How do you budget?
I don't know how to plan a budget. I am a single mother with a 6-month-old. Tips?
Funny you should ask this question, I was just thinking about starting up a new blog on this, but simply asking the question is even better.
I can't wait to see what other post, but the changes that I have made over the 2-3 years are :
1. First and Foremost - I look at an item and really - truly answer the question; is this a need or a want? It doesn't matter that the dress on the Kohl's clearance rack is $15. Yes, I want it, because it is a good deal, but I probably wouldn't wear it, at least not enough to really quantify it as a want rather than a need. I really need another pair of black pants for work which will go with a dozen sweaters I already have and those are only $10.
Teaching my teenagers the difference between wants and needs is a little bit harder.
2. I have all of our accounts linked at the bank. I see what my kids are buying and when they ask for additional funds, they have to justify them. I also take 2/3 of may check - right off the top - and put it in my "holding account" - for the mortgage and other major household repairs - like the water heater I just replaced and the fallen tree I had to have cut off from my house.
Those are my two big changes to helping me live within my budget. I know everyone lives differently and everyone has different expectations when it comes to budgets.
I am really looking forward to reading what other people are doing and if there is something else I can incorporate into my daily financial routine.
Thanks for asking the question - it's a good one
I purposely did not answer this one right away for I thought you were going to have a lot of hubbers interested in the subject, which I find fascinating... You are not only talking budget, but budget on a string.
If you allow a quick story. First Holiday season that I was to have as a single mom with no job and my six year old, I was already planning on it by April of that year. I remember making a line at the bank to deposit $5.
That Holiday Season I was able to bank out $800, out of miracle pocket change.
It does not matter your income level, and this is not an original concept of mine, PAY YOURSELF FIRST. This very morning I got my deposit. First thing I did was to transfer my specified amount to savings, my other amount to investing, my children's allotments, and THEN I head out to the bank to pay the mortgage.
Quick structured tips here that I use:
1. Write it down- You have to write your budget down. In any event, whatever plan you have for your life, they best be in writing
2. Be realistic- I wish I could pay my credit card off in a year, but it has to be in four. But is a plan that I can follow through.
3. If you do not need it, do not buy it- I agree with Skiffer, we have to refrain. Especially with a baby. Know that you will have true emergencies, and money will be required for them.
4. Look at it in terms of months and years, not days- Whenever I look at my budget I prefer looking at it on a yearly basis, that way I keep myself motivated with how much I've been saving.
Don't neglect to enjoy every once in a while, just don't splurge! Splurging is out!
My hub on the matter
http://crazygata.hubpages.com/hub/How-t … ng-economy
By what is important. You can try budgeting weekly, every other week, or each month. Since most paychecks are on an every other week basis, we will do that. The home is first so write down how much that will cost. If you use just one pay check, it makes those two weeks short on cash and stressful. Try to use both monthly pay checks and take half out of each so you are more evened out. The same goes for utilities, insurance, etc.
Then focus on the things you use every week. The rest of your money (after rent, ultilities, insurance, and savings) should be broken up into subcategories. Food, clothes, baby-sitters, gas, etc.
Also, once you get your paycheck, try to pay for everything in cash. That way it hurts a little if you spend any money. Like a slap on the hand. However, this only works if you see what you have. If you are the kind of person who focus' on the big picture, use a debit card. Never use credit.
I am writing a hub on this too.
Take a paper and draw a line down the middle.
At top - write INCOME to the left and BILLS to the right
enter all income sources for the month on the income side
enter all Essential purchases on the right hand side include ALL bills you pay monthly, food receipts taped on, etc... EVERYTHING.
IF you find you have more Bills than Income, you are in debt and are probable running a credit card balance which creates monster interest putting you further into debt.
Cut OUT all things you can live without! (Like cable TV!)
NO EXTRAS!! But that can also be a FUN thing! :}
With a baby - it is HARD. Expenses vary greatly. Try these tips:
SHop at thrift stores and garage sailes for clothing, hand-me-downs are great too! Babies outgrow Everything before they could ever wear it out!
Use Coupons! - Companies seem to LOVE babies! There re so many high $$ coupons for baby items - Use them!
Make your own baby food and freeze in ice-cube trays.
Be Creative in your decorating - all beauty can come from a dollar store and some paint!
There are SO many ideas online!!
You can have fun with this and save a ton too!
Keep some emergency money on hand at all times as well.
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