While I do track my spending with things like Mint.com, there are really only two saving/budgeting ideas that I actually follow these days.
The reason that I only use two principles is because it’s simple. I know myself, and if it’s simple then I’ll be more likely to follow it. Honestly, things like clipping coupons seems like too much work to me to do on a regular basis. Don’t get me wrong, I will look for the best deal on a new computer or kitchen knives, but those are one off purchases, not regular routine.
The Stranger Test
When you are thinking of purchasing something, imagine a stranger holding the item you are thinking of buying in one hand, and the cash equivalent in the other. Which one would you take? Or what if they were holding a piece of clothing you liked and $80 in the other hand? Seems like a simple enough method to me.
Recently I started a new job and found that the lunch options nearby were both terrible and expensive. Basically, I found that I would spend $9 per day on a mediocre sandwich or $14 on a lunch that I would actually enjoy. But you know what I like more? A stranger handing me $9 per day to make my own damn sandwich! And that’s the story of how I started bringing lunch to work!
I also think it’s very important to use a stranger in this scenario, if you imagine your shopaholic friend holding out those new sneakers they will probably try to sway you one way or another. Or if you imagine a tree or an alien offering you those things you’ll probably be like “oh shit, a talking tree. I have to get a video of this on my phone.”…. Well, I guess you could just pretend each option is sitting on a chair, but the “chair test” doesn’t sound as good…
Read also: 7 Tips to Stick to Your Holiday Budget
I was saving a good portion of my income for a long time but I didn’t really buckle down on it until I read this line over at Financial Samurai:
That was when I really thought about saving more. I thought that if I was saving 20% or 30% of my income then I was doing great, but if it wasn’t a struggle then why wasn’t I saving more? Where was that extra money going? I didn’t have a really good answer for it so I decided to crank up my savings to the point where if I wanted to buy something out of the normal, I really had to give it some thought.
Read also: 6 Easy Things to Cut When Paying Off Debt
Simple budget plans for moms
The basic notion of a budget is that you sit down, look at your income and spending, and decide exactly what you’re going to do with each dollar of your revenue. If you set aside money for clothing, you can purchase that ideal pair of pants without worrying about paying your power bill later in the month.
Make sure to include both your own and your children’s expenses when making your budget. This is something that many people overlook. School activities, clothing, outings, and weekend activities are all things that should be allocated for your children. This way, you’ll know exactly how to budget your monthly money.
Kids’ activities and outings can be expensive. The cost of admission to amusement parks and the zoo, as well as the cost of food and drink, may quickly add up. So, why not take advantage of some free kid-friendly activities? Find areas in your variable expenses where you can cut if your expenses are larger than your income. Look for ways to cut costs, such as dining out less, or eliminate a category, such as cancelling your gym membership.
Discuss your budget and financial goals with your partner. Inform your pals about your objectives and encourage one another. Ask questions of financial advisors, attend webinars, and speak with them.
Easiest Way To Make Budget For Moms
When we first started budgeting, the ONE habit that made a huge difference for me was keeping track of my expenses on a regular basis. It was very simple because I utilized YNAB, which allowed me to log my expenses shortly after leaving the store and have them auto-sync with my budget.
If your husband doesn’t do this, you’ll have to double-check your accounts for any other purchases. While I was waiting for something, instead of going through Instagram stories, I would quickly check into my bank accounts to see if there were any new charges. Then I’d sort them into categories and write them down.
The easiest way to controlled budget lies in anticipation and follow-up. You must therefore anticipate as much as possible all your expenses and try to foresee all possible contingencies. To do this, the best method is to work with a funnel view: first an annual view, then monthly and finally weekly.
Always start by establishing a budget for the year. List your expenses for the year, month by month, in order to have a precise global view of your financial situation and to make choices: amount of savings, vacation budget, for example.
After this annual budget, you will be able to manage your budget month after month by recording your expenses and income for each month, while also thinking about anticipating any occasional expenses.
The One Strategy That Explains Both (I just came up with this while writing)
Now that I write this out, both of them fall under mindfulness. Mindfulness is a concept of focusing your attention and awareness to whatever is taking place. If I really think about each spending decision it helps me realize the value of each option. When I can use mindfulness to reduce my spending I can also increase my saving with those same actions.
I guess I really only use one principle for both saving and budgeting: Mindfulness!
It’s interesting for me to see the rabbit holes of my own mind by simply writing things down. This is exactly one of the reasons why I write this blog.