Sunday, November 1, 2009

Setting the Table for Savings: Step #1

Setting a Budget

I think there is a negative stigma when it comes to the word BUDGET. Maybe you think a budget will restrict you too much, when in all actuality a budget will set you free. Successful budgeting can help enable you to live a debt free life! Now, who doesn't want that!

When we were married, Daniel and I came up with a budget, and have pretty much had one the whole time. I can't say I have followed it the whole time, I am not perfect after all! We do a cash budget, and I would HIGHLY recommend that. It doesn't leave room for user error. In other words, if I have $5 in my pocket I can't spend $5.25, or even $5.01.

When I started this whole couponing thing I just started chasing deals left and right. Then I realized I needed to tighten up the budget, there was too much wiggle room. I love challenges so for the new year I started us on a $50/week budget. People(I won't mention their names, in case they are reading!!!), said it isn't possible if I wanted to serve well balanced meals. Well...they were wrong! In fact after a few weeks it was no longer challenging and I lowered it to $40/week. Now, almost a year later, we use an average of $30/week, and we eat well! (that is for 2 people) I don't say this to brag or say your budget should be the same. I do say this to encourage you to challenge yourself to look at your own budget; set some goals for yourself! If I can do it, so can you!

So, go and figure out what you have been spending and what you want to be spending. I mean, how can you save if you don't even know where you started at. What do you buy at the grocery that you could easily make yourself? What do you buy that you really don't need? The whole point is to save money, not spend the same and get more stuff. Just think, if you were to cut your budget by $10/week you would save $520 in a year. If you were to cut $20/week you could save $1,040 in a year. I would rather save that $1,040, wouldn't you?

Next I will get into menu planning and how that is a big component in your savings!

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