Say Goodbye to Living Paycheck to Paycheck: Choosing Your Budgeting Tools

choosing-your-budgeting-tools

This post is part of a series.  To start the series from the beginning, click here.  To browse through the series, click here.

Choosing your budgeting tools is one of the most exciting parts of budgeting.  This is where you begin to fit your budgeting to your style.

There are so many different types of budgeting tools to choose from.  Before picking out the types of tools that would be best for you, take a step back and think about your daily life.

Do you find yourself on the computer often?  If so, what types of things are you doing on the computer?  Do you use the computer just for games and chatting or do you also use the computer for emailing, school work, or for your job?  What is your comfort level with the computer?

Now that you’ve begun to think about the tools in your daily life, think about your comfort level with those tools.  Is using the computer a chore to you?  Or, do you enjoy the computer?  This could be a big hint as to which tool you should use.

 

Some of the most common budgeting tools include Computer programs, Computer or Phone Apps, Spreadsheets, Printables, and Envelopes for money storage.

These tools are not to be mixed up with the budgeting system you chose (Cash or Digital).  You can absolutely mix and match the systems with any type of tool.  For example, you can create digital envelopes or tangible envelopes.  You can also use an all cash banking method but use a digital tool to track your finances.  Or on the flip side, you could use a hand written register to balance your electronic funds.

 

With any tool you choose, make sure that the tool fits your lifestyle and that it will not cause you to go out of your way to use it.

 

Still haven’t quite decided on your tool of choice?  Consider your phone usage.  Do you have a smart phone? If so, do you use your phone for mobile banking currently?  Do you use an app to track your grocery list?  If so, an app may be a great option for you since it will fit in well with your routines.

Not comfortable with apps or computers?  A handwritten register or a printable may be the best option for you.

Once you decide which tool or tools you want to use, use them for a few months.  If you find the tool annoying or too time consuming, feel free to switch to another tool.  The point of budgeting is to make your life easier, not harder.

 

Join me in Part 4 as we talk about how to put it all together.  I will go into depth on all of the different budgeting directions, systems, and tools.

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Say Goodbye to Living Paycheck to Paycheck: Beginning Growth

Say Goodbye to Living Paycheck to Paycheck Beginning Growth

This post is part of a series.  To start the series from the beginning, click here.  To browse through the series, click here.

The pre-teen years are great for reinforcing budgeting skills learned throughout childhood.  This is when the need for money becomes a bit more prevalent. Kids may want to go to the movies with their friends, run to the local candy shop, or buy that new trendy item.

One method to use to reinforce budgeting is to remind your pre-teen about the 50/50 rule. Half of money they make from allowance, dog-walking, babysitting, or any other side jobs needs to be put into savings and the other half can be spent.  This not only helps improve their financial responsibility, it helps set them up for success when they need a down payment on a car, need the first and last month for rent deposits, or even purchasing their first home.

I highly encourage all pre-teens to get a savings account if they haven’t already.  That way they have a safe place to put their saved money where it also won’t be a temptation.  While having a savings account is a big step in the right direction, knowing how to care for a savings account is also just as important.  The pre-teen should be taught how to reconcile their account monthly so they know how much they are saving and so they can double check that the bank didn’t hit them with any fees.  It should not cost any money to have a savings account.  If it does, look for an account elsewhere.

The other 50% of the money they earn can be spent however they want.  The most valuable lesson for the spending percentage is saving up for something that takes a bit of time to get to.  This is a very rewarding task and teaches a work ethic as well.

For the parents, it is also important to decide what types of things you will require your child to use their own money for.  While you may pay for your child to go to the movies, maybe any movie theater snacks are their own responsibility.  It’s important to start slow as they are still dependents.

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Low Spend September – 5 Tips

Low Spend September

Every year around early fall and also in mid winter, I get the bug to stop spending money.  This is probably because I’m so into my home projects that I go crazy in the warm and sunny months completing as many projects as I can.

This summer was no different.  I completely re-decorated my downstairs and also redid all non-carpeted flooring in my house and one bathroom.  While I made sure to never go negative on my spending, I’m ready to go positive for a few months and get that savings back up.

Here’s what I’ve done in the past and plan on doing again.  Let me know if you have tips as well!

  • No large purchases – At this point most of my spending is because of large items, tables, couches, etc.  Since there is really no room in my house for any new items, I’m saying no large purchases (which includes outdoor furniture which is my next project area).
  • Limit random spending to $25/weekend – I’ve learned that since having my house I’m always ‘needing’ something new.  I also know it’s impossible to knock out all of my spending, so I’m giving myself a small limit to get random items that come up.  –I finally found placemats and towels that match my kitchen after looking for five months!  That’s where my money went this weekend.
  • Take advantage of freebies and rewards – With all of my redecorating earlier this year, I racked up some rewards points at Wayfair and was actually notified that my points would be expiring soon.  So, I looked around the site and found bought a kitchen knife (we’ve been looking for good knifes).  The rewards I had covered the expense and shipping!  I also signed up for some of those mail freebies which is something I did last year and got quite a bit of stuff.  The main things that stand out are 5 packages of Nesquick mix and 4 tea k-cups.
  • Clean out the cupboard and freezer (and use the items) – Like most people, I’ve gotten in the rut of buying groceries without using all of the groceries I have in my house.  Many times, the items I’m restocking are processed easy to prepare foods which is not good on so many levels.  So part of my savings this month is to use up as much of the food I have on hand without going to the store except for a few perishable items.  I’ve done this in the past and it’s very helpful to save from spending and helps me to eat healthier, and helps with refreshing the cabinets and avoiding expiration dates.
  • Ditching recurring payments – Some other things I’ve done or plan on doing once contracts are up is unsubscribing from television, Netflix, and security monthly recurring fees.  With videos, there are so many ways to watch that there is no need to pay a recurring fee for methods I don’t ever use.  And with the security, I feel that managing on my own will be just as safe as if it was managed by a company because I really just need to know if something has gotten into my house before me so I don’t walk in.  If I’m already home then either way I’d be out of luck.

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