I am not a huge fan of A BUDGET per se'. My idea of budget is:
You make X amount of dollars - therefore you spend less than that! You don't spend more than you make EVER!
We always had a rule from day one of marriage - that our normal bills should never be more than one person's salary. We pretty much made that work. Now did we spend more than one salary? Sure - but not on basic bills.
I had times when I got laid off from work over the years and we got by on G's wages only. We have always been savers and had an emergency fund set aside - THIS IS HUGELY IMPORTANT for everyone! You need to have a good 3 - 6 months saved back.
When G had to retire due to disability, it took almost a year to get retirement and disability for him. We lived on what I made. If we had to - we dipped into savings. Basically, we lived no different on one paycheck than we did on two.
There are unexpected savings when you don't go to work everyday. Vehicle maintenance and gas go down. Laundry and clothing habits change. You can get car insurance rates changed. There is no lunches, snacks, or drinks being purchased. There seems to be home cooked meals. It seems money stays in your wallet longer!!!!!
We all have to be responsible for ourselves - we can not depend on others for our basic needs.
Have an emergency fund
Stock a good pantry
Plan ahead - don't live beyond your means
Pay off things as quickly as possible - keep bills to a minimum
There are so many things that will help - when you are in a dire financial pinch.
- DON'T EVER eat out - no coffee, no bottled water or pop, no lunches, no snacks - take your own - nothing
- DON'T use credit cards - unless you can pay off 100% each month
- CUT SERVICES - cable, gym memberships, sports, internet, etc. They are NOT always necessary for quality life
- CUT BACK on utilities - turn off lights, unplug, less heat, etc.
- Get MORE CREATIVE - look at using what you have, check out the library for options, get inventive with recipes (you may come up with a favorite), barter with family, friends, and neighbors
- STAY HOME - no movies, flea markets, sports events, thrift stores - nope!!! If you need to get out go to FREE events in the community, play games at homes, entertain your own family!
- NO SPENDING - no pay events, no clothes, no shoes, no gadgets, no snacks (make your own)
- SELL STUFF - we all have so much stuff that we do not need. It could be clothes, toys, gadgets, tools, books, etc. You can make grocery money or a utility bill money this way.
- Use a FOOD PANTRY if necessary. That is what they are for - to help those that truly need it. Don't use unless you really need it - don't take from those that truly have a need. This is a huge pet peeve of mine. Use what is available if YOU NEED IT, but not to just get free things. I see people doing that everyday - Grrrr.
- IF NECESSARY get a part time job - to make a little extra for a while. Sell your services - mow lawns, sew for others, babysit, yard work, cook meals, work from home services, etc.
If you live within your means, and save a little at a time, and keep a pantry - you should be good.
ALWAYS plan ahead.
Misfortune can happen to any of us at any time. No job is 100% secure - layoffs can happen and do happen - every day. Life can deal us any number of stumbling blocks along the way.
YOU are the only person you can count on 100% of the time.
Be wise. Live within your means = never spend more than you make, Stock your pantries, Save for emergencies. Get creative.
MOST OF ALL KEEP GOING FORWARD, BREATH, KEEP YOUR COOL - YOU GOT THIS!