My husband uttered those dreaded words we all hate to hear, right before Christmas. “After the Holiday’s we are going on a huge budget.” I immediately rolled my eyes and probably yawned, kind of a bitch move I know, BUT the idea of talking about finances around the Holiday’s was not necessarily what I wanted to hear, but truth be told, I knew it was coming.
I’m not the biggest fan of budgets and I don’t mean that in a snobby way at all. I’m just not good when I feel like I can’t have anything. Tell me I can’t even splurge on a cup of coffee every now and then and I will go insane. One of the things I have learned is that in order for me to be successful at something, I have to find “my way” of making them work. Here is how I have made a budget work for me…..so far, at least.
I need to learn more about creating a fun dinner atmosphere at home and not just when we’re dining out
In looking at our budget, the one area that we probably failed at the most when it came to spending money was on eating out. You know the drill. You get busy and don’t have time to prepare a meal, so you just pick up something. I rarely do fast food, so most of the time it’s always a restaurant. Let me tell ya, that adds up! Even if you do fast food, I’m always amazed at how expensive it is and normally tastes like junk!
So this year, I’ve made a huge effort to really take the time to go to the grocery store and get serious about cooking at home. If that means meal-prep on the weekends, that’s what I’m doing. I have so many kitchen gadgets and things I’ve purchased because I love to cook, so I need to get better about making time to get back in the kitchen.
By not eating out lunch everyday, we’re probably saving at least $100 or more each week. So in a month, I could easily have $400 that I would have thrown away on food.
Coffee, I love you, but you can be costly!
Ask yourself, in a month how many times are you stopping by your favorite coffee shop for a cup of coffee? Now, how much is that coffee costing you? More than likely, we’re talking at least $5.00 or so. Do you do that daily? If so, in a months time you’d be spending at least $140 a month in coffee alone! What happens when you go to a restaurant? Are you ordering water? Heck no, if you’re like most of the time you’re all about that Diet Coke or having a nice glass of wine. I never realized how much money I was spending on all of those extras and how easily they add up.
Here’s a tip, because if you’re like me, you can’t just completely cut it out of your life and nor should you! I got lucky and got tons of Starbucks Gift Cards for Christmas. So when I have the urge, I have those available. If I want a glass of wine, I might actually just got buy a bottle and have it at home. I save so much money that way, rather than ordering it in a restaurant. Maybe consider Happy Hour when drinks are half off. My husband loves beer so much that he started making his own at home!
There are always ways of cutting back and doing things a little bit differently without having to sacrifice having things that you love in your life!
My Play! by Sephora was a really fun Subscription, but honestly, I didn’t need anymore samples.
Cut back on Things You Don’t Really Use
All of those “things” that you’re subscribed to, make sure you are actually still using them! I finally cut ties with all of my subscription boxes because I was just getting piles of samples that I wasn’t really needing or using. Do you still watch Netflix, Hulu or listen to your music subscription services? If not, it’s time to say goodbye! A lot of these don’t seem like they cost much, but they add up through out the year!
By simply cutting out areas like this, I could easily save over $50.00 a month! If I wanted to go hardcore, I could even cut out excessive things like cable,etc.
Amazon offers you money for your items? I’m really curious about this!
New vs Used
I’ve went through our house and did a major purge. I could still probably keep going, but for right now I think I’m ok with what I got rid of. So far, most of it has been donated to local shelters,etc. I do have a few items (mostly electronic) that I’m thinking of selling or trading in. Amazon has a trade-in program that I’m interested in for some of my cameras. Has anyone used this before?!?! I’m curious! It looks like you can trade-in items and get an instant Amazon Gift Card. That would help me get rid of items I’m no longer needing, but wanting to upgrade and helping keep the cost way down.
I used to be kinda bad about considering used items. No more! My friend recently wanted a new LV Handbag and new vs used was a huge difference in price. So rather than going way over her budget, she opted for the gently used bag and saved herself a lot of money. It’s not always about doing without, but instead it’s about going the smarter route!
Say goodbye to those emails
I am so good at not going and shopping a lot, but what really gets me is emails! When I see those late night emails from Ulta, Sephora, J Crew an so on, I get the urge and sometimes I splurge when I shouldn’t. I’ve found it super helpful to cut back on the amount of email subscriptions I’m enrolled in. So I’ve went through and I’ve unsubscribed to a bunch. Now, I will never unsubscribe to my Sephora ones or anything like that, but sometimes, I just won’t open them if I’m afraid that it will tempt me.
I also find that by NOT browsing online as often as I did, I’m not seeing things that make me want to spend!
Use Those Reward Points
Does your credit card offer you rewards? Make sure that you check because a lot of them do! We have one for airline points and one that offers cash back. It’s worthwhile to have a credit card that gives you some extras, just as long as those extras are beneficial for you.
Today, I ordered the FAB Ultra Repair Cream (they’re on sale right now!!!) and I replaced a curling iron because my other one wasn’t big enough as my hair has gotten much longer. I used my reward money from Ulta (Yes to Ulta and their reward system) and for an order that would have normally been over $40.00, I only had to spend around $9.00! It was products that we needed and I got a really good deal. Now that’s good shopping! Bottom line, use rewards when you can!
*Even restaurants and more are offering rewards. Look into them!!*
We all have to start from somewhere. So don’t feel overwhelmed by doing too much at once!
These are just some of the ways that I have been able to save some money. Like I said before, it’s not always about doing without, but more importantly going the smarter route to get the items that you need. Sure, there will be items that you just don’t need to spend money on, but temptation is a bit$%, right?!? For instance, I don’t need to spend a dime on any eyeshadow palettes for a long time. Do I want new releases? YES, but I don’t need every one that comes out! It’s all about changing your thought process behind your purchases.
Making small changes can help save you big time in the long run. My best piece of advice to you is to think long and hard about your longterm goals and what you need to do to get to those goals. Don’t make yourself miserable. Make small changes over time and see what works best for you!
Do you have any advice on helping your budget? I’d love to know because I think this is one area that everyone approaches a little differently! I’ll go into more detail about paying off debt, working on setting up a savings account and some other financial topics coming soon!
Remember, this year is gonna be your #BestYouEver
I have found that when we cut out cable and got Netflix and Sling I don’t even care to watch TV unless it’s with the husband. We saved tons of money, and realized how much time I wasted watching TV. I have also stopped looking at all the new releases, and the coupons in my emails. I have started a list of things that I “need” and a list of things that I want to check out. I will allow myself a treat here and there but not every single day lol
Christine C. says
I used to spend so much time watching tv that I couldn’t keep up with the shows! It was overwhelming me and I finally had to say, ENOUGH!!! I never realized how much time I was watching them until I stopped. I have my favorites that I won’t give up, but I’ve cut back on it so much! Also, stopping reading emails and sale ads has helped me so much!
Leanna @ Being Leanna says
These are such good tips! It’s important to not completely ban yourself from spending any money (cough cough like me cough cough) because you wend up miserable! It’s better to smartly spend your money. I never even thought abut how much my drinks were adding up when I went out to eat until you mentioned it. yikes.
Christine C. says
LOL!!!! I sat down one day and added up how much I was spending on coffee, wine and other things and was like I have to change this habit and I did!!!
Ashley LaMar says
YES to all of these! Eating out is our big thing too especially since it’s just the two of us. Sometimes it just feels easier to go out but it’s hard on the bank account. I ordered HomeChef for 2 meals per week since it’s more affordable than going out to eat 2x a week. I’m hoping it helps to reinspire me to cook and eventually I’ll be planning my own meals again.
We cut cable last year and found that we didn’t really care for Netlix or Hulu either. We hardly ever watch tv unless it’s a movie we are committed to watching together. It’s saved us about $160 a month!
As for those pesky emails…I have an email account specifically for those sales alerts so when I’m able to shop I check that account but when I can’t shop I don’t even look. 😉
Christine C. says
Isn’t it crazy how cutting out something as simple as cable,etc can save you so much money!!! I love the idea of a separate account for those emails. I might try that!
Chelsea Jacobs says
get it girl! I think actually THINKING about the money and where it goes helps so much. Like, if you asked me “Are you going to spend $140 on coffee this month?” I would laugh and think that’s crazy, but when you add it up, it’s totally possible to spend that much without even realizing!
It’s INSANE to me how much they can up charge beer and wine. It’s fun to go out sometimes, but I hate knowing I could buy a whole bottle for what some places charge for a glass.
Christine C. says
It’s crazy how much alcohol costs when going out. Like I love a little social drinking every now and then but then when I get my bill…YIKES!!