As we were preparing to move, and to transition down to one income I knew our budget would need a revamp, and we’d have to make some adjustments to get by without my income. Although it’s been easier with just 2 of us, our family will soon be growing and all of these suggestions will work just as well in larger families! In just over 11 short months these are some of the best tricks that have saved us some dough, and have kept us mostly on track with our financial plan:
Without the cushion of a second income, it’s important for us to carefully decide the order of importance in our spending and purchases. Just because it’s low on the list doesn’t mean it won’t happen, it just means now is not the time!
2. Set Goals!
Whether it’s getting out of debt, building your savings, a house renovation or putting your children through college, it’s important to set goals (on paper) and leave yourself reminders to try and achieve them! (May I recommend writing these goals on a card you keep in your wallet, covering your debit or credit card!!)
3. Buy Quality not Quantity!
This may seem strange coming as a tip to reduce costs and save money, but trust me, it works! It wasn’t until I had spent a significant amount of time working for very well-off (read: totally loaded!) families that I learned a very important lesson. In the time I was employed in my last position I had personally bought multiple vacuums, dvd players, mp3 devices etc. For each time I went for the lowest prices (otherwise known as the lowest quality) and needed to replace these items frequently. My employers who had more money to throw around had bought high end (top quality) items and not only did the products last, if there was ever a problem, they had access to fantastic customer service numbers, things I was missing out on trying to save a penny. In the end We had spent roughly the same amount and they ended up with the nicer, easier to use, and longer lasting products. I had nothing to show for it. The lesson here is to save up and buy high end, I promise you’ll feel better about your purchase, and will save more long term.
4. Plan Ahead
This has made a difference in all sorts of ways when it comes to our money saving goals! I am not a coupon user (although I’d love to learn how) but planning ahead has helped save money at the grocery store, and in many cases like above, in preventing multiple purchases of cheap items that need to be replaced! Meal planning, and making a list are huge helps!
It is important to research big purchases, look up reviews online, and talk to friends. I regularly post questions like “I’m interested in buying a __________. What is your favorite brand and why?” to my personal Facebook. I have always found this extremely helpful to saving money,
5. Pay in Cash
I’m not saying you need to cut up your debit or credit cards, but the thing that has been absolutely crucial in controlling our spending was to use cash. We kept ours in jars (that I prettied up using some scrapbooking supplies) but envelopes or even just a small wallet sized folder would work well. Every week I take a set amount of cash from the bank (I skipped the ATM fees by using the automated teller at our bank, or waiting a few seconds in line (try to avoid Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays for this) and both Hubby Bumpkin and I both record our spending in a binder. This way it was impossible to spend more money than we had with us, and we could easily track what we were spending on because the paper held us accountable!
There was a little hesitation at first having cash on hand, or in the house, but by going to the bank frequently I don’t feel there is much risk. Losing 1 week’s cash was still putting us in a better situation than continuing our mindless spending habits using debit or credit. (and for the record, that has never happened.)
This is still a work in progress for me, but as I talked about yesterday I have struggled with some pretty major anxieties regarding finances in the past. Following these tips has really put us in the drivers seat of our finances, and almost all anxiety is completely gone! I can’t stress it enough that it is totally possible to get ahead and stay that way! There have been set backs and unexpected expenses, but it sure feels amazing to be able to take care of those without going further into debt!