With a new year, comes new goals, and a new budget plan! So you're ready to get the ball rolling on some long awaited projects and knock a whole bunch of things off your never-ending honey-do list. I hear ya! Whether you're goals involve beautifying your home (cause we all want a house worthy of the cover of Southern Living, right? it could happen), living a healthier lifestyle, paying off some debt, or spending more time with our families (crazy as they may be), starting with a solid plan is they key to reaching your goals.
The reality of all this is these goals take time and money. Are you tired of feeling like you have just pennies left over at the end of month and nothing to show for all those hours of work you put in day after day? I'm going to offer up some tips for creating a budget and some simple ways to reduce expenses to get you that much closer to achieving your goals!
Oh and there's a free printable to help get you started and a special bonus at the end of all this too!
Wanna jump right to the budget worksheets?
Click here for the free printable worksheet OR click here for our newest fully editable Excel version that does all the calculations for you!
Why I Budget...
5 Easy Money Saving Tips
1. The second greatest expense next to your mortgage - FOOD!
Cut that grocery expense by using coupons and meal-planning. I don't mean we should all create this 40 page binder of coupons. I don't have time or patience for that. But almost every major store has a digital app and offers downloadable coupons. Use 'em if ya got 'em!
Meal-planning can help cut down on eating out and you will only buy what you need. This takes a bit of time, but it's all about making it routine. And while I tend to fall off the meal-planning truck quite often, when I DO make time for it, it works!
Schedule your Shopping
Go to the store once a week, not once a month. If I go once a month I come home with a car load full of groceries, a lot less money, and still can't find a thing to fix for dinner. Umm... pizza anyone? By the way, meal planning is easier if you do it a week at a time.
Use what you have and keep a list. You know how it is... "I'm just going to Target to get some milk!" I come home with a new throw pillow and the cutest kitchen towels and forget the milk. I keep a list on my phone with the mobile app, Any.do, so I can add to it easily when I need to, and I always have it with me. Stick to the list, and use up what you have before you go back to that store.
I come home with a car load full of groceries, a lot less money, and still can't find a thing to fix for dinner. Umm... pizza anyone?
I just cleaned out my fridge and pantry this afternoon and realized I had enough in there to make 3 different meals! Who knew there was 2 boxes of pasta hanging out in there??
2. Get Your Money Back and here's $10 bucks on me!
There's some great apps out there for rebates that can help you earn more of your money quick and easy! My favorite is ibotta. You can get rebates on anything from milk or pasta, to ground beef and even beer or wine! Feel guilty about meeting your friends for a couple of drinks? There's rebates for that too! Best of all, when you sign up through this link at ibotta, you get $10 when you redeem your first rebate! You really oughta ibotta
Another reward program I love is Shopkick. It's easy to earn "kicks" just by walking in the store. You can also earn rewards for purchases. Rewards or "kicks" can be redeemed for gift cards to your favorite stores. And there's a ton of them: Target, Toys R Us, WalMart, Old Navy, Lowe's, just to name a few!
3. Learn a new skill and DIY that thing!
Take on home maintenance and repair yourself. Get out your hammer and tool belt, and go to work! There are plenty of DIY bloggers and sites out there (including yours truly!) that can give you tips on how to do just about anything. Know your limits, but don't be afraid to try something new.
I'll be adding a link to a handy list of all our favorite DIY tools soon, so stick around!
When it comes to decorating and furnishing your home, look for furniture and home decor at thrift stores, craigslist, consignment stores, and even curb sides - or build your own! I'm not too proud to pick up this old paint covered wooden ladder and transform it into some great storage and decor for the house.
Save your money to spend on the items that you really love and can't live without. I'll offer up more advice later on what to splurge or save on in the home.
4. Change the way you clean and save some green.
Why spend a lot of money on cleaning products when you may have everything you need in your pantry? My four staple ingredients to clean just about everything in the house are: Dr. Bronner's Castile soap, vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide. More to come on how I use these is coming soon!
5. Look for the sale.
I have a "Don't Pay Retail" philosophy. It's hard to see something that I totally love and then have to wait it out for a sale or coupon, but it's worth it.
Bath & Body Works has their clearance sale twice a year. I stock up and stack coupons with the sale. Target routinely marks things down, so hold out for that lowest price. For clothes, my favorite is Marshalls for the lowest price on brand name clothes.
Need to make a major purchase for your home? I always Google "the best time of year to buy [needed item]". Great way to save and find the best sales!
Plan your goal with this free printable!
But Wait! There's an even better worksheet for you!
I get a lot of emails from readers asking for an Excel Version of this spreadsheet so they can customize it for their needs. Guess what!? I've created that very thing just for you! The NEW and IMPROVED Excel version of our budget worksheet is not only customizable but also calculates the difference between your budget and actual spending.
Enter up to four sources of income or add more rows if you need them. This customizable worksheet comes to you as a downloadable link in your email and all for just $1 buck.
Click the "Get Now" button below and you can be on your way to creating your best savings plan for you and your family!
Save to spend.
Are you ready to get on track and start reaching your financial goals AND knocking out some of your to-do list around the house? So are we! We hope you enjoy the free printable worksheet, and if you would like an all-in-one worksheet that you can edit with your own expenses and one that does all the math for you, then the custom version is going to do all you need.
Do you have any tried and true money saving tips? Good ideas are always better when shared with others they can help! Share them in the comments below!