While trying to figure out my new budget plan, I came across an awesome blog, Coordinated Kate. The girl seriously knows her stuff and is ridiculously organized. Hopefully her easy ideas help me to start saving some money! Check her out at www.coordinatedkate.com
Living paycheck-to-paycheck is brutal, but it’s reality for many people, especially in today’s economy. Putting together a budget can be very difficult. Most people don’t know where to start or even how to start. Bills are piling up and going unpaid and it’s just getting out of control! I have a few tips to get you started on the road to a budget friendly household.
1) Get yourself a planner. Doesn’t have to be anything special. Just enough for you to write down what days certain bills are due, when you get paid, and other events that may cause you to spend some money (for example: birthday parties, doctors appointments, etc.). The planner can also help you keep track of when you paid your bills. In my personal planner, I even write down the confirmation numbers that I get when I pay my bills online, just to be extra careful. I use highlighters to color coordinate and to also make it look pretty 🙂
2) Put together a monthly bill binder. Keeping track of your bills is essential! This way you know if there are any fluctuations from month to month or if you’re being overcharged or even charged for something that you’re not using. You’ll be able to see exactly where all of your “bill money” is going every month and if the need to cut back on certain things ever comes, you’ll see where you’re able to cut down.
3) Create a budget spreadsheet! This may take a little bit of time to do but it’s well worth it, trust me! Go through all of your expenses, for example: rent/mortgage, electric, water, cable, car, insurance, etc. Then go through your liabilities like your student loan, credit card debt, etc. Then make a budget for how much you’re going to spend on things like food and entertainment. And the most important part is to figure out how much you want to start saving every month. It doesn’t have to be a lot but every month you NEED to put something into a savings account or even in a shoe box. The spreadsheets will allow you to see how much you’ve put away at the end of every month and also at the end of the year!
http://coordinatedkate.com/2012/07/02/monthly-budget-spreadsheet/ – Monthly Budget Spreadsheet
http://coordinatedkate.com/2012/07/05/yearly-budget-spreadsheet/ – Yearly Budget Spreadsheet
4) STICK TO THE BUDGET!!! It will be, without a doubt, the hardest part of any of the four steps, but it’s crucial. Turn it into a game every month to see how much money you can save. Cut down where you can like with your cell phone bill for instance. Find out how many text messages you send and how much internet you use and then see if you can lower your plan to a more suitable price without the text-all-you-can package and the 502343 GB internet bundle. Join sites like www.groupon.com and get coupons for events or fun purchases. For a few months I had my entertainment budget at $100 and I wouldn’t do anything unless I had a coupon and a lot of the coupons I used came from Groupon. And check out www.coupons.com for savings on your grocery items. You don’t have to be one of those “extreme couponers” to just save a few bucks on laundry detergent or a dozen eggs.
Creating a budget is difficult, but you don’t have to always live paycheck-to-paycheck. Following the steps above will assure that you pay your monthly bills on time, hopefully have some money to put into savings at the end of every monthly, and give you peace of mind. If you have any questions please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org