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roxyrambles.com

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cash flow

Starts with a B

And it ends with… UDGET.

fiancnes

The dreaded Budget. Sigh. No one likes that word.

For me, it’s something that I KNOW helps me keep my focus and makes the WORLD of difference… but it still sucks. {Can I get an AMEN}

Creating a budget is the FIRST step to getting control over your finances.

And EVERYONE will do it a little differently.

We decided years ago that I will be in the one who pays the bills, balances the checkbook, etc. My husband is not much for the tiny details. He’s more like “i’ll keep a mental list of what I’ve paid and round up/down and there ya go.” I don’t work that way. Early on there were some careless mistakes [which I have made PLENTY myself] that cost us an overdraft fee, or a late fee due to not having a written plan.

Paper versus online

I like the written word. I’ve been told about some amazing online budgeting tools that will help keep everything in order, but at the end of the day I want my notebook paper in my binder telling me what bills are due. That’s just how I like it. *To each their own.*

Write down your income {NET}

Write down every bill you have and the date it is due

Write down how it is paid {mail a check, pay online, auto-drafted}

Then from there is when you go to town.

How much is left? Do you spend what’s left? Saved what is left? Cash out what is left?

Up to YOU!

Just because we do cash doesn’t mean that you should. We tried several things and even discussed having a pre-paid card for each of us so that we were using the same principal but not actually carrying cash. We opted for cash only but you do what is best for YOU!

This is a long process. It took us a few years of sticking to our budget to really be in a place where we wanted to go further and do more. I’d give anything to have started this process years ago so that’s probably the one piece of advice I would offer up. If you are wanting to make a difference in your financial life and do MORE than just work to pay bills… don’t wait to get started. Start TODAY! In some capacity, with one tiny little step… start NOW!

The grocery store dilemma…

This dilemma literally eats us “trying to save money and live on less” kind of people. We don’t know what to do. We struggle with what is the BEST way to grocery shop.

The average family spends $149-$289 per week on groceries, according to US Weekly. Read their full article here. (and no, they did not pay me to post this link…but they could!! and should) 🙂

How much do YOU spend?

I’ve tried it all kinds of ways. I literally did my homework. I have tried:

-couponing

-shopping only once a week

-trying to buy 1 month at a time

-trying the bi-weekly route

Ultimately YOU must decide what works best for you and your family. But, for the sake of this post, let me tell you what I have learned through my research.

I spend LESS money when I go in with a list that will cover 1 month worth of groceries. Here’s how I do it…

First, go through Pinterest or recipe books or wherever you go to find recipes. Come up with 10-12 meals from there.

Second, I decide which of those meals are “two-fers”. I know when I make Crockpot Lasagna (okay so I have only made it once) that it will cover us for at least 2 meals. But you also must decide which meals will only cover you for 1 day. Then you put those numbers out to the side. In my case, I write down the meals then add the numbers and typically that nearly doubles my list. Not always, but it can.

Third, shop at your house first! Write down what each recipe calls for and then look in your pantry/freezer FIRST. Scratch off the items you already have.

Fourth, make a list of things you need outside of those recipes. Oatmeal, peanut butter, etc.

Fifth, make a list of things you cannot buy to last a month. For us that is salad, carrots (we eat those like crazy yet my vision is no better), and bananas. I have to go to the store once a week to buy those. Nobody wants to eat a 3 week old banana… probably not even a monkey.

This is how WE do it. May not work for you, but it’s worth a shot!

Another thing– I mentioned before that I couponed for a while. And that is TRUE and I loved it. However, I never couponed well on food. Even with the coupon, the off-brand tended to be cheaper. So when I say I couponed I meant for things like deo, detergent, soap, etc. If it works for you, then do it! If you are a name-brand spaghetti noodle buyer, then by all means, get some coupons!! But if you tend to buy the off brand any way, you are better off to save that time.

grocerystore

Some people assume that if you try to grocery shop on a budget that you must be eating crap. Nope! Not true at all. This months menu (which goes from the 18-18th) includes the following:

Crockpot Lasagna, Homemade Chicken Enchiladas, Vegetable Stir Fry, Grilled Chicken Salads, Grilled Burgers, Crockpot Pork Chops, Porkloin, Roast…. to name a few. If you do it right and PLAN AHEAD you can have amazing meals that are healthy and good for your family without spending a ton of money!

Next to our car payments and mortgage, the grocery bill used to be one of the most outrageous bills we had. Yet I was spending a small fortune at the store yet finding myself with nothing to cook or going out to eat! Planning is crucial. It’s like I told you in one of my first financial posts, if you don’t have a plan–you WILL fail! If you just say “man I wish we could save money” yet do nothing about it, it will NOT happen.

What are your tips? How do you save money? I’d love to hear from you!

For Now,

Roxy

 

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