Do you set a budget? Do you have everything spelled out in black and white? Do you have a very specific plan for your money?
I really dislike the word budget. I always have. It makes me feel very constrained for some reason. The logic we always used - we made X amount of money, therefore we HAD to spend less than that.
Luckily, that worked for us.
There are so many things and ways for people to budget. Some divide money into jars or envelopes. Some use spreadsheets, notebooks, special accounts - the list goes on and on.
I have to admit (sheepishly) I have never read a Dave Ramsey book nor have I watched any videos, etc. of his. It just never appealed to me.
Now I have read Tightwad Gazette and a ton of books on ways to do things cheaply - but no real budget material.
I/we just always used the simple principle of never spend more than we made. We tried to work it out that either one of us could pay the bills in case the other was without pay for a certain amount of time.
Yes, that meant we didn't go out shopping a lot. Yes, that meant we bought a smaller and less expensive home than most people we knew. Yes, it meant learning how to do things ourselves. Yes, it meant we took our lunches to work or came home for lunch. Yes, it meant we learned to have quality fun with friends cheaply (movie nights, camping, etc.). Yes, that meant for most of our lives we drove older vehicles. We only purchased a brand new vehicle (a first for us both) after our house was paid in full.
Lot's of people didn't understand us - but we eventually rubbed off on some of them!!! I think they began to see we saved and had some money for the future and we weren't in horrible debt - and they wanted to taste that treat as well!
Some things we did:
- ALWAYS saved 10% - 15% of our pay right off the top
- Didn't just shop whenever we felt like it - we set specific days and weeks to shop
- We got on the budget plans for all utilities that would let us. We paid the same amount every month - versus huge payments in some months
- We talked about and saved for bigger purchases
- Found new ways to do things - husband was a mechanic and could take care of our vehicles. He was handy. I was crafty and learned older ways from my parents.
- Cooked at home
- Loved clearance and mark downs
- Joined in 401K or other programs offered to the full extent
- Gardened and put up a lot of our own food
You get the idea. We just LIVED WITHIN OUR MEANS! That is the big statement! Don't try to keep up with the Jones - keep your life simple and within YOUR means.
I hear people say "I can't cut out anything else". Bet you can. You don't HAVE to have cable, internet, cell phones, morning lattes, lunches out, shopping all the time, tons of junk food, etc.
There is always something that can be cut out - you may not like it - but if you are having money problems, you need to do whatever you can to get above water. WHATEVER IT TAKES.
Like if you go overboard at the grocery and just buy because you see it and it says 'buy me'. Shop online and have your groceries delivered. Stay out of the store.
If your internet bill is too high - either shop around for better service or just go to the library and use their connection (free). Maybe you and a neighbor can share both connection and cost.
Read books from the library - quit buying them
Take lunches (leftovers are great) and quit going out
Stop bad habits - smoking, drinking fancy coffees, pop, etc.
Read blogs, watch Vlogs about new ways of doing things (cheaply)
Reuse, reduce, recycle everything you can - it does make a difference
I am curious how others BUDGET. Share your ideas and hopefully those ideas will help someone else. We all need new ways and ideas of doing things.
What say you?