In this blog I will give you a step-by-step on how to budget your spending so that you can control your monthly costs. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you still have days left before you get paid again but the money is gone or worse you have gone over your balance? I definitely have so I came up with a plan to change my spending habits and improve my families budgeting efforts.
Open up your check book or if you are like me go online and look at your bank account. I generally look at a month at a time. That way you get a picture of all of your bills and spending habits. Make a list of all of the bills and items you have to pay and the amount of each item. Example, mortgage, power, food, gas, etc. Then make a list of all items you pay monthly that may not be 100% necessary like my kids gymnastics, subscription services to the gym or online activities. Finally make a list of all the items you spent that were fun or frivolous. You may want to break this category into two or three sections. Ex. Section 1. Eating out. Section 2. Entertainment. Section 3. Random stores like Target or Online shopping like Amazon. Total each section from bills on down to frivolous. You should have a pretty good idea on where your money goes now.
We discovered that our biggest issue was double dipping. We would go grocery shopping for the week and spend alot and then proceed to go out to eat Friday, Saturday and sometimes even Thursday or Sunday. This blew our budget completely out of the water. I also noticed I really needed to stay out of Target and off of Amazon. lol Leave a comment below on what you overspend on or what you can cut out of your budget.
We get paid twice a month so the first thing I did was take out a notebook and a pen and made two columns. Column 1 was labeled First Paycheck. Column 2 was labeled 2nd Paycheck. Feel free to adjust if you get paid weekly or can think of cuter names than what I did. Then I wrote under each column the bills that were paid out of that paycheck and their amount. Next I put a realistic budget for groceries and gas. Finally I put a line in for play. That covers eating out, entertainment or whatever we want to do that isn’t necessary. I totaled each column to see what we needed/wanted to spend each paycheck and then subtracted it against what we actually get paid. You may have to adjust the play category accordingly.
Sticking to the budget. Now that you know what you can spend on groceries and play I would pull both amounts out of your bank and put the cash in two envelopes. One for groceries and one for play. Once the money is gone it’s gone and you can’t go splurge on anything else. I keep a running tally on my notebook that has my grocery list in it so that I know what I have left to spend that week and adjust what our list accordingly.
Another important tip that I can give you is to get everyone involved. I let my husband know what the budget is for each category so that he knows whether or not he can go to a hardware store for that latest project or whether we need to wait a couple of paychecks. It also gives us a gauge on whether we want to go to one nice restaurant or several chains instead. My kids know they can’t run through the store throwing things in the cart willy nilly.
Next in the series will be how to stay on budget at the grocery store.