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Budgeting

Tips For Living Within Your Means…Painlessly!

This post is from Jerry Coffey at Repaid.org. Enjoy! Living within the confines of your income is the best way to keep yourself out of debt, or at least hold your debt to a manageable level. Now that I have written that down, everyone will magically be living within their means in the morning, right? Maybe in cloud cuckoo land. Here are a few tips that may help you find a way to live within your income and begin repaying some of your debt. Where Does It All Go? In order to live within your income, you have to know how much you make and what all of your expenses are. A good place to start is to know what all of your fixed expenses are. Fixed expenses are items that you cannot change immediately. Little nagging expenditures like rent/mortgage, car payments, etc. Subtract that amount from your income and you will know how much you have available to commit to your variable and discretionary expenses or pay down debt. Become a Tracker Not of wild game, but of your expenditures. This is the first step in forming an effective budget. We all have areas where we spend money them ...

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Affording Fresh Fruits and Vegetables On A Budget

Get money back on groceries

I shared last week about my quest to eat healthier to lower my cholesterol. The USDA recommends five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, but affording fresh fruits and vegetables on a budget can be tough. They’re much more expensive than hot dogs and ramen. How is someone on a strict budget supposed to hit all the recommended daily allowances and still have money left over at the end of the month? Now, I know you can grow a garden, can vegetables and fruits for later, and make an assortment of jams and jellies. If you know how to do that, you probably don’t need to read this post. If you are like me and your thumb couldn’t even be considered a shade of pale mint, let alone green, and if you’re too lazy busy to be that ambitious, these tips are for you. Saving at the Grocery Store We all know to shop for produce that is on sale. I also like to sign up for a store’s email, value card, and coupon list. While it’s rare to find produce coupons from manufacturers, stores will send coupons in the mail or online for things you buy most. We ...

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Reformed Spenders Adjust to Life on a Budget

It has been about three months since Jake at I Heart Budgets shed blood, sweat, and tears to create a budget for my family. I’ve tried to make and follow a budget before, but always got sidetracked and gave up. We also spent money without much forethought, so budgeting doesn’t really work in that scenario. For almost two years, we were on a no spending moratorium to pay off our credit card debt, not really a budget, but it worked. Now that we don’t have the debt, we want to make sure our old spending habits don’t creep back into our lifestyle. While we aren’t perfect, we are much improved, and I’ll share some observations about our new life on a budget.

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Paycheck to Paycheck is No Way to Live

If you are one of the millions of people who lives paycheck to paycheck, you might find yourself in the situation of having more days than dollars in the month.  That can be a very scary feeling when you know that your bank account is empty, and there are still several days until you get paid. While panic might set in, if you take a minute to analyze the situation, it might not be as bad as you think. With some planning, I believe anyone can avoid the problem of running out of money at the end of the month. If you know that you are completely broke and have more than a day until payday, organize what you need to buy. I like lists, so I would write down what you think will need money until the next payday. If the list includes food, gas to get to work, or rent/mortgage or bill payments, those are necessities. If the list includes a birthday gift, a promised dinner out with a friend, or some sort of apparel, those can be postponed or avoided. It might not be the most popular thing to do, but if your friend is truly a ...

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Is There Ever a Reason to Blow Your Christmas Budget?

As you may know, I am working very hard toward paying off debt and staying within a budget for the first time ever. We’ve been doing really well. We haven’t gone overboard with Christmas presents and have used rewards points, bartering, or baking for most of what we’ve done so far. However, I went out to lunch with a co worker this week and what I saw caused me to blow my Christmas budget. First of all, since I don’t go out for lunch, I was terribly excited to get to go to my favorite lunch place, Once Upon a Sandwich. It was even better that I had to meet with my insurance biller to discuss end of the year details. It was a business lunch and didn’t cost me a thing. Our table was by a Christmas tree that had one lone ornament. The “ornament” was actually a piece of red construction paper cut out in the shape of a stocking. On it was written: Boy Age 14 Fallen /DC or Graphic T-shirts Size M/L Jeans 30/30 The tree was for selecting a child to adopt for Christmas. This particular one was for children in foster care, and this ...

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