Some of you know that I do coupon. Actually, I initially started blogging- in part- because of the # of people who would pick my simply Mommy brain on ways to save their family money.
While clipping coupons has saved our family tremendous amounts of money through the years I do have to say that there is something else that has been our #1 money saver. Budgeting.
Budgeting on a monthly basis may seem impractical but it has saved us thousands of dollars and our marriage more times than I can count! Adrian and I are blessed to say that we are completely debt free. From paid off school loans from private colleges, medical bills, car payments and more… within around 6 years we were able to knock out tens of thousands of dollars in debt. (For much of this time we have been on a single income.) Monthly budgets were the key to us becoming debt free.
Here I am posting a few simple budgeting ideas that we have picked up from other financially savvy folks that have really helped us. Please share what money saving budgeting ideas you use!
A family that budgets together…
A few months back by sister-in-law and I decided to put together our “top 10” for budgeting for our families. Here is what we came up with:
Erica and Amy’s Budgeting top 10
- Take your tithe out first – Instead of waiting until the end of the month. Tithing is not for God’s benefit but for ours. If we are making him “first” in all areas of our lives, this has to be a non-negotiable. There have been so many months where tithing first has NOT made sense because there were other bills coming that we didn’t know how to pay for (Im not talking “want” bills- like for fast food and cable- but the “need” bills like water and rent). It is not until we put God first that we truly are trusting and are putting ourself in a place where we can see His provision at work.
- Pray about it. Seriously! So many times Adrian and I have not seen eye to eye on BIG elements of our finances. Whenever I prayed God always seemed to change a heart- many times it was mine. 🙂
- Live within your means. If you cannot afford a bigger house, pray and ask God to give you contentment with the apartment. If you don’t have the gas money budgeted… limit your driving.etc.. Check out this great teachable moment you can even have with your children about why you don’t have the bigger things some other families may have.
- Allow for “allowance”. Allocate some money (monthly/weekly) that you and your spouse can spend (or “blow”) on whatever you want. This allowance is not “earned”- you are grown ups! For your husband he needs a “nag free guarantee” on this cash!
- Spend Cash. Wherever you can- take the exact cash amount out for what you have allocated. This will give you a visual limit to what you have to spend. (Taken from Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University)
- Involve the kids. You know your kids better than we do. Come up with ways to involve them in the discipline of spending and saving! Can they help clip coupons? Can they “earn” money for chores?
- Give Generously. The amount of the financial gift rarely dictates how generous of a gift it is. Giving things like: time, money, food, clothes, cars, toys, grace, attention, unearned affirmation, and forgiveness is what we are created to do. To follow Christ is to live and give as generously as he did.
- Allocate money monthly for savings. Even if it is only $5. (This will eventually help give you enough of a financial savings for life’s emergencies or future financial needs.)
- Make a “Get away” priority! Chances are, no one else is making your marriage a priority . It is up to you and your spouse. But right now, I am talking to you! Budget money to “blow” on a getaway with your spouse! You are making financial sacrifices weekly to take care of the basic needs of your household. Planning a getaway is just part of budgeting for another basic need – marriage! Whether you plan a cruise or a two night stay at a local hot spot- get away together at least once a year.
- Write it Down
- Amy says: sit with your spouse monthly/bi-monthly to figure out how to allocate your income for the upcoming weeks. Below is the tool we use for budgeting. It is important to talk about this with your spouse.
- Erica says: Come up with an annual budget. What will my utilities cost this year? When and how much should we save for the Holidays? What major expenses can we anticipate this year?
- Money Saving Mom has great printable and principles for families wanting to budget
- Check out this great app (FREE for a limited time) to help teach your kids about money management and giving to charities! Click HERE to learn more about TYKOON.
- More great resources on teaching your kids how to manage money HERE.
- http://www.daveramsey.com (Adrian and I took the financial peace class right after having our first daughter. It transformed not only what we did with our money but how we communicated about it. Tom and Erica’s budget comes from many of these principles too.)
- FREE mvelopes app on itunes. This program comes recommended by americascheapestfamily.com. You can also download the program for your computer HERE.
- This is the budgeting program software we use. I love the envelopes. 😉