Can be Broken own into only 3 steps!
Step 1) Get organized
Step 2) Investments
Step 3) Save/earn additional money
Step 1) Get Organized
(single handedly the most important step)
-If you can, take an ENTIRE month and write save ever single receipt you get. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. Don’t do anything out of your norm, besides hoarding those little papers. Then at the end of the month, open an excel sheet and organize everything. How much did you spend on bills? How much on groceries? How much of the groceries was on processed foods or junk food or soda? Fast food? How much did you spend on gas? Entertainment? Etc. really get into it, because you may find money leaving your account without your permission (I did—husbands xbox subscriptions, that he never uses)
-with this new found spreadsheet, where can you trim the fat? If your groceries cost more than $100 per person and you don’t eat organic free range eggs from virgin chickens, then you need to adjust something. A lot of people are surprised to find that you can make foods at home far cheaper than you can buy them at the store. For instance, a good brand family sized pizza at the store averages about $5.00, you can make your own pizza use items in your pantry already (flour, salt, water, sugar, veg oil), and some yeast $.50 for about 2 packets and have 2 pizza crusts made out of the one recipe. Pizza sauce from dollar tree, (or somewhere else since it is usually around that price range) is enough to cover 2 pizzas, so there’s another .50 each. Plus 1 8oz block of cheese $3 is enough to cover 2 pizzas too. Then you can add whatever toppings you have already at home, fresh veggies, shredded chicken, etc. you can have 2 pizzas for less than the price of that one store brand pizza. Plus you can prepare it in advance, and freeze, or just prep the dough, and freeze it, like I do. And if that isn’t enough to win you- try ordering to family sized pizzas from a pizza delivery place, even with in store pickup, your spending at least 3 or 4 times as much money.
-although grocery budget is the easiest way to cut costs, there are other ways too. Talk to your phone and cable providers, see about loyalty discounts, cut out the hbo channels if you aren’t using them. Heck, cut it all if you’re daring. With hulu, Netflix, internet, and amazon prime video, you can stay up to date on a lot of different tv shows without any guilt, or high bills. And whose to say you cant just cut it for a shorter time, a few months while the kids are still in school, they pay more attention to video games and phones anyways. Think of all that money. There was literally a summer, growing up when we went without tv, internet, and garbage removal because it was cheaper to haul a truck load to the dump, and we were living on a truck driver budget, and he had to have a needed surgery so money was tight. We all survived. And I got really good at computer solitaire and the paint program. We also stayed busy with our youth groups, and in the community.
-only you can figure out where your budget can be trimmed, take out processed foods, add in meal prepping, cut some cable, take 1 or 2 days a week and don’t drive anywhere to save on gas. Make a budget plan and stick to it. And don’t just say “oh I’m going to put $50 a month in savings” and then not show it on the budget, that’s the fastest way to forget, give up and lose that extra $50. Make that $50 to savings appear as a bill on your budget, give it importance, don’t let it be forgotten. It should rank right up there after the important bills, but before the fun monies.
-if you have to set real goals, do it. #1 way to fail at a new year resolution is by making it too vague, you aren’t nearly as ambitious, you don’t want it bad enough, and all the spark you had January first is gone by Easter (if you made it that far.) women often say “I want to be healthy” … wrong answer, question- what does healthy look like? Does healthy fit into that new dress you bought size small on purpose? Does healthy have a bmi that you can measure, a weight limit, a standard that you can look back and view. You need to have a visible finish line during this marathon, something to help keep you running the distance. –take that same idea and concept and apply it towards finances. Do you want a vacation? A specific amount of money in savings ($1000 is always a good number.) have something realistic and that will keep you motivated, something that can get the whole family on board. –its not impossible to get a disney vacation by jan 2017, if you start now. But the bigger your family, the harder you’ll need to try. Have a chart and mark off milestone moments in your savings, celebrate with a small something, you earned it.
Step 2) Investments
Cloth diapering a baby costs money up front, but saves it in the long run. couponing costs money up front, and along the way (binders, baseball card holders, coupon inserts, etc) but you save money the entire time, and always save more money than what you put into it. ((if you are not, you’re doing something wrong)) Well, with saving money (in general) there are a few investments you can make to help save more money in the long run.
-Deep freezer, seriously you can score a 7.2cu foot deep freezer from kmart for $189 (before reward points and coupons) score after holiday marked down turkeys, free or money maker coffee creamers from publix, marked down meats from Kroger or safeway. Veggies from your local market, washed and portioned out in ziplocs. freezer friendly crockpot meal preps, meatloafs, bread doughs that haven’t made it past the 2nd rise yet. If you budget, budget a small amount of money $10-$20 a month into putting something in your freezer. If you have more milk than you know what to do with, freeze it too. Or extra loaves of bread, if you’re lucky enough to live near a discount bread place, stock up on some goodies and freeze them. (Two things I miss about Washington, discount produce places and discount bread places.)
–a piggy bank that tells you how much money is inside. Seriously, this is how you make pocket change fun. No more sorting, counting and then rolling, know exactly how much is in there and then take it to a coinstar for the green bills. And by knowing how much is in there, you can have this be your rewards jar. Use it to pay for family date nights.
-storage shelves, pantry organization, always worth the investment. There’s nothing worse than a stale bag of lucky charms, or buying your third bottle of garlic powder because you thought you were out (but no-you were out of garlic SALT, ugh.. real life rant there) you need to be able to see your stuff, know what you have. And have room for a little more because…
-$5-$10 per month grocery shopping should be used exclusively for stockpiling. Are you a baker and always running out for more flour? Or someone trying to squeeze the last few drops of shampoo out of the bottle because payday is still a few day away and you used way more conditioner than a normal person should. Well, budget it to put a little more of something that you don’t “need” in your house so that when you do need it, it’s right there. A bag of flour is less than $2, veg oil is cheap, grab pantry essentials first because they are more “need” than that name brand shampoo.
Step 3) Save/Earn Additional Money
I ran the figures, and its cheaper for me to be stay at home mom than it would be to get a job, thanks to babysitting, daycare costs, and my minimum wage skills. Id literally be losing money if I got a job right now, unless I got a night shift job which-ain’t happening as long as I can help it. When the kid(s) are in school, then I’ll gladly get a job during those hours. Until then, im just going to stretch our one paycheck as far as I can.
-never forget the refunds, rebates. Seriously you might think, eh its only $.50, no biggie. But that $.50 + another $.50 adds up quicker than you think. Once again EVERY. PENNY. COUNTS. See a penny on the ground, pick that sucker up and put it in your piggie bank. You are $.01 closer to your goal, and it didn’t take you any real effort either. Ebates, TopCashBack, ShopAtHome, all great rebate websites for online shopping. Find and save app, ibotta, savingsstar, snap, checkout51 are all great rebate apps. Target cartwheel is a great way to save money in store.
-sign up for reward programs. —and credit cards. This is where I lose most people (especially Dave Ramsey followers, love the guy, but I don’t agree here) Victoria secret has exclusive freebies during the year for angel card holders. You don’t even need to put a penny on that card if you don’t want to; and if you do put money on it, don’t go crazy, pay it off quickly. Kohls credit cards- exclusive online promotional codes, free shipping sometimes, etc. be responsible with it, pay it off, and use those savings to your benefit. Toys r us has a deal where card holders save an additional 10% on Thursdays in store and sometimes Saturdays (this could be benefit large purchases.) target card holders save 5% online and in store. Rite aid, walgreens, and some grocery stores have lower prices for free rewards members, why pay more if you don’t have to? Mapco has $.10 off a gallon when you use their card. Like seriously, there are cards everywhere and all they do is save you money (if used correctly.)
-use coupons. Shop sales. Redplum.com and coupons.com are great online websites for coupons. You can literally google any grocery store or item and find a blog explaining the breakdown on how to get that item cheaper (may not currently be on sale though, so wait and adjust your plans)
-clean your house. Go pick up a copy of Konmari the art of tidying up, and then go through your house with a fine toothed comb. I bet you find a TON of stuff to give away, sell, or trash. Put it all outside for a garage sale and see what happens. I had a vacuum, carpet cleaner and a steam mop that I would have put on the curb free. Posted a sign saying make offer, and got $40 for the three of them. that’s $40 that I would have been out had I not done the sign. You never know who may want to pay for your old stuff, so give it a shot. Wort case scenario, you still end up donating it, and lets be honest-is that really so bad?
-your friend needs a ride to the store, offer you a $20 in gas—do it. Chance are very high that you wont be spending that in gas to do the trip. So instant money is to be made.
-stop buying gifts for non-immediate people. Or atleast trim the budget down. Handmade gifts are nice, everybody eats, if you budget $10 per person but your cousins have a family of 6, buy them a $30 giftcard for pizza, and present it in a nice card with a heartfelt message.
-Stop giving away money, lending, loans –just as well, try not to borrow either. In my experiences, most people never give back money they ask to borrow. And by allowing this, you are throwing it away. Of course every situation is different, but by simple standards, you don’t need to give someone $5 for a soda or cigs, as they can live without these. But even I give out gas money to folks who I know to really be in need of it, so this rule is very wishy washy. But grow a back bone and say no every once in a while, you aren’t an ATM.
-if you are going to shop, try to buy a discounted gift card first, might as well save money on money you were going to spend anyways.
I tell you all of this to hopefully motivate you to save money in 2016. Make it your beast financial year ever, change you entire way of thinking AND your lifestyle for the better.