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I’m sharing a few budgeting tips that Marty and I use to live on a salary that many feel isn’t enough to support a family of four. Living simply to save money is one of the methods that we use to make this possible. No, we don’t sit in the dark in the living room and read second hand books by candle. It’s entirely possible to live simply without feeling deprived by following these budgeting tips.
Budgeting Tips | Living Simply to Save Money
Everyone has different things in their budget that are important to them. The thing to remember is that you need to cut down spending in the areas that are NOT important so that you can spend in the areas that are. Buying organic food is important to me. Marty and I keep our expenses down in other areas so that I can splurge on healthy, organic food.
By following these budgeting tips, Marty and I have paid off our mortgage early and eliminated all debt. Just remember, debt is not forever. Baby steps will eliminate your debt eventually.
- Write down everything you spend. Yes, it’s annoying but it gives you an accurate idea of where your money is going.
- Limit eating out. This holds true for your morning latte, the lunch you grab while running errands and the pizza you order for take out on a busy night or when you forgot to take something out to defrost.
- Learn to cook. Cooking from scratch can save you more money than you think on your grocery budget. You can make things like alfredo sauce, macaroni and cheese, granola and barbecue sauce yourself for much less than you can buy them.
- Evaluate entertainment. I have two teenagers.We spend a lot on entertainment. Take a realistic look at what you’re spending on DVDs, magazines, movies, books, in app purchases, iTunes gift cards, etc. This holds true for real books and DVDs as well as streaming services and digital versions. There are a lot of free ebooks on Amazon or check them out at your library and search for them at the thrift store.
- Technology upgrades are tempting but not always necessary. Do you NEED the latest version of your cell phone or do you just want it? We upgrade our cell phones when we’re eligible for the free upgrade (or very close to it). Most people don’t actually need to have the very latest version of everything.
- Cleaning services and cleaning products. Yes, I have a cleaning service come in every two weeks. With the number of hours I work, I consider this a little splurge that is very beneficial to my sanity. If we couldn’t afford it, I’d eliminate it. Even if you do all of your own cleaning, you can save a lot of money by making your own cleaning products.
- Coupon for products you would buy anyway. Yes, I clip coupons but only when the coupon is for something we would buy anyway. I’m not going to buy 137 chocolate bars because I can get them for .10c because we don’t NEED 137 chocolate bars (and neither do my hips).
- Pay a little bit extra on your debt each month. I don’t care if you can only send $5 extra, send it. Eventually it will add up. Don’t forget to pay bills on time. You’ll save quite a bit on interest and late fees.
- Shop the discount and thrift stores. I love name brands but I am not spending those prices. I frequent discount stores like TJMaxx and thrift stores to find the brands I want at prices I can afford.
- Create a realistic budget. After you track your expenses for a few months, look at where you are spending your money. Then sit down with your computer and spreadsheet program and create a realistic budget. Allow yourself a set amount for each category and don’t go over that amount. Use some of your extra money to pay down debt and save for unexpected expenses.
You don’t need budgeting software to make a family budget. I use a Google Spreadsheet that I created to have the information I want in it. It’s really handy to access especially when I use it on my Dell Inspiron 13 7000 series. The Dell Inspiron 13 7000 series can be used in 4 different positions as a laptop or a tablet and in display or tent mode. It’s easy to use in my office, at the kitchen table or even on the couch while I watch TV. Because it has Windows 8.1, it comes with a touch screen and lots of fun apps but it can also access all of my Google docs which is a must for me. Of course, there is also Netflix which helps keep our entertainment expenses down and I can wirelessly print all my coupons too. Plus, it has the Intel 2 in 1 technology which makes it fast and efficient! It’s a must have for keeping track of our finances.
Want more information and budgeting tips, make sure you download the FREE Budgeting Strategies For Busy Families ebook and Budget Worksheet below.
Why are you trying to get out of debt? Any tips I’ve forgotten?
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Ellen is a busy mom of a 22-year-old son and 27-year-old daughter. She owns 5 blogs and is addicted to social media. She believes that it doesn’t have to be difficult to lead a healthy life. She shares simple healthy living tips to show busy women how to lead fulfilling lives. If you’d like to work together, email firstname.lastname@example.org to chat.