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7.25.2014

Budgeting the HAPPY way




I have never been someone who likes to budget.  As a teenager, I would get $10 dollars every Friday from my dad, also known as my allowance.  In college, I was able to live on a paycheck and/or live on the $100 dollars my parents would give me to live on for a couple weeks at a time.  I never considered living on a certain amount to be budgeting.  I always knew I could get some more money, if I really needed it.  I don't like the feeling of "not having enough" and it stresses me out when my bank account gets under $100.00.
 
So when Brittany at Happy is a Choice wrote a blog post about budgeting/saving money, I knew I needed to print it out/save it/memorize it.  This post is about how I took Brittany's tips and learned to budget, the happy way.
 
Here is my current situation: I live with my parents rent free, I don't have to pay electricity/cable/food (if it's at home) or anything else house related.  I have no kids or a significant other.  Ironically, I work for a retirement system and I don't even think about retirement.  I don't tithe on a regular basis and I tend to spend all my money on other people since I am in the middle of another wedding season.
 
The first item on Brittany's list was analyzing your bank account.  I printed out my statement for TWO months: May 18, 2014 to July 18, 2014.  I also used different highlighters to really see where all my money was going.  I was shocked to see just how frivolous I am spending my once a month paycheck.  Here is a breakdown of what it looked like:
 
70 entries  Eating Out
8 entries    Fuel
7 entries    Gifts specifically to celebrate others
8 entries    Standard monthly bills
45 entries  Miscellaneous
138 entries total

Another item on her list was Eat at Home or Set an Eating Out Budget.
Y'all, I really had no idea how much of my existence revolves around FOOD.  I spent $615.89 on food in two months and I don't even go in the grocery store!! That is clearly an area that can be cut back on drastically.  

The next one was Use Cash.
I totally agree that when you use cash it is much harder to spend money instead of when you swipe your debit card.  When you can physically see the money changing hands, it makes it harder to let go of what you earned the hard way. 

Last but not least, Give Yourself an Allowance Each Week.
Since I was blessed to learn what an allowance was at such a young age, I feel like this one will be a no-brainer.  I am not someone who likes to shop for myself anyway.  This allowance is for me to remember that it isn't all about the gifts for the special people in my life.  It is more about my presence, than my presents.

The only one I would add to Brittany's list and now my own is: Pay Yourself First (like a bill).
My dad has always told me this, but I never really started it until now.  Pay yourself just like a bill; $50 bucks, $100.00, whatever you can at the beginning of the month AND DON'T TOUCH IT!  Put it away in an envelope and forget it's there.  It is the only way you won't blow through all your money before the next paycheck gets deposited.


Since August will be my first month at a real budget, I am nowhere near being a pro at this.  I am just going to stick to these tips and I will report back if I'm broke next month or not!  Before I go, I wanted to leave you with a quote from a well-known financial advisor, Dave Ramsey:

"A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went."
 

 
Does anyone have any ideas/tips they use to save a little extra each month?  I would love to hear from you!!

4 comments:

  1. Girl cutting that eating out bill will be huge for you. I would make it a goal not to eat out breakfast or lunch for the month and then see where you end up! Imagine what an extra $300 would feel like in your bank and on your hips ;)

    All of the other tips you listed are going to be great. It really is all about budgeting. I'm obsessive about knowing where my money is going at all times. We rarely go out to eat and when we do we usually use coupons. Do I have money to blow? Usually - but the thought of not buying things with money and just eating... ehh not so much for me personally. I like to cook too - you could have a dinner part at your house and make everyone pasta for under $15 when you would spent at least 15-20 on yourself with a tip! I highly suggest going out with friends and cooking for each other instead of going to a restaurant. You'll all save money and it's fun!

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  2. On that same note -- If Chad and I go to dinner it's usually $40-50 - all I think in my head is, "OMG...that is seriously a WEEKS worth of groceries almost for us." Only like once a month for us! ;)

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  3. These are such good suggestions! I am (oddly) obsessed with budgeting. I'm going to incorporate a couple of these things into my routine that I'm not currently doing. Thank you for sharing!

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  4. LOVE these tips! I've got to do better about saving money!

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