Beginners Guide To Budgeting

 

Disclaimer: I am not an expert, i am simply sharing how I  build my budget and what works for me. This is not a strict guideline, do what works for you!

I hope this budget can help you get clarity and take the first step into financial stability!

 

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1. The first thing you need to create a budget is to calculate the fixed monthly income. If you are someone who either receives the steady amount monthly ( ex: salaried employer) this should be easy to figure out. If you don’t have a steady or reliable month to month amount, use the minimum amount that  you can expect. This should be done if you are paid commission and or tips.

 

2. Next you want to begin to determine the amount you need to sustain your lifestyle. Start off by listing each bill and the amount allotted for each. If you have a bill that fluctuates like a water or utility bill, use the greatest amount you’ve previously paid for that service.

 

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3. Next, you want to determine the amount you need for basic necessities. This includes the money needed for food, gas, toiletries and other house needs.

 

4. Delegate a monthly saving amount. Read our last blog post about tips for saving and how to get the right amount for you to save monthly here.

 

5. Keep a “Rainy Day Fund”.You never want every penny that you make accounted for! Never designate all of you money, instead leave yourself a grace of at least $50 monthly just in case an unexpected expense comes up.

 

6. Always leave something for yourself!  I emphasize this because I think it s important to be able to reward yourself for doing the right thing. Give yourself an incentive to keep working hard! My husband and I give  ourselves a “going out” budget for little things we enjoy doing like movie dates. The amount that you should give yourself is best determined on a case by case basis, so determine the best amount for you!

7. The last step is to use the numbers to calculate if you are below or over budget. Based on that finding, you may need to adjust some things. Maybe you spend too much on cable, in that instance you may need to look into cheaper internet based streaming services. Maybe your phone bill is really high, you may need to downgrade or switch services. Maybe your car note is killing you, if you have been consistently paying on time for a while, you may be able to seek another loan at another credit union for a lower interest rate. Maybe you spend a lot of grocery shopping, read our blog post about How To Save Money on Food While Eating Healthy at the Same Time! Whatever, the case may be, it is important to be aware .

 

 

Let me know if you found anything on this list helpful. Did I leave anything out, help other by commenting below! Thanks so much for reading.

 

Why you’re not saving as much money as you should be!

 

There are plenty of reasons to save. You can save for a short term goal, save for unexpected events or you can save save for long term . No matter the reason, it is important for everyone to save money, no matter the amount of money you make. Here’s some tips to help you save as much money as you can!

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  1. Make a clear goal! Many people are just saving whatever they have left after they buy everything they want and need for the month. A better method is to determine how much you want in a certain time frame. Example: To save 10,000 in 2 years you would need to save $417 a month (Rounded up from $416.66). This not only lets you know the exact amount you have to save for your goal but the exact amount you need to to have left over after you pay for all of your allotments. If you do no have the monthly amount to meet your goal, this lets you know that you need to either increase your cash flow or cut back on some of your expenses.
  2. Once you create your goal you will need to follow through. Create a savings account and create a recurring transfer to this account monthly.! You need to keep your saving separate so that you get into the habit of only spending the money you have left for spending purposes. This may mean you have to stretch your last $20 till the end of the month.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Picture1
  3. When your making your budget be sure to give yourself some extra cash for the unexpected life occurrences. You want to leave at least $50 a month and if you have any left over, save it for the next month! This way you don’t have to keep dipping into the savings while your in the process of growing it! You will thank me when you’re prepared for that extra coolant, flat tire or any other lower cost expense
  4. Don’t forget to leave a little something for you! No struggle comes without sacrifice. To keep you motivated and inspired to work hard, I think its crucial to be able to have a small treat for yourself every now and then. You know your spending habits and what a “treat” would be for you so this exact figure should be determined by you . As long as you can afford this extra expense in your monthly budget, it will work!
  5. UPDATED! Another Tip to consider is that paying off a recurring bill does not mean free money!  That money should immediately be allotted to another bill or become a part of your savings.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I Really hope these tips will work for you! Let me know if you had an “AHA” moment or if you plan to use any of my tips!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Be sure to check out our blog post about saving money on groceries here!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Subscribe for updates on our next post about How to Create a Budget that works! 

How To Save Money on Food While Eating Healthy at the Same Time!

One thing that i recently started implementing to save more money on groceries is preparing a bulk of quick foods on the weekend. I make a big pot of soup, a big bowl of salad and snack size portions of fruit and chips. This helps encourage us to eat healthier because it is visible and convenient. Often times i would go for unhealthier options because they would require less physical work. They could be ready in 1 minute and i wouldn’t have to chop, wash or peel them. Now instead of having a piece of cake i have some fruit. Now instead of eating a whole bag of chips in 2 servings, we have single serve ziploc pouches that allow snacks to stretch longer periods of time.  This also helps us save money because we can take quick snacks or lunches that I’ve pre-made instead of buying fast food. For quick and easy healthy recipes, follow our food & drink board on Pinterest Here!

 

Below are 10 other things to keep in mind when shopping to save money on groceries!

1. Stick to your list! How many times have you gone grocery shopping for a few things and you end up with a cart full of unnecessary items? Don’t shop while you are hungry and only get exactly what’s on your list. If you see a 10 for 10 deal , get exactly how many you need. Most of these advertised deals work with fewer items, check the fine print to be sure!

2. Coupons! Coupons are great but they only save you money when you only use them for things on your list. Getting a coupon for something makes you feel like your saving money, but they can also convince you to get things extra items just because you’ll save a few cents. Another thing to do when using a coupon is to compare prices. Often times we get a coupon for an item but end up ditching it because the price still is more expensive than an non-discounted item. You can find great coupons from coupons.com and you can get cash back using the app Checkout 51!

3. Try off brands! This may not work for everyone as some people like specific brands for certain foods. I am not loyal to any brand of food, i buy the cheapest or healthier option. I save so much money on condiments, sauces and pasta by buying the store brand or brands that aren’t as advertised. Have you ever compared active ingredients on pharmaceuticals or cleaning products vs the name brand. A lot of times i find off brand have the same ingredients but for half the cost of name brands!

4. Do it Yourself Whenever you can! Buying fruits or veggies that are pre-cut is a great way to waste money. Instead buy vegetables and choose a day to wash and cut them into convenient portions for later. You can keep half refrigerated and half frozen so you have less food going unused. I  found that i would buy a lot of healthy foods with good intentions but end up not using them before they would rot. When healthy options are convenient, you are more likely to use them!

5. Don’t pay more for convenience! This includes buying groceries from local pharmacies (Walgreens and CVS) as well as buying foods that are quick serve. Some examples of things that are more expensive to buy premade are broths,  microwaveable rice,  canned beans, diced or shredded chicken.

6. Compare prices! A lot of grocery stores make it easy to compare prices because they list prices per oz on the pricing labels. Another tip is to compare weekly ads for the items you need.  A mobile app Retale, lets you compare weekly ads for store near you! Walmart and target price match so you can cut down on going to multiple stores!

7. Certain things are cheaper in bulk, some things are not! Don’t always assume bigger sizes means bigger deals. As the tip above states, always compare price per oz on price labels. A rule of thumb, most cost per item or pound when it comes to fruits and vegetables seem  to be more expensive then their prepackaged bag option. Usually, you can snag a better deal on fruit and veggies that are in a  pound bags.

8. Shop at the dollar store! The dollar store has a lot of great bargains for food and household items. I like to buy minced garlic, sea salt, seasonings, dry herbs, salad dressing, soy milk and sauces (teriyaki, soy, and hot wing) . If you like white bread, you can count on getting a huge wonder bread loaf for $1.

9. Freeze food for later use! Freezing foods give you the option to extend the shelf life of your food, thus giving you more bang for your buck. If you find that you are constantly throwing foods away before you can use them, google ways to either freeze them or make them last longer. I was able to find ways to make celery, potatoes and other foods last longer so i i wasted less $$ !

10. Buy foods that will be used multiple ways! Trying out new recipes sometimes causes us to buy an ingredient to use one time. You can use alllrecipes.com or Pinterest to find recipes using a certain ingredient. If you will only use an ingredient once, you can also substitute it for a similar herb, spice  or etc that you already have.

 

Want more? Here are some great links to help you save money while grocery shopping!

Save Time & Money — 31 Things You Can Freeze!

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/shopping-storing/more-shopping-storing/grocery-store-layout/cooking-demonstrations

 

What are some of your tips to saving money on food? Are any of these tips helpful?  I would love to hear from you below! Thanks for reading!

Five Tips to Help Your Small Business Grow Its’ Sales

Let’s get right to it! Here are five things to start on now to grow your small business:

 

  1. Focus on adding additional higher end products and services to your existing customer base. More choices are always good and your clientele may be interested in upgrading and extending  their experience with your company.
  2. Sell more at a time by selling bigger sizes or bundles. Try suggestive selling to sell related products or services.
  3. Try selling wholesale directly to businesses that target your audience.
  4. Increase your social media presence and try to give updates regularly. There are many platforms to choose from, many of them being free.
  5.   Focus on building your brand. Give your customers an unique experience! They need to identify your business with consistent service and product.

 

 

 

If you have any tips to add, please feel free to leave your feedback, comments and concerns below!