I can guarantee you that you will find at least a few of these techniques useful in your life to save some of that precious money you work so hard for. I suggest you choose a few of them that seem most do-able for you and put them into action for at least 2 months.
You should notice some pretty significant change, then come back and try a few more. Or…jump right in and try ’em all.
If you’re serious about saving money you have to become organized…organized…organized. I’ve had problems most of my life trying to get my money right. I always failed miserably in the end. Sometimes I ended up worse than before I started. I have issues keeping things organized but once I realized that organization was my anchor I learned what I needed to do to cut that anchors’ rope and accomplish my goal at hand.
Some of you are already there but some of you suffer from organization disorder, I made that up. It’s true enough though. I freeze up when things are unorganized and I don’t do anything. That doesn’t get me anywhere.
Organization, It’s much easier than you think. Just do small amounts at a time. There are places all over the Internet that you can get tips and help for free. I’ve been a FlyBaby for years and jumped on and off the bandwagon but I’m back on again and I can tell you that The FlyLady has changed my life. I couldn’t get anything accomplished because my mind was too scattered because my stuff was too scattered. If you’re interested, stop by and read the getting started page. Here is the link. By the way, none of the links on this site are affiliate, they are all offered out of genuine help.
The wonderful thing is you don’t necessarily have to be organized in every area of your life to get your Attitude Money. Just start with getting your finances in order. The basics are all that are needed at this point. Write down every single expense that you pay monthly, quarterly, semi-annually and annually then write down your monthly income. Most of us will see the same thing…a surplus but “for the life of us we don’t know where this surplus is?” This is where we’re ultimately going to find your Attitude Money. If you don’t have a surplus there are ideas near the bottom of this article that may help you change that.
Be diligent-you only have to do this once then tweak accordingly. Create accounts for each expense and each income. Give yourself a wiggle account. Every household needs some wiggle room. You never know when that electric bill is going to shoot up ten bucks or baby needs some new shoes. Over estimate your expenses or at least round them up and under-estimate your income if it’s not the same every week. Its real important to make your budget work for you or despite your best efforts you won’t be able to stick with it. Consider allowances for each member of the family.
Some accounts to remember are:
- Attitude Money account
- short-term savings,
- Christmas/Holiday/Birthday account
- school/educational expenses
- household (cleaning supplies, plant food, mops and brooms…)
- transportation (gas, bus, taxi…)
- toiletries (shampoo, make-up, tooth paste)
- auto expenses (oil changes, tires, batteries…)
- car payments
- wiggle room account
- credit card payments
- and don’t forget the pets
Keep in mind that the idea is for these accounts to build up month after month so that you have the money to pull from the correct account when you need to get Tigers claws trimmed or that birthday present for your friend that you forgot about. If you have an expense come up suddenly and don’t have all the money in that particular account for it, take it from the wiggle account. That’s what this account is for.
Use your gross pay and show anything that is automatically deducted from your check like insurance, child care, union does, taxes, 401k’s, childcare/flexible spending accounts etc. on your budget.
Figure what you’re paying for everything annually. You’re going to have some extreme estimating to do but it will work out. Finally divide each expense by 12 and this is what you want to set aside for each account each month. Remember to round-up on your expenses and don’t forget that wiggle account, it’s very important especially in the beginning.
Anything that’s left over is for your Attitude Money account.
You can find many free budget sheets to download from the Internet. Find one that works for you. Print it out and take a copy of it. Use pencil to fill it in with all the information you’ve gathered and you’re off.
Once you’re organized give yourself a reason. People need a reason to do things. You have to make sense of why you want to save, what you want to save for…or who you want to save for. Start simple especially if you’re going to do a 2 month trial or something short-term. You want to see results as fast as possible because this is Attitude money we’re talking about and we all need a little attitude, right?
Make a plan. Draft it out and bring the entire household in on it. Make it fun and challenging, we don’t do boring and tedious here. If the kids know that the family is on a mission to save a few bucks and they know why, they will be some of your greatest supporters and you will have an understandable reason to give them for not buying that toy they were asking for at the store. Kids take things literally so be prepared to do some explaining if you want to wander from the budget.
If you were to ask me what short-term goal to start with, I would say to save enough to pay your entire monthly expenses. Have this money sitting in your account at the beginning of the month. This way you will have this amount in the bank and can pay all of your bills at the beginning of the month or as they come in without living paycheck to paycheck. Just keep putting your paycheck in the bank every payday and you will be ready to go next month too. This is freeing in itself but this is still not your Attitude Money, so onward we go.
Start a new account at a different institution and have money automatically transferred to it. Don’t get a debit card or a checkbook with it. You want to make it a drag and a very conscious decision to remove money from this account. So, also don’t hook it up to PayPal or sign up for online access. Use good old paper statements and watch your money grow every month.
Remember this new account is your attitude account where you will be keeping your Attitude Money. This account will take a weight off your shoulders, help to keep your relationships in peak condition and provide comfort and security for you and your family. Does that sound too extreme? Give it a try for a few months and see for yourself, I think you will be very happy with the outcome. This is why I call it Attitude Money and not long-term savings. Go ahead and say the two. I like the sound and the feeling that comes with saying Attitude Money.
This is money that you’re not gonna touch unless you’re getting ready to sleep in a cardboard box in your alley. Keep your short-term savings that you’ve set up goals for in your regular bank.
Are you in the negative before you even began you budget? Try a few of these out.
Plan your meals out for the week. You don’t have to be an extreme couponer but if you’re not using them you are literally throwing money away. Get the flyers of your local stores delivered to your email or go to their websites. Make your menu according to what’s on sale that week if possible and match up coupons to use with those sale items. You may have heard of her, but Couponmom is an awesome tool if you’re thinking about using coupons. She should definitely be your first stop. She has videos showing you step by step what to do, an e-book (she has one for free and sells one now too. I read the free one and that was really helpful). She also keeps an up to date database of coupons per store, states and date. She includes drugstores where every week you can get free stuff by matching up coupons with sale items. I do this even if I don’t want or need something and donate it to charity. It’s fun too! If you have kids they will love being a part of this.
OK, I’m not gonna tell you to carpool because I think it’s a drag having to rely on other people for some of the most important trips you make. But do try to designate certain days to get things done in one or two trips per week. The only way you can accomplish this is by following the first advice…getting organized.
Drink milk, water and coffee or tea if you’re a coffee or tea person. Skip pops and juices. They’re unnecessary and expensive plus you inevitably run out and have to run to the store to get more. If you or your kids just can’t do that pick up some lemonade or cool-aid and make your own drinks and popsicle’s.
If you’re a smoker invest in a cigarette machine roller and save tons of money by buying tubes and tobacco and roll your own or try an electronic cigarette.
Invest in a Wii or some other type of gaming unit that you can watch Netflix on and subscribe to Netflix for that first month free then see how much you’re watching cable or satellite and get rid of that dreadful never-ending bill. With the switch over to digital TV you get lots of extra channels in HD and never-ending cartoons on Netflix plus movies and TV shows that are updated regularly. If you just can’t separate yourself from that DVR, and I can feel that, buy one and use it all you want but I think you will find that between Netflix, Hulu and the local TV stations’ websites that you already have built-in DVR’s.
Try and hold off on that DVR purchase, or make it one of your savings goals and decide when you have the money saved up if you still really want it. Another reason I suggested the Wii is for family entertainment. I got my Wii on eBay because I try not to pay in full for anything…really. I didn’t know a whole lot about them. I knew I wanted to watch Netflix through it but was thrilled when I got it that there are seemingly endless games and applications that are both entertaining and physically interactive that can be added through the years.
There are so many other ways to save an extra dime and with the Internet a simple search will lead you in the right direction. You can always check back here where I will be “SharingItForward” with many helpful tips.
I’m not a “trained” financial expert and that means take this article for what it’s worth. Some experts may disagree with some of my ideas and they may even be right. But this works for me and I own my own house and cars and have no credit card debt and love my Attitude money and the freedom from money woes. I’m not bragging…just saying-sometimes those of us that have been there have better do-able advice than the experts (That goes for everything), and I have been there….several times.
Please post you’re accomplishments and share any tips you have.