Budget Categories to Organize Your Personal Budget
Are you ready to start a budget, but are not sure where to start? Budgeting can be overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it, it will seem like second nature.
After a while, your budget will become your habit and your money goals will come out on top. As you read on, you will learn the most important personal budget categories and subcategories to help you create a budget and plan for your future.
My Sinking Fund Method – My Secret to Saving for Everything
Have you heard of sinking funds? Sinking funds could be the number one game-changer to your personal finances. This little money hack will provide you with a clear way to save money and actually trick yourself into saving more. Learn how to use my sinking fund method to change your finances today.
Sinking funds help you set savings goals for specific purchases and can be turned into automatic savings so you don’t have to think about it.
Are you in debt? Around 80% of Americans are currently in debt according to a 2018 study by Comet. It is no wonder saving money is difficult and most shy away from it.
However, you can use my sinking fund method to start saving for just about anything including debt repayment.
The sooner you are debt-free the sooner you can start living and forget money stress. So why not start with a plan and make your plan automatic.
In this post, you will learn the who, what, when, where, and why of sinking funds.
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.
Saving money isn’t always easy. In fact, many of us have no choice to save money and are living paycheck to paycheck. Nonetheless, there are many easy money tips and tricks to help keep your budget on track.
So learning to save money means keeping more in your pocket. Not to mention, you can build up your savings account with these simple tips. And it doesn’t have to be hard. There are ways to save money on a tight budget.
Unfortunately, over half of Americans do not have enough money saved to cover one month of expenses. According to a recent study by Bankrates.com, 20% of Americans don’t save anything and 47% only save 1-10% of their earnings. Yes, most people are one emergency away from going over the top into debt.
Saving money is important and some of the best ways to get on top of your money problems are as follows:
use a spending journal
create a budget
find ways to save more money
find a side hustle
create sinking funds or separate accounts
plan for retirement
By starting a budget, you will learn how to save money on a daily basis. If you are stuck on starting your budget, get your free budget template here:
No matter what you are saving for, it is best to have a goal in mind. Learning money tips and tricks will help you keep money in your pocket and you will reach your money goals.
The list below features many ways I use to save money. With a family of four, it is easy to go over budget, especially on groceries for kids. However, I have found that if I continue to practice the tips below, I have a few extra bucks in my pocket at the end of the month and I hope you will too.
It is hard not to buy something we like, especially when credit cards make it so easy.
However, patience is your friend when it comes to saving money.
The next time you see something you are really eyeing, wait a week and see if you still have the desire for that new purse or pumps. If so, set aside an envelope to save up for your favorites.
Better yet, try the 30-day rule before making a big purchase.
#4. Pay off your credit card monthly
I admit I use credit cards. Yet, I pay my balance off each month. I keep track of how much I am spending and set a spending limit for myself. In this way, I am not overspending and getting a surprise bill later.
Then I pay off the bill each month.
This might be tricky if you already have a lot of credit card debt, but paying the minimum on your credit card will just not cut it. Think of it this way, you are now paying 10-20% more per purchase (depending on your rate) for everything you buy. Would you buy it in the store if it cost that much initially?
Make a plan to pay off debt and pay cash until you can. Here are some money posts to help you on your debt journey:
The main reason I use credit cards is that I get discounts and rewards points, but I make sure to pay it off in full each month and once you are out of credit card debt, you can do the same.
# 5. Shop ahead of time
Have you ever needed a gift for a party and had to run out to the store the day before? Once in this position, we will usually spend more, because we literally have no choice. Yet, if we estimate the number of gifts we will need each year, we can stock up and be ready.
You can also buy things on clearance at the end of the season for next year.
Winter clearance starts after Christmas. I once bought my son a $30.00 winter coat for $8, on clearance at Target. You can also get great deals on summer stuff in July.
I will admit, it takes time to look through clearance. That is why I will often search clearance online. Then I use my favorite online rebate app to save on top of clearance prices.
#6 Pack a lunch or make your own foodto save
Buying lunch at your work cafeteria or going out daily can add up and eat up your budget. If you want to save money, it is time to start “brown bagging” it.
Moreover, my hubby packs his lunch daily, as did I when I was working. This will save you a tremendous amount of money each week.
Going out to eat is such a fun treat and a treat it should be. Set aside money to eat out twice a month. Cook at home the rest of the time. This alone can save you hundreds each month and you can still go out to eat, so you do not feel deprived.
#8 Save Money Daily – use of kids eat free
Many restaurants offer “kids eat free” day/night. Check out your local restaurants and take advantage of this if you are bringing the kids along.
#9 Save Money Daily -Make use of local selling groups
There are many groups out there that allow you to make purchases from local people for a very discounted price. An example of this would be a mom-to-mom Facebook site. You can stock up on needs for your kids at a lower than retail price and sometimes even find items that are brand new. If you want to make some extra cash, consider selling items you no longer need on these sites.
First, I recommend using meal planning. I have saved SO much money by planning out my meals monthly and using a grocery list to make sure I have my ingredients on-hand and I’m not running back to the store daily spending more money. Sticking to your list is key.
It also helps to pay cash when grocery shopping.
Once you make your list, total your list out. This may be an estimate when you start out until you can learn the prices at your favorite stores. Then only bring that much cash with you to the store. You are then forced to stay on budget.
Need some help in this area? Here are a few of my most popular meal planning posts:
Also, I find making a list can help keep me on track, but I allow myself a limit for a small impulse buy. For example, Maybe I’m craving pop chips but wasn’t planning on buying them this week. I could use my impulse $5 to cover this.
I’m hoping my post helps you save money! Consider saving money each month by setting aside money from your monthly salary and start living a frugal life. You will build your savings and have more money in your pocket. You will have less money stress in your life and be better prepared for an emergency.
Check out some other posts listed below on budgeting and making extra money. What tips does your family use to save money? Leave me a comment! I would love to hear from you. Until next time!!
Thanks for checking out my first blog post at I Heart Frugal! Look out for many more to come and comment with any questions. Happy Saving!!!