Today’s post is all about how to budget when you suck at budgeting. Setting a budget seems like an easy concept, but if you’re anything like me, you struggle! If my husband is reading this, he’s probably shocked I’m even talking about a budget willingly.
I will be the first person to admit that I am really bad at sticking to a budget. Like, really bad. It’s not that I’m extravagant with spending money or am treating myself to a new designer handbag every week, but it’s more like the little things that catch up with me like eating out, daily coffee runs and Target trips that get out of hand.
Rob and I have been working on creating a budget and trying to stick to it. He is 1000x better at it than I am, but I’m really trying hard. I thought that there are probably some of you out there (or at least I hope there are) who are struggling just as I am when it comes to sticking to a budget and saving money. So I’m going to share some of the ways in which we’re cutting back and hopefully saving a little extra here and there along the way.
How To Budget: The Steps We Took
I am no expert and I’m def not going to be the next Dave Ramsey, but I can show you the little changes that have worked for us. I’ll be honest and say that it’s not fun sometimes. There are moments when I have to rely on Rob to be the “jerk” (hate to say that but it’s what it takes for me) and tell me “no.” He’s the one who would never go to Starbucks or any coffee shop ever. He’d never feel the need to dine out if he didn’t have to. Me on the other hand, yikes. Let’s not even talk about buying books. Actually, I’ll address that later because I’ve found you can still love books and be on a budget!
Idea : Figure Out Your Money
Sit down and write out everything there is to know about your income and bills. Figure out how much money you’re bringing in and how much you have left after bills. THEN, see where the extra’s are that you’re spending money on.
We knew we could eliminate some of the extra’s that we were spending money on each month, or at least cut back a bit. Here’s what we came up with:
- Got rid of Hulu, but kept Netflix
- Got rid of XM radio (we aren’t in the car that often)
- Cut back on gifts, etc (this is very hard for me)
- Setting limits for eating out, etc (no more daily Starbucks trip)
- Cutting subscription boxes and unnecessary subscriptions like magazines
- Looked at our grocery shopping habits and tried to NOT spend on extras that we didn’t need. Also, meal planning helped a lot!
- Cut back on excess items I didn’t need for the blog
Budgeting Idea: Find Your Local Library
If you’re a book lover like me, you know how easily buying books can add up. So I joined my library and am trying to read as many books that way that I can, rather than paying for them. If I’m honest with myself, I’ll read a book once and probably never again. This has helped A TON!
Same goes with my beauty impulse purchases. I just don’t review as many beauty products as I used to because I’m not buying new releases constantly. Sure, I get sent products from time to time, but I’ve cut back on Sephora trips A LOT!!! Now, I buy what I need and not just every new release. Sure, sometimes it sucks, but if I want to have more money in our account for other things like vacations,etc-this is what it takes.
Budget Idea: Why Budget?
Make a reason for WHY you want to budget. For us, it’s because we have a goal of going to Europe next year and we also know that we need to be more careful with money in general. In the past couple of years, we’ve had a lot of unexpected medical bills that we had to come up with money for.
Sit down and try to think about why you should put together a budget. I think having a reason to work hard at something makes it easier when it’s for something that isn’t exactly an easy change. Do you have children? Do you need to eliminate debt? Do you need a new car? These are things to consider!
Budget Idea: Slim It Down and Use Gift Cards
Use those gift cards and coupons! We had quite the stock-pile of unused gift cards from the Holidays and my birthday. I loaded up my Starbucks app with the gift cards I had for there. That way, when I want a treat, I am not taking money out of my pocket for a coffee. Same goes for restaurants, etc. If we have been going out on a date, we’ve been trying to use a gift card or money that was gifted to us previously around the Holidays.
Not going out for date nights on the regular kinda sucks. I’m not going to lie. However, I know this is an area where we can do better. We can cook at home, or we can prepare a meal together. We can get a bottle of wine and have it at home, rather than drinking while out. Booze is expensive when dining out! So we’re binge-watching shows on Netflix and trying to find other ways of spending time together, rather than going out on expensive dates. It’s not always easy, but it is doable.
Budget Idea: Unsubscribe!
I’ve deleted a lot of emails that I was subscribed to. I’m talking to YOU Sephora, Ulta, Nordstrom, etc. Sometimes, just seeing these will trigger me wanting to spend more money on products and other things I don’t even need. I get enough information through my inbox from PR and Brands. Just this small change has made a big difference in me and my spending habits. The less I see, the less I’m tempted.
Budget Idea: DIY Beauty
This pains me so much, but I’m going to stop getting my regular manicure and pedicures. I can’t stop getting my hair done or my eyebrows because those are non-negotiable to me, but I know that if I really need to, I can do my own nails and pedicures at home. Maybe a splurge to the nail salon every once in a while, but me not going to the nail salon eliminates almost $100 a month!
I’ve also cut back on how much I was spending on my hair appointments. I’ve found a stylist who is amazing, but a lot more friendly on my budget. This alone has probably saved us almost $200 or more every six weeks! That’s a huge difference!
Small Changes Can Mean A Lot of Extra Money In Your Savings
Budgeting can be hard, but small changes can equal a lot of extra money in your savings account. Trust me, if I can do these things ANYONE can! As much as it might suck that I can’t just pop into the nail salon to get my nails done or maybe I might have to cook on a Friday night, it beats not having money in our savings account. That’s what I have to remember!
Sit down, have a conversation either with yourself or with your partner and figure out what steps you need to take to get your finances in order! It might not be an easy thing to discuss, but it will make you so much happier in the long run!