Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Painless Budgeting Tips

I recently had a conversation with my cousin about budgeting.  Now don't misunderstand I am by no means a budgeting guru but I have picked up a few things over the years that have helped our family stay on budget (most of the time). 

Here are a few painless tips I gave her to help her family budget better.

:::::First and foremost you need to know WHERE your money is going.  Keep a journal and/or spreadsheet outlining all of your spending for a full month.  By knowing where it is going you can hopefully make a budget that is more realistic to your lifestyle and therefore not set yourself up for failure.

::::Once you have determined WHERE your money is going, then you can start trimming the fat.  You might be surprised where a good portion of your money goes.  Fast food trips?  Mini mart trips for soda, chips?

::::Sign up for a FREE online budget program such as  Here is a link to the top 10 FREE budget programs.

::::Menu Plan. Menu Plan. Menu Plan.  I can't say that enough!  I Menu Plan weekly.  Some Menu Plan monthly.  Do whichever works for you and your shopping habits.  BUT DO IT!  This is the #1 best way that our family stays on budget with our groceries and not eating out.

::::Take stock of your pantry/refridgerator BEFORE you make your Menu Plan and head to the store. AND make sure you bring a list.  A written list.  Not the one in your head.  If you can, order your groceries online for delivery.  I have done this and found it kept me on track because less chance for impulse buys.

::::If you work out of your home, PACK YOUR LUNCH!  Pack it the night before while making dinner.  It can be  left overs, a sandwich, piece of fruit, baby carrots.  But pack it!  Those lunchtime Subway runs ADD up quick.

:::::Make your coffee at home or at work in break room but DO NOT BUY coffee out everyday.  Again, this may not seem like a lot to begin with if you are stopping by 7-11 for $1.00 coffee.  Heaven help you, if you are getting a Mocha or Latte at Starbucks every day.  Every cent counts when you are trying to stay on track.

::::Buy used.  I love me a good  resale store.  The kids have been growing like weeds so anything that I can buy second hand clothes wise, I am all over it.  Amoung many other things.  Have you heard of thredup?  I have used them multiple times and I can say I am impressed.

::::If you want to *indulge* in a night out for dinner, hit a happy hour.  We spend 50% less (or more) by going to a happy hour and ordering off the happy hour menu.  Plus the items are so cheap, you can get a few items for the price of a normal dinner entree.  If fast food, order off the dollar menu rather than the full meal "deals".

::::Stop buying books!  Go to the library.  Most libraries even have ebooks now that you can download on your ereader.  Check it out!

Of course there are many more tips and tricks where these come from but these are just a few that have a quick impact to your bottomline.

What budget tips does your family use in helping make ends meet?


Disclaimer:  This is not a paid endorsement for any links or sites I have mentioned.  These are my own opinions based on using the services.


  1. My husband and I really try to stay on budget, and we follow many of these tips, but I always forget to look for happy hour specials when we're going out to eat. We eat dinner quite early, so it's a tip that would probably work for us. Thanks for sharing. (Found you through TALU!)

  2. Packing my lunch is the #1 way I try to keep on budget. I used to pack, but give into pressure to go out with coworkers when they ask, but now I polietly decline. I still occasionally go out, but the $5-10 i was spending per day is great to have in my pocket now!

    thanks for linking up to TALU!

  3. Great tips! I also believe in the 3-30 Wait rule. When you decide to buy some small luxury thing, wait 3 days before you buy and see if you still need it. For larger items, wait 30 days. Broken refrigerator notwithstanding! :D

    Found you through TALU!

  4. Love these tips! My husband and I are trying to figure out a way to trim our food bill. It is outrageous.

  5. It's not a budgeting trick but more of a savings idea. I got into the habit of taking the same amount of cash out of each paycheck. On the next payday, whatever I have left from the previous check goes into an envelope. I actually went to Vegas that way once. Oh, the other trick with that is once you accumulate some $, swap out to big bills. You'll be less tempted to break a $100 than to sneak a $10 out of the stash. And yeah ... my "black hole" is Dunkin Donuts. I get coffee there at least once a day. I really need to start making it at home! I can still drink their coffee without paying the higher price. Just can't seem to get into the habit of doing it at home.

  6. Thanks for sharing! I have been looking everywhere for budgeting tips. I recently got into an accident which put me into debt, but I also ended up with a cash out annuity which has helped. I'd really like to stay out of debt though, and this sounds like it will help! These don't sound bad at all.

  7. I agree that budgeting is the main solution to overspending and debts. It is better to know where your money goes so that you’ll know how much of the budget you can allocate in a category. Menu plans are a great help in saving money plus you’re keeping your family healthy too! Avail of promos, discounts, sales and free coupons when you have the chance to do so. It really helps you save a lot, especially on apparel. Although I have to say as a book-lover, I still prefer to buy printed books over e-books because e-books are a bit painful to read after a couple of hours. The reading experience is different for printed books too, but maybe that’s just me. But the suggestion of going to the library to read a copy is still a good idea to save up some money.

    Brooke Claudio


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