Budgeting is not my thing.
I make that statement and some of you will agree with me and many others will cringe.
Numbers hurt my head. I get confused easily. And sometimes I just throw my hands up and say, “I just don’t get it!”
That being said. I am reformed. Or becoming reformed. I am on the road to re-forment (?) I don’t think that’s a word. Anyhow. I am trying….. really, really hard!!
First off- I’ve been using the YNAB (You Need a Budget) budgeting program for the past year or two. I really, really love it. I love their philosophy of assigning every dollar a job. I love all of their free, online classes- which are basically taught all day long so you can always catch one. I loved the Whiteboard Wednesday’s from Jesse. You can look those up on Youtube. I love their website setup and how it links to the mobile app so I’m always close to my budget to keep track of it. I just LOVE this program. If you want to try it, you can for free for 34 days. After that, it’s 50 bucks for the entire year. I swear, you’ll save more than that by using this program. If you want to try it- do you mind using my referral link? You can access that here.
There are other budgeting programs out there as well. I’ve heard great things about Personal Capital as well (I think it’s even free.) I have never tried it though. I started with YNAB a few years ago and have stuck with that.
But aside from whatever budgeting program you use- I’ve just come to realize that you need a budgeting program. I need a budgeting program. We all need some kind of a budgeting program.
As I’ve tried really hard to stick to mine, checking it everyday, updating expenditures and such, these are ways I’ve saved a bit of money lately.
Groceries are the necessary bain of my existence. We also live 1/2 mile from the grocery store. So you can imagine how many times we just “pop” in and come out with $30 worth of stuff we forgot we needed. That $30 times the number of occurances we “pop” in adds up quickly and is the sole source for my overspending on groceries each month.
This month I decided to work really, really hard on this. I took a piece of paper and listed 15 dinner meals. Then I wrote out every ingredient needed for each meal including a vegetable side and extra like bread or whatever. I listed EVERYthing. I then took those ingredients and typed it into an excel spreadsheet where I tallied up how much of each ingredient I’d need. I took that list to the grocery store and only bought what was on the list.
The result? Two full weeks of groceries for $153. WHAT?? Heck yeah!!
Everything I bought is pictured above.
I didn’t plan every meal out per day- like we are having this on Tues, this on Weds, etc. I just look at the list each day and see what the family is in the mood for and/or I have time to cook. Thus far, it’s worked really, really well. I’ve only gone back to the store twice to buy sour cream, parmesan cheese and granola bars. All things I completely forgot about and were needed for whatever meal we had. So I’ve spent another $10. But I’m seriously rocking this thing…..at least so far! It’s only Oct 11th! I literally take this a day at a time.
This wasn’t really my idea, but rather my daughter’s. We went to a parade last weekend where my kids loaded up with candy. I mean tons and tons… the bag is an over-sized reusable grocery bag. As we were sifting through it, my daughter said, “We’ll never eat all this. Why don’t we just save it for Halloween and give it out to our trick or treaters?” Genius and Done.
Of course everyone has been eating their favorite things…but most of it is candy my kids don’t really like. It’s this kind of like re-gifting?? Heck yeah. And I don’t even care. (I don’t care about re-gifting either, but that’s another blog post…)
For treats, instead of buying prepackaged things, I’ve baked a few.
I tried these Slow Cooker Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. They were good. I cooked mine for 3 hours, but they were starting to burn. So really watch them around 2 1/2 hours and let them cool before you slice into them (per the directions.)
I’ve also made my favorite brownie recipe several times, because how can you go wrong with these??
I’ve started substitute teaching a little at my kids school. I like it because I can pick and choose when I want to work. I think it really saves money because a) I’m not home to spend any and b)it brings in more money that I put directly into a savings account. Yep, I never even touch it. Those little substitute days build up a nice little nest egg over time.
And that’s all I’ve got this week. I love saving money. I also like spending it, ha! Feel free to chime in with any of your saving money accomplishments. I do think there is a healthy balance though. I mean, you can’t take it with you right? So save money to spend it on something fun, like a vacation! 🙂
Happy Money Saving Thursday!