out of a divorce) I do not shop for anything extra (like new clothes for myself, only for my child) and new haircut but somehow, in the end, I am lucky if I have 20 bucks left. Sometimes I am down to only 5 bucks. Where I live, the average person makes about 30,000 a year. Anyone like me and knows ways to pay for everything but have more left over? I do not own a credit card so my debts are low. I pay for the basic household bills, food, and gas and when my growing child needs clothes (which is about every 3 -5 months). I shop at second hand stores too. Any tips would be great! Thanks in advance.

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Asked by Anonymous at 9:11 AM on Oct. 28, 2008 in Money & Work

Answers (7)
  • Are you looking at food prices when you go shopping for food???Try not to drive unless you have to..Do all you Erands all in one day if you can..


    Answer by louise2 at 9:18 AM on Oct. 28, 2008

  • Do you have an Aldi's Foods or an Ollies near you? I save HUGE amounts of money because I shop there! I feed 2 kids and 2 adults for around $350 a month... with just 2 of you that could easily cut by half or more... I buy all my household "stuff" like shampoo, soap, pads and what not at Ollies because I can get them cheaper there than anywhere else and it's all name brand stuff... As for clothes I actually think that Wal*Mart tends to be cheaper than most of the 2nd hand stuff... Our Wal*Mart has racks that are as low as $2 a piece for kids clothing. Also If your kid is still in diapers switch over to Parents Choice as they are MUCH cheaper and just as good (if not better) than the name brand stuff... I diaper to kids for less than $60/mo and that includes wipes... They have awesome kids shampoo and soap and stuff too... Just look for Parent Choice.


    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 9:34 AM on Oct. 28, 2008

  • I would also advise that you sit down with your bills and create a budget worksheet. I can help you if you need it. I make coloms for each pay period and then rows for each bill. In each space I assign an amount that I pay each payday. I try to pay my bills online so that I can pay them more often. I pay half of each bill every 2 weeks so that if there is ever a reason I can't make the bills I am only 2 weeks behind.

    Also talk to your car insurance company and see if you can revise your coverage for a lower fee. The coverage won't be as good but you will have less of a bill... Shop around too... E-Surance is usually rather cheap.


    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 9:34 AM on Oct. 28, 2008

  • Call you utillity companies too and see if you can get on a budget with them. It will help you to budget if you have a better idea of what you are paying from month to month. I don't know where you are but around here all the utility companies have low income programs that will help lower your bill, check in to those...

    If you have brodband or DSL internet look in to getting a MagicJack instead of a home phone and ditch the cell... The magicJack will cost you around $40 to buy but will only cost you $19.95 a YEAR for phone service... BUT you have to have internet...


    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 9:34 AM on Oct. 28, 2008

  • Back to food for a sec... Try to only serve meat for one meal a day. If you make pasta and a vegie or rice and a veggie for lunch and oatmeal for breakfast you can fut your meat bill which is usually a huge amount. Then try cutting meat out of 1 dinner every week... If you have a hunting season where you are talk to some hunters... Around here we have deer season and a lot of hunters only hunt for sport but they are usually willing to butcher and deliver the meat if you pay for it. I got almost 100lbs of venison for $40... Freeze it and use it all year.

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 9:35 AM on Oct. 28, 2008

  • First sit down and write down all your regular monthly bills on paper. Figure out what you will have left over just after paying your bills (rent/mortgage, utilities, phone, etc.) Then make a list of things that you need (gas, groceries, medical, clothing, etc.) What works for my family is an envelope system. Take those extra items; the gas, groceries, medical, clothing, hair, and make an envelope for each item. Take the extra money you have left over and distribute it in the envelopes according to what you think you might spend. Envelopes like clothing and medical and hair will take some time to build up money in them. When you go grocery shopping only take the envelope marked for groceries and spend that money, look for cheaper brands, discount stores or bent and dent stores. The food is usually fine the packaging is usually just bent, just watch for expiration dates.
    Go you for not having credit cards!

    Answer by asimonmom at 9:46 AM on Oct. 28, 2008

  • Try for a budgeting tool. Prioritize your bills by importance. Obviously rent, food, gas, and utilites are a must. Doesn't sound like you have extra to pay for cable or internet. Those are not necessities. Consignment sales are a great place to buy kids clothes. Nothing wrong with second hand. I buy only name brands for my kids so that I can resell them and I get great deals on second hand clothes. Sounds like youre really trying. Good for you. The biggest advice I have for you is to stay out of debt. You simply cannot afford it. Well, basically none of us can. Cash is the way to go.

    Answer by momofsaee at 11:29 AM on Oct. 28, 2008

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