How badly do you need a budget? Budgeting is hard work and it is best to gain all the knowledge and information you can before attempting to create your own. In this way, you will create a budget that will work well for you and your family. Yet, scavenging around the pool of information we call the Internet is especially time-consuming and it is hard to weed out the good seeds from the bad. So I have done the work for you!
This week on I Heart Frugal, I have compiled a list of budget posts to help you get started on your budgeting journey. My fellow personal finance bloggers have a wealth of information to share that will get you back on track to an amazing debt-free life.
Each picture will feature a link to the post and the blog title below. Check out my post on budgeting here and use these other posts to really dive into starting your budget and making your money work for you.
So when I was a kid, I used to swim every day. I would swim for fun! I would swim for exercise and because I grew up by a lake, I thought this made me an excellent swimmer. Daily walks to the lake entailed swimming laps and laying out in the sun. This was a way of life when you grew up a few blocks from the water. Winter was your enemy and summer your best friend.
Yet, that day in the five-foot hotel pool told a story of a different swimmer. Not the story of a swimmer that could swim laps around Michael Phelps, but of a vulnerable kid that could not get a grip. That was the day my brother started drowning. Yet, being the great swimmer that I am, I knew I could save him.
I saw it so differently in my head. I envisioned diving in, grabbing him, and pulling him to the edge. It was all so clear and I would be a hero!
However, I didn’t take into account, when the water is over your head and the other person is panicking – by the way, I’m not a lifeguard – saving them is near to impossible.
As I swam up to my brother bobbing up and down grabbing for any inch of air to fill his water-logged lungs, he grabbed me and started taking me down with him. I – the great swimmer from Michigan – started to panic myself.
Hi, I’m Sarah and my husband and I have paid down over $100,000 worth of debt combined. We are close to being totally debt-free when we pay off our mortgage this year (2021). Read more about our story here.
If there is one trick that has helped us pay down debt and stay out of debt, it is tracking our spending.
Have you ever considered using a spending journal? You may be thinking, “Why would I want to add one more thing to my “To Do” list?”
Yet, tracking your spending could be the one aspect of your budget you are missing to put the “debt-free” back into your life. Nonetheless, journals come to mind when writing about feelings and yes, they are more commonly used for this type of writing, yet isn’t your money journey just as important as your emotional journey? These two aspects of life are intertwined immensely.
Writing down what you spend will give you a clear picture of where your money is going and help you solve your debt puzzle. I suggest making this the first step to beginning your budget and obtaining financial freedom.
What is a Spending Journal?
Spending Journal: A written journal of all the money you have spent that week or month. I recommend tracking your spending for at least a week, but a month would be better and will give you a clear picture of how you spend. Moreover, once you have this in place you can begin to trim the fat off of your budget and use the extra money to pay down debt or save for an emergency fund or retirement.
Henry David Thoreau once said, “Almost any man knows how to earn money, but one in a million knows how to spend it.” Translation: Most people have not mastered the simple art of frugal living – living within your means. It is commonplace to use credit cards and buy on a whim. Moreover, debt continues to grow and as your paycheck fizzles away, plastic replaces reality. Spending more than you make becomes a habit and your debt becomes a way of life.
Are you in debt? You are not alone. Over 50% of Americans are in debt right along with you. The average American family carries a credit card debt of $8,377 according to CNBC.com.
One solution is to toss up your bills and hope you win the lottery, but your odds are super low. So now is the time to solve your debt dilemma.
Reasons to Pay off Debt:
peace of mind
ability to save for an emergency fund
no family fights about money
own your house and car outright
pay less interest
A friend of mine is looking to go to the Barr after having her baby… No, not the bar you are thinking of! Barr class to workout… Now you see where I’m going with this. Knowing I’m into frugal fashion and running, she texted me to find out where I shop for my frugal workout gear! I immediately gave her a list of several places that have always worked out (pun intended) for me!
Most women want to look cute while working out but if you are on a budget, you aren’t going to buy Lulu Lemon, Athleta, and Victoria’s Secret workout gear. Yet, there are ways to look pretty while you are sweatin’ to the oldies. (Sorry, bad old-school workout joke!) You just have to know where to look.
Frugal workout gear is easy to come by if you use my shopping tips listed below. The best part is the list offers good quality workout gear, so you won’t be literally running back to the store to buy more. So keep up your shopping pace as you read through my list and get ready to look cute while getting into shape this year!
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