04 January 2016

Easy Ways to Kick-off Your 2016 Budget!

One regret of my life is that I had to learn the hard way when it came to budgeting, saving money, and learning how to be responsible with money. Never again will I ever take out a loan to travel to Europe! #alwaysabadidea

While it will take awhile still to become debt free, having these tools in my tool box has really changed my perspective on how I look at money and plan to use it.

Maybe you're a penny pincher or maybe you're Suzy Spender, but here are a few easy ways to help you get re-focused and committed to having a strong financial game plan this new year!

1. Create and Stick to a Budget
Well duh. Yes starting with the most obvious because sometimes its easy to miss the obvious things. I know for a-good-long-while I lived paycheck to paycheck and hated saving.

But telling your money where to go and then making it happen is a huge game changer! Once the cash out of my gas envelope is gone its gone. There re lots of tools to help keep and track your budget. Some folks use Excel. 

I really like the FREE app Dave Ramsey and his team put together called EveryDollar. It allows you to track, name every single dollar, and create a budget. I was surprised how user friendly it is and the phone app is a really handy way to always have an accurate idea of where my money is going.

2. Look for Big Ways to Save on Groceries
I have always like going grocery shopping, but now that I am working to become debt free and I look at it with such a different perspective.
If you have an Aldi's near you, check it out! SO worth it! Cheaper prices all around and they are offering a growing number of organic or gluten-free products!

Look for creative ways to stretch that dollar! Maybe try baking homemade bread or your family or consider using eco friendly re-usable cleaning cloths to save on things like cleaning supplies or Clorox wipes.
This podcast episode and this one have been really helpful for me too! Oh and this one too ;)

3. Stay Motivate by Learning Constantly
Okay so you you want to be financially responsible or maybe finally become debt free? Well how are you going to stay motivated while walking through Target or when the desire for ordering in Chinese kicks in?

Have podcasts, books, and blog you enjoy that you can come back for extra support and that kick in the pants when you need it. Here are some of my current favorites:

4. Have a Way to Stay Accountable
Who is going to help hold you accountable?
Your spouse or friend? Or maybe someone in Facebook group? One I find helpful is called Budget Dorks on Facebook.

Whomever it is, make sure you have someone who can help hold you accountable...because let's face it, it can be really easy to buy our own BS.

How do you stay committed to your budget? What works best for you staying focused on being financially responsible?
Are you working to become debt free?

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  1. #1 gave me a lot of peace of mind when we did it! We don't fastidiously keep track of every dollar, but we put our basic spending needs on an Excel document for our budget, and that was good at helping me see that it IS possible for us to pay our bills haha. I totally second #2-I have a notepad where I record all of our grocery receipts, so that I can make sure we stay on target within our grocery budget. I really started doing this when, a year and a half ago, our car got totaled and we needed to scrounge up a couple thousand for a "new" used car. Food is an easy way to penny-pinch!

    Aldi is a great way to help stay under budget, too :) Though I always make sure on my weekly trip to buy one item that's a total splurge (like a carton of gelato or a bag of potato chips), to keep myself from going "all frugality and no fun" :) We also like to buy huge bags of rice that tend to be cheaper, look at the "price per oz" label to price-compare, and we generally eat lots of rice, beans, and potatoes. Oh, and I only make meals with meat in them a few times a week! I meal-plan 1-2 weeks ahead of time (though sometimes I'm super on top of it and plan a whole month in advance) which helps cut down costs, too, because I only buy what we're going to need in to make our meals.

  2. Aldi is the best! We'd always practiced writing down every dollar we spend so that we can see where we're at for the month at a glance, and that's really helped!

  3. We have been trying to create a budget for like 5 months now and we still haven't gotten around to making it work! With little one due in 6 weeks, I hope we can figure it out soon. :)


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