Most people make New Year Resolutions, and many of those include saving money. If you’re anything like me, saving money does not come easily. I love to go shopping, and I am definitely guilty of spending more than I need to for convenience. Between the coffee shop, fast food, and purchasing way too many things that I “might need one day” from Target, it can really take a toll on a budget!
Chris and I are definitely on a budget. We are mainly a one income family. I work at home but don’t make a real income yet, so Chris’s income is what we live on. He is only paid once per month, so once the money is gone, it’s gone. Because of that, we are always looking for ways to save money! If you’re looking for simple ways to transform your finances in the New Year, I’m here to help!
Saving Money This New Year
This one is the hardest for me. Okay, that’s not totally true, because I think they’re all hardest for me! Anyways. Taking some time to really take stock of your life and see what can be what are needs, what are wants, and what can be cut. Lately I’ve been considering this a lot. It is shocking to me that smart phones are so common place, that I wouldn’t imagine going without a cell phone with unlimited texting and the ability to check pinterest and twitter. But only a few years ago, carrying around a small computer was completely unheard of. Do you really need those shoes? Making a sandwich at home is much simpler than running to the Burger King for a quick meal. I guess more than living simply, it is about living contently. Knowing that what we have is enough, and practicing a grateful attitude.
Okay, don’t go running, this isn’t as bad as it seems. Also, I’m not going to tell you there is a “right way” to budget or any one perfect budgeting system. Every person is different, and every financial situation is different. Plus, if you start a budget system that you hate because you believe it’s the right one, you’re not going to do it. So the perfect budget system, in my opinion, is the one that you will use. Whether you like pencil and paper, spreadsheets, software like YNAB, or envelopes like Dave Ramsey, go for it! I’ve used a combination of all of these at one point or another. Currently I do mostly pencil and paper where I track all money in and where that money goes. Whatever system you go with, just make sure you do it. Budgeting doesn’t have to mean no more spending on anything fun, it just means you’re spending on fun you can afford!
I may be alone on this one, but I am definitely one to spend money because I’m bored. If Chris is home, I want to be doing something. Part of this is because I stay home all day, sometimes without a car, so when my car is home I want to use it and go somewhere. Another part is that I just struggle with being bored. When we’re at home we watch a lot of TV and I work a lot on my computer. That gets old fast. So maybe it’s a trip to the target, or maybe it’s going out for dinner. Even a trip to the grocery store turns into an event to get out of the house and be distracted. Unfortunately, all of these things add up. So we’ve been finding ways to have fun at home without spending money. One thing we do is cook together. Okay, so anyone who knows me knows that I don’t really cook, Chris does, but lately I help with tiny things so that we’re at least spending time together. We also started weekly family game night, which the boys love. My best friend got me knitting needles and some yarn, so I’ve started knitting while we watch TV. That way at least I’m doing something with my hands.
And a bonus..
Okay, so this one isn’t really a way to save money, which is why it’s the bonus. Now I am not suggesting that anyone go demand a raise or more hours at work. There are tons of ways that you can make some extra money without a ton of effort. One of my favorite ways is to sell things on facebook buy/sell/trade groups or craigslist. [That said, I make Chris meet people with me and always meet at a public place like Target.] It’s an easy way to make some money fast. I’m also a huge fan of swagbucks where you earn points that you can redeem as giftcards. I use it to build up Amazon giftcards that I use to buy books and curriculum for our homeschool. If you want to take it further, try to find something that you can do from home. Maybe start tutoring or babysitting for a friend. I have one friend who bakes and decorates cakes and candies, and another who makes gorgeous party invitations. Find a way to turn your passion into income!
What are your tips? Are you trying to save money in the New Year?