This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide at no extra cost to you. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.
Would you like to know how our simple budgeting system helps us save money?
Can I ask if you are able to stick to a budget?
Or you can stick to a budget but unforeseen circumstances keep popping up.
I don’t know about you, but I want to stop worrying about how I’m going to juggle all the expenses we have another day.
It’s exhausting, this creates so much anxiety for me!
If you are like me then you have done all the research, read through all the posts you can find on Pinterest,
downloaded and printed out endless budgeting resources.
Well, this is how I have found our budget looks like for most months in the past.
It never seems to fail that we are always having unexpected financial expenses to deal with.
Can you identify what is causing the deficit in your budget?
So here is my next question for you. Do you have kids?
Do any of your children have special needs?
Raising children comes with a financial obligation no matter if they have special needs or not.
As parents, we want to give the most to our children.
We want better for our kids.
We sometimes feel that financial obligation becomes overwhelming.
Not because our kids caused the issue, but because having children with certain medical conditions may cause our budgets to be out of control.
I want to make sure I’m doing my best as a parent for my children’s needs.
So, therefore, I’ve got to find other creative ways to make sure their needs get met and the family as a whole.
How Do I Start Implementing A Simple Budgeting System?
If we don’t have a simple budgeting system in place then everything seems to be overwhelming.
We start robbing Paul to pay Peter. I’m sure you have heard that saying before.
This is no way to live nor did I want to continue to live this way.
Since I was the one handling the finances such as paying the bills, buying the groceries, basically taking care of all the finances that come in and out of the house.
I needed to find a solution!
I love the fact and respect that my husband trusts me 100% to be the person in charge of our finances.
But, on the other hand, it can be very stressful when things are tight and I have to make the sole decision of what takes priority and gets paid.
So to cut my anxiety over our finances I needed to take a whole look at where the holes were.
Income vs Expenses
To find where we might be losing sight of where the money was going, I needed to start writing it down.
Starting with writing in a notebook everything I spent money on for 3 months.
I made sure I put the notebook in my purse because I tend to forget to write things down.
Make sure you write down every single penny that goes out of your hands including, debit cards, automatic bank drafts, and if you use cash.
If you use credit cards to purchase anything you also need to write that down.
Using credit cards as income is an easy way to get into debt fast.
It’s never a good idea to use credit cards to pay for your daily living expenses. Believe me, we have been there and done that!
Sometimes we have to make those hard decisions, so don’t feel bad if you have had to use your credit cards to get you through.
Just try to make it a priority to pay those off quickly.
The next thing you need to consider is what living expenses can you cut back on to put towards an emergency fund.
Or if you are like us, just making ends meet without robbing from another source to pay the bills sounds good for a change.
You need to work on getting out of the red and into the black.
This will be the next step you need to do to get things turned around.
Write down all your expenses by category.
- Monthly Expenses
- Frequent Expenses
- Sinking Funds
When it comes to your expenses, don’t leave anything off. It doesn’t even matter that it’s less than a dollar.
This is where that handy-dandy notebook comes into play.
Especially if you use cash because this doesn’t show up in your bank account.
The next step will be to write down what you make in income every month.
So now that you have put all this data in using a spreadsheet or writing it down in a notebook, you need to take a look at it.
Most debt stays the same and monthly bills also with the exception of, household gas or electricity, depending on the time of year.
But your miscellaneous expenses tend to have some fluctuations.
These expenses will be gas for your vehicle, groceries, entertainment, toiletries, and household items.
I took a look at the past 3 months of charges to see what I spent and came up with an average on those expenses.
Now that you have all this information down what will be your next step?
I haven’t forgotten about #4 on that list above, but I do have a solution to getting more money for that area, which in return will help you stay on budget.
How Am I Supposed To Trim This Budget?
I know what you are thinking and you are wondering what in the heck am I going to trim back.
If you live like us, then you already live on a shoestring budget.
You have your monthly expenses, minus the monthly income, and you have what I hope is something left over.
If not let’s look at the numbers and work out a plan to get back into the black.
This is where you need to be honest with yourself and figure out if any of your extra expenses are justified.
Remember cutting these expenses doesn’t have to be forever.
Just remember the bottom line and that line would be getting your finances turned around.
Your goal is to build up an emergency fund.
So when those expenses pop up you won’t be having to put a bill to the side to cover that unexpected expense.
Here is a small list of things you may be able to cut back on:
- Subscription services
- Cable or streaming services(Roku has several free options for channels)
- Music streaming services
- Eating out
- Processed quick foods from the grocery store
- Stop shopping every week(try every 2 weeks or monthly)
- No impulse buying. Stick to your list
- No renting or streaming movies(Use your local library)
- Salon Services(Go to your local beauty school. Services are cheaper)
- Cut back on cell phone service plan
- Cell phone apps
- Try to find cheaper auto insurance
There are more you can probably cut back on or just get rid of but you get the idea now.
Finding ways to increase income
I think for most of us it is that we don’t have enough free time already.
So finding a part-time job may not be possible.
If this is the case you will need to get creative and do some research.
This is where the sinking fund expenses come into play.
You know the birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, car repairs, medical expenses( for us it’s getting the money to maintain those monthly payments)
A few years back we sold some items that we didn’t need anymore or we were finished using.
We used eBay and craigslist for those items.
The next thing was how else could I use what little time I had and trade that for money?
I’ve read plenty on taking surveys but honestly, I was skeptical.
Can you really get paid for your opinion?
Believe it or not, there are sites that do legitimately pay you for your opinion.
This is one I have done and continue to do when I have time.
It is called Prolific.co
I was told people can earn around $200USD a month if you are consistent with it.
I’m not very consistent but this is what I have earned in the past 3 months.
As you can see it’s in British Pounds but you are paid through Paypal after you meet the $5.00 threshold.
Not a bad side-gig. I think half of them I did on my phone.
Another money-saving site you can use that works is Swagbucks.
There are several ways to earn money with this one. You will need to download the extension to put on your PC and Phone.
I’ve earned money just by using the site to buy things I normally would through the merchandiser’s site.
You get your cashback by exchanging them for gift cards. I’ve gotten Paypal cards, Target, and Amazon gift cards.
I think it’s totally worth it! Here is my referral link: Swagbucks
Yes, that is $178.17 USD
I didn’t have to do anything but just use Swagbucks to make my purchases. It didn’t cost me anything extra.
Another legitimate site that pays real CASH or you can use your points to obtain gift cards is Survey Junkie.
These are the ones I feel confident in and would also recommend for you to try out.
All 3 of the sites have very easy surveys to fill out. I usually find time to fill these out when my children are doing therapy.
They do therapy 9 hours a week so I think that is using my time wisely.
Not many people can say that they get paid while waiting for their kids to do therapy. WIN-WIN HERE!
This one also pays out using Paypal with a $5.00 threshold.
I have to say that this has helped the most when it comes to adding to our sinking fund.
Using A Simple Budgeting System When Buying Groceries.
Sticking to a budget when it comes to groceries takes planning.
We have a complex eating situation in our house so proper planning is a must to stay on budget.
So I want to direct you to a few sites that I have used to get ideas on what is budget-friendly when it comes to preparing food.
These sites will also have tips and tricks on how to budget your grocery bill.
When it comes to groceries, sticking to a simple budgeting system will keep you out of the stores and less impulse buying.
Try 2-week shopping or even monthly shopping, it will save you money.
Buy in bulk if you are going to use all of the items that month.
Also, try doing a pantry and refrigerator challenge.
It’s a sure way to use food up and prevent less waste.
Plus it saves money!
And you can always use coupons, just make sure it is for items you truly need and that it fits your menu for the week.
Here are a few sites that have some great budget-friendly food options:
So I want you to remember that getting your family’s finances in order will save you so much stress and anxiety.
It’s no way to live worrying about your finances every day.
Believe me, I’ve been there and done that.
I really hope that you use these simple budgeting ideas and that they help you and your family.
I would love to know if this has helped you. Please share if it has.
Domestic Engineer Mom