Saving on a Shoe String Budget
$ Money, Money, Money. The mighty dollar and how to save. $
Cash, Money, Money.
Cash, Money, Money.
Make a commitment to yourself. If you're in a relationship, get your significant other, and family member's agreement to support the new budget plan. "We can do this!" and "Let us do this together!" Can go a long way in a household of folks wanting to make change happen in their home. A fun family idea that I used involved putting up a central jar for all family member's to contribute their change to (negative words cost $.25 each word. Once enough was saved, it was a fun pizza night!)
Don't start the new year short on cash; saving money is possible. It's imperative that you save when your discretionary dollars are limited, because when your budget is tight, one random expense can derail your life, making a huge impact because it's harder to come up with the money! Finding a way to start saving money so that unexpected expenses aren't so devastating may not be easy. But shifting your thought patterns can yield long-term results. Being a "saver," may come natural to some; however, it is not natural to most people.
Having a mindset of a "spender" is the current American way. It is too easy to put that "on sale" item on a credit card with a 20% interest rate because you're saving money, while the reality is after you pay off the bill, the item cost more than regular price. Any and everyone can become a Saver, it can be developed through practice.
Eight Ways to save money when money is tight.
1. Shop smarter (Collect coupons, read the store's newspaper, compare prices, make detailed lists, and rid yourself of impulse buying!) [Grocery Coupon Apps: http://www.squawkfox.com/2014/01/15/grocery-apps/] Great grocery saving ideas: http://www.mymoneycoach.ca/blog/budget-grocery-shopping-tips-to-save-money.html
2. Keep the change (Make additional games to save money with this old fashioned idea: every time you think of having an expensive latte coffee, put that $3.95- $5.00 [http://hackthemenu.com/starbucks/menu-prices/coffee-espresso/] into your jar, or whenever you visit an ATM, find your bank using GPS on your phone and save that $2.00 fee into your jar! Add your loose change to your emergency fund every month).
3 Pay yourself first (Decide on a percentage and make it a priority over that new purse you have your eye on. By saving each month first, then paying fixed expenses and lastly, budgeting the rest for variable spending, you will not be as overwhelmed, because you "have a plan.")
4. ***Stop using credit cards (If may be old fashioned to pay with a checkbook, but it's harder to part with cash, while you're keeping track in the checkbook ledger, than to slap a plastic card down with the pay later mentality). Another, more modern day version of this practice is to keep a running log in your phone/ I-Pad for every single cent spent, or in a notebook. Tally each dollar spent from the budgeted amount. You can't overspend if you are subtracting and you will be aware of where your money is actually going. Hum, $5.00 for a drink? Forget it! I'll sip my flavored water out of the thermos I brought with me; thank you!
5. Make it automatic (Arrange an agreement with your bank to move $10 a month into your emergency fund, while moving $20 into your long-term future home fund).
6. Save with purpose ( Label your saved fund with a name: emergency, new apartment deposit, car repair fund, or even a date night fund).
7. Create a budget (I use a spreadsheet program on my computer. Create "cells," or squares that re-calculate as your expenses or income changes). Your main expenses will be fixed amounts (and choose wisely your fixed expenses, make your rent affordable at your income level), food, clothing, entertainment is not fixed. Come up with a number, like $100 for groceries and entertainment for the month. Take that cash out of the bank and stick to the plan, not taping into other funds because you want to "have a drink out." Each month try to lower that amount by $10; you will find money that you never knew you had. Once you've grown accustomed to living on your budget, you'll open up more money for saving toward various goals.
8. Stay committed.
***More on Credit Cards, because they are the worst vandals:
If you don't have the cash, you don't need it!
If you don't have any money to save at the end of the month, you shouldn't be putting more onto credit cards. The top priority goal needs to be to pay them down and get rid of them so that you can start to work from a cash basis as opposed to a debt basis. Rather than using credit cards to fund living expenses that are beyond your means, or are outside of your income, cut out nonessentials and focus on eliminating your use of credit cards. If your extra cash each month is spent on making credit card payments, you'll never be able to save and get closer to your financial goals.
(Funny and great article from a former shopaholic:
And, then the biggy: Where it all starts, You must have a full-time job. That is just starters! If there is debt, it is wise to continue paying yourself first; taking on more hours or even a second job to pay down the debt.
Additional Great articles:
Ideas and organizations to help if you are attempting to save on a shoe-string:
I found this article funny and if you read further into peoples comments, you will find great ideas (thinking outside of the box for great savings!):
Ideas of things to do, instead of spending money: