A written down budget is a must for those wanting to stay on a budget, stay out of debt or pay down the debt they have. People that do not have a written budget may not be taking full advantage of their money.
Write Down your Goals!
If you’ve never made your budget and set your monetary goals, that’s okay. It’s never too late to take control of your finances. Write down every bill you have and look at your receipts over the past few weeks. You want to be smart with your money, make it last, and get the biggest bang for your buck. You need to set aside enough money to cover all your bills, buy food and gas, and still put some away for savings.
If your budget looks tight, or even impossible, don’t panic. You are not the only one who has been living at or above their means. Your goal from now on is to stay under budget, and find a happy medium with your money. Don’t cut out all spending on your little luxuries unless you are in major debt. Yes you want to get that debt paid off, but if you set an impossible budget you will go back to your old spending ways quickly.
Now that you have your budget worked up and your number crunched, aim to spend even less than you budgeted for. Does this sound hard? It’s not. Before you buy anything take stock of what you already own and decide if what you “think” you need is really needed.
If you budgeted $30 a month for clothing, and I bet most of you budgeted way more, aim to spend half of that. After you take stock of your clothing, if you decided you really do need something, shop thrift stores first. Buying clothing new is expensive. Quality used clothing can be found at garage sales, swap meets, and consignment shops. Sometimes you can find new clothes with the tags for less than $5 at thrift stores. When it comes to kids clothing always try to buy used as kids outgrow must of what you buy before it is worn out.
Plan ahead when you need groceries. Look in the cabinets and see what you have. Half of what is on your list maybe be in the pantry. If your budget is $125 a week on groceries aim to spend $100. If you budgeted $100, try to keep it below $85. Clipping manufacturer’s coupons, buying food that is on special, choosing store brand, and choosing frugal recipes will add up to big savings. If you spend $10 a week less than what you budgeted you will have $520 saved after 12 months, enough for a lavish weekend road trip .
Look at your budget and look at it often. If you spend more in one category than you planned it means you must skimp somewhere else. If you always spend less than you allot then you will have extra money for life’s emergencies and to get your debt paid down faster.