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Smarter Shopping: Better Budgeting

Posted by on Jan. 6, 2014 at 12:00 AM
  • 36 Replies


It's a new year and we are resolving to budget our resources better in our home. I've been researching all sorts of helpful tips and tools, and found many that are consistently posted all over the web and news, like trying to save between 15-25% of your salaries for retirement and not spending more than 35-40% of your salaries on "vital" items like your home, healthcare and food and transportation costs, these things are more or less feasible depending, I think, very much on your personal situation, job status, loans, number of kids, place you are living and so many other variables.

However, I did come up with a few tips that ANYONE can apply to their present situation, which can add up to a whole heap of savings, by my calculations, over the year, or next several years (the longer you save, the more you have, of course!) The first was to seriously reconsider what is essential, and what can "wait." Thinking of "waiting" instead of "denying" yourself or your family of something you want or might even need, like a vacation or new coat, makes it easier to hold back on the expense. No, you don't have to deny yourself the item or experience, you just have to save up for it and have some patience. To do this, in your budget, make sure you have a bucket for "misc." or "save for later" items. These are not long-term retirement or college savings; these are things you and your family will need and enjoy in the very near future, as soon as you have saved up a bit (instead of going into debt for it right now).

Another tip is to stop and really think about what you need and where you source each item. Stores like Kmart offer great deals on every-day items. But sometimes even something a bit special, like a cool watch, can be found for a bargain at a thrift store. We spend a lot of money on books, for instance, partly because we cannot get to the library as often as we would like to. But then I discovered that we could download e-books from our library and read for free that way. And for those titles we need or want that are not available in this format, I also recently found out that our second-hand bookstore could actually order them for us, at a discount! Of course, there is Amazon.com, too. Taking some time to research how to spend less on items you buy often can go a long way to saving you money this year.

Do you have any easy budgeting tips to share?

© iStockphoto.com/ScantyNebula

by on Jan. 6, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Replies (1-10):
IncognitoOne
by Angela on Jan. 6, 2014 at 7:41 AM

 Budgeting is never easy.

Especially when there are some months (when we have insurance to pay (March, June, September, December) and taxes/tags/inspections for the cars (1 in February, 2 in October) that leave you in the negative after just paying the bills.

 

ETA: This is just with that month's income, not with what would already be in our bank account and savings account that month....so we always have the bills covered, but it's just more than we bring in that month.

momofsixangels
by Colleen on Jan. 6, 2014 at 8:15 AM

Easy?lol

lizzig
by Ruby Member on Jan. 6, 2014 at 9:23 AM
2 moms liked this

 i have no budgeting tips, easy or hard to share.  when you live paycheck to paycheck it's really hard to budget for what you need & surprises.

MamaJane
by Jane:) on Jan. 6, 2014 at 9:32 AM
1 mom liked this

In those situations I divide the amount over the months it isn't paid and I take it out of my budget even when I haven't paid it.  Like my garbage bill.  It's $45 over 3 months so I take $15 out every month.  That's just how I handle that particular situation.

Quoting IncognitoOne:

 Budgeting is never easy.

Especially when there are some months (when we have insurance to pay (March, June, September, December) and taxes/tags/inspections for the cars (1 in February, 2 in October) that leave you in the negative after just paying the bills.

 

ETA: This is just with that month's income, not with what would already be in our bank account and savings account that month....so we always have the bills covered, but it's just more than we bring in that month.


MamaJane
by Jane:) on Jan. 6, 2014 at 9:40 AM

Write a budget.  List everything you have to pay every month. House, utilities, ins, etc. List any bills you are paying monthly amounts on like credit card or medical bills.  Then subtract that total amount from you total income for the month.  The remainder is what you can spend on food, gas, extras and saving.  There was a time when we lived pay check to pay check and getting a savings had to be put in the "when we can" category.  A lot of times it was put in in a lump sum at tax time.  

However a savings is essential especially when getting out of credit card debt.  I would put all I had into getting out of debt and then the car would break downa nd I'd have to put it on the cc.  It was a cycle I finally broke when I got a savings started.

IncognitoOne
by Angela on Jan. 6, 2014 at 9:41 AM

 We always have more than enough left over from months before to cover it, I don't chop it up like that because then I don't SEE it....if that makes sense.

In a few months, we'll be knocking out one bill, and shortly after that, knocking out two more....so then I won't have to even think about money and how to move it around to make sure everything is paid on time, because all I'll have then is house, power, water, and internet every month (aside from groceries, house and school stuff, sports dues and gear, and gas) and then the months when insurance, tags, taxes, and inspections have to come out.

Quoting MamaJane:

In those situations I divide the amount over the months it isn't paid and I take it out of my budget even when I haven't paid it.  Like my garbage bill.  It's $45 over 3 months so I take $15 out every month.  That's just how I handle that particular situation.

Quoting IncognitoOne:

 Budgeting is never easy.

Especially when there are some months (when we have insurance to pay (March, June, September, December) and taxes/tags/inspections for the cars (1 in February, 2 in October) that leave you in the negative after just paying the bills.

 

ETA: This is just with that month's income, not with what would already be in our bank account and savings account that month....so we always have the bills covered, but it's just more than we bring in that month.


 

SarahSuzyQ
by Sarah on Jan. 6, 2014 at 9:45 AM
Honestly, my husband and I both have really frugal natures... Budgeting is not a lot of extra work for us. Best wishes to those who are moving to get control of their finances in the new year, though!
MamaJane
by Jane:) on Jan. 6, 2014 at 10:01 AM

Good job! We are down to that too. However all the school stuff chokes us! It seems the more in control we get the more sports and activity fees pop up.


In a few months, we'll be knocking out one bill, and shortly after that, knocking out two more....so then I won't have to even think about money and how to move it around to make sure everything is paid on time, because all I'll have then is house, power, water, and internet every month (aside from groceries, house and school stuff, sports dues and gear, and gas) and then the months when insurance, tags, taxes, and inspections have to come out.

wandep
by Pam on Jan. 6, 2014 at 10:02 AM

Let hubby handle it all. LOL

othermom
by Ruby Member on Jan. 6, 2014 at 10:29 AM
1 mom liked this

Use coupons, shop sales, buy second hand, shop clearance, use a clothes line when the weather is good if possible, shut off lghts when not n the room, set you heat lower, Wash clothes in cold water, and grow a garden if possible. Those are a few things I do

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