There are two words that can bring chills to peoples spines; one is FRUGAL and the other is BUDGET! For some reason, these words seem to have a negative connotation and why is that? I will never claim to be an expert in these areas, but I do have a few years of experience dealing with these two words and trying to figure out which works best for me.
When it comes to spending money there are many different areas we have a hard time cutting back. We all have to have food to eat, a house to live in, clothes to wear, and it sure makes it easier to have a car to get around in. All of these areas require us to spend our money, but with the right know how, we can save a few dollars out of each area to help save. For example, when you are looking for a house to live in, remember that check has to be paid every month. Find someplace to live you can easily afford, especially since with every house comes a monthly bill for water, gas, electric, trash and other expenses.
Eating out is an easy answer to the ever pending question of “What’s for dinner?” While eating out is fun and easy, it can get expensive. By staying in and cooking dinner even once or twice more than you normally do, you will save money. Also, by packing a lunch you can save even more money and start to accomplish the goal of eating healthier.
I don’t know if any of you reading this have children, but keeping them clothed can get expensive. Kids clothes usually don’t wear out before the kids grow out of them, so yard sales are a great place to find inexpensive clothes. I recently bought new dress shoes, four shirts and three pair of shorts for my daughter, all for $3.00.
Other simple ways to live more frugally could include:
- Snipping those coupons that will give you a few bucks off
- Take advantage of your local library instead of buying movies or books
- Online bill pay has one advantage over mail… no postage costs
- Shop close to home to reduce gas use or plan your trip to reduce the amount of traveling
Changing a few simple habits and being willing to make a few sacrifices can help you save a few extra dollars each month.
Living on a Budget
When it comes to living on a budget, it can end up being a lot of work. The best way to go about deciding how to live within a budget is to take a look at your expenses and decide where you can cut back. The hardest point is to decide what is a need and what is a want. Once you have decided that, find a budget format that fits your needs and start splitting up the money.
If you find yourself in debt, your first priority with your budget should be to get out of debt. By finding what is actually a need, you can apply all the money you spent on your “wants” to pay down your debt. Once your debt is paid off, use that money to put into savings to help build up your savings account.
I am horrible when it comes to living within a budget, but one I have been able to live within is a food budget. By planning my meals and using cash to buy my groceries, I am guaranteeing that I will not exceed the set amount of my budget. This has been a great start for me to help me get used to living within a budget.
Which is Better?
I am not a financial expert, and I will never profess to be. All I know is what I have experimented with and what works best for me and my family. I can’t live within a budget for every dime of money because I feel like is too unpredictable, and I usually felt disappointed when I had broken my budget. But, I have found that a budget is great for certain parts of my life like food, entertainment and fuel. In other areas, like clothing, the house I live in and the cars we drive, we live frugally.
I enjoy finding something on sale, I love looking in my pantry after a case lot sale and seeing all the food, I love the yellow counter tops in the house we rent, and I love finding a great treasure at a yard sale, but you might be totally different.
Living frugally and living within a budget are great ways to help you save some money. The key is to figure out what works best for you, then try and stick to it! Good Luck!
Share what you do that makes your life a little easier when it comes to either spending or budgeting.