By Jenna, brought to you by Progressive.
By now you’ve all heard our exciting news I hope! We will be moving back to Utah and building a home there! Ever since we started saving for our house I’ve been trying to find new ways to budget. I’ve done the whole Dave Ramsey thing (you know, the no nonsense budgeting guru) that I love but just can’t see going as far as the cash envelope system. Maybe one day, but for now I’m sharing super easy and tangible tips you can apply to everyday decisions that aren’t overwhelming, or at least they weren’t for me!
1. Make a list of your last 25 credit card transactions. Not kidding this is life changing. It revealed so much about myself! Scary stuff. I was able to see where I frequent — and I chose to avoid those places for a month. I know, sounds crazy, but I did it and it saved a TON. (Want to know my top 3? NO shame in my game. Target, Chick Fil-A, the gas station.) YIKES!
2. I stopped going to bulk warehouse grocery stores. Sad day, but I had read once that it should be the first to go. Excessive food buying (I blame the samples) and unnecessary purchases were killing me there (yes, I for sure need 30,000 AA batteries). I’ve saved $300/month not going. Yep, I was buying $300/month in unnecessary items. I just buy diapers and wipes in bulk with Prime now.
3. Re-sell your goods! Open an Instagram shop, hold a yard sale, or there’s several buy sell and trade groups on Facebook. I recently started using the app ‘Poshmark’ which makes it incredibly easy, even down to printing a shipping label for you. I started organizing our closets, which felt super satisfying and sold some gently used name brand clothing on it. We donated the stuff without resale value and ‘dejunking’ felt awesome. I told myself I could only buy clothing for our family with the money I earned from selling the things we didn’t need anymore. I made $700 my first month, so cool!
4. Budgeting Apps! We use “Mint.” The top rated apps of 2016 (by the Huffington Post) were also Wally, Level Money, GoodBudget and Unsplurge! Mint specifically helps track your purchases, automatically categorizes and files them away. So you can set a budget and it will go on red alert when you go over budget in any given category. So typically mine will start yelling at me “stop buying clothes!” It really is helpful. I think the best part of budgeting is not to restrict, but to make you aware of how much you’re actually spending! Once you know the real numbers you can make more intentional efforts to be better.
5. Make your savings automatic. What that means is your saving should be just like any other payment –not optional. So, just like our car payment, we have a certain amount of money withdrawn from our checking every month and put it into a separate savings that can’t be transferred online. That way the money feels like it’s gone forever and not touchable until we close on our home. I think it can feel very overwhelming when we decide we want to “budget” and I think some of us like to go harder than others with it. But I’ve found that it’s really small changes that make the habits last for our family! What are some small tips that you have for saving money? How have you saved for big life changes? I really would love to hear your suggestions in the comments because we need all the help we can get!