So I have been listening to the Dave Ramsey show and my husband and I decided to start doing the budget that he has set up. We have always been pretty frugal but looking back we could have invested way more and put way more money toward the house. We were doing ok, but could have been doing much better! So we decided to tell our money where to go instead of wondering where it went! One thing that I just couldn’t really get past was the whole cash thing. It took me awhile to get on board with that (I will go in more detail later in this post). So when we finally decided to do that cash thing I wanted to create a wallet that would somehow organize all my cash categories! So after lots of thinking, a few failed attempts, and some procrastination I finally finished a wallet that I love! Here it is:
I have them for sale in my Etsy shop and am going to be making more cash budget friendly organizers soon! I love it because it is a normal wallet with dividers in the cash pocket. This design leaves it light weight so it isn’t bulky and doesn’t bog down your purse, but still organizes your cash, receipts, or coupons. And because I am so excited about them, they are on sale right now through the end of September! Now on to HOW to save money:
Now onto ways that we save money!
1. Follow a budget.
It really isn’t that hard. You can go here to print Dave Ramsey’s budget forms. I have found these are the best for us. We have tried other budgets and have never really stuck with them. Sure I would write out our alloted money for each category, but we never really worried to much about going under or over. They were there and they made us feel good but we still weren’t telling our money where to go. If something came up, we thought we needed it and just did it instead of figuring out how to move money around to make it work. Dave’s budget it 0 based, so if you go over on one category, you need to take away from a different one to balance it back out so you are back at 0. The first month or two we were doing this budget we kind of fell back into our old ways of oh well we need this we can go over our budget for it. Since then we have learned, we really can live without many things! It has been a great experience for us!!
2. Pay with cash (or debit).
This one was the hardest for me. This month was the first month we followed this. Before my thinking was, well why can’t I use the credit card? I pay it off at the end of every month, have never owed them anything, and I get money back! I would always put our car insurance and anything we absolutely needed on the credit card, because why not right? This was one area I didn’t really think was critical to do (for me at least, I could see how it was huge for others). We really cut back using the credit card, but didn’t cut it out completely. Slowly I began to see that maybe it was a good idea to cut it out. Since we were cutting back on using it, when I would get the bill I would think how is it still so high?! After awhile I started getting annoyed and told Loren “I am sick of paying this bill.” So this month we put nothing on the card, instead used cash or debit. I am going to have to admit it is a money saver. Why? Because for one you don’t see that money spent. When you are handing over your cash it makes you think a little more. When you run out of cash, your out, sorry no more out to eat this month if the envelope is empty. But I think the biggest thing for me is that you don’t see how much is on the card until the bill comes. You are more prone to spend more since you forgot how much you have put on the card. So when that huge car insurance bill comes and I manually write a check, I think wow, that was a big bill, we are going to have to be more cautious of what else we spend this month. Verses, its on the card, kind of out of your mind until you get the bill. By that time you have gone out to eat a little to many times. It really is a mental game. I really didn’t believe it until I tried it. But I am way more aware of what is actually spent now that I do cash and debit.
3. Cook from scratch.
Not only is this more healthy it is also much more frugal! I know this one is not a new one for anyone but it really is true. Instead of going out to eat with friends, have them over to your house for supper. Even cooking for others can be cheaper than going out to eat. Have everyone bring a side. What about connivence though? Sometimes life is so crazy busy it is hard to find time to cook. So to fix this problem, I will cook extra on some evenings and throw the extra in the freezer. Then on a night I know is going to be busy (or I just don’t feel like cooking) I take out the frozen meal and you have an easy supper!
4. Have a garden.
I know this one is harder, but it is so worth it. Garden fresh food is the BEST! From our garden we can pickles, salsa, tomato juice, and spaghetti sauce. We freeze green beans and peppers. I make my own applesauce, freeze peaches, strawberries, and corn. (My awesome husband also planted apple trees and is going to plant a peach tree, so soon no money will be spent on those either.) Trust me, I never thought I would be canning….ever. I never thought it was worth it. I have changed my mind. We love having fresh food all year. Loren and I do pickles and salsa together, so it is fun doing it as a team. It really isn’t that hard at all, we can get 1-2 batches of salsa cranked out in one night. That usually makes us anywhere between 6-12 quarts of salsa and 4-8 quarts of tomato juice. (we use the juice drained off of the salsa in place of tomato juice, the flavor is great!) It is very possible to do with limited time. Loren has been working 3 up to 5 evenings after work and we still manage to get this done. You can go here if you want want our salsa and spaghetti sauce recipe.
5. Have accountability.
If your married, you both need to be on the same page. If you are single, have someone who can keep you accountable. Without this, it is easy to justify purchases. When my sweet tooth is telling me to make an ice cream run at 8 in the evening, my wonderful husband keeps me in check by saying, sorry we are over our out to eat budget, or wouldn’t you rather spend that money out to eat with some friends instead?! We move on and life ends up just fine (: Even if in the moment it may not seem fine!
6. Shop at Aldi’s and Amish Bulk Food Stores.
This one may not be a huge deal, but I seriously love Aldi’s. I have saved quite a bit on my groceries by shopping here. I know the second one may not be as available for many people, but if there is an amish bulk food store near you, utilize it! I get all my spices in bulk and it is SO cheap compared to buying them from the store. You can also get big bags of flour and blocks of cheese for cheaper. There are some things I buy at Amish bulk stores and some I don’t.
7. Check out other insurance policies.
We just switched life insurance policies and are saving $200 a year. That is with an increase in coverage. Just shop around and see if you are getting the best you can get.
8. Be content.
I think this is huge. If we are constantly looking at what others around us have and think we deserve it, we can get ourselves into a mess. Instead of wishing, start looking at what you really do have and be thankful for it. Compared to other countries we are so rich here in America that sometimes we forget what it is really like to be in need. I went on a mission trip to Jurez Mexico and was blown away by what some people live in. The area where we were working was so poor. The houses were constructed of junk laying around (pallets, cardboard, etc). The kids where playing with old bike tires, tattered dolls, and more junk they found. It really put it in perspective for me how nice we have it here. I still struggle with contentment, but really try to overcome it!
I am sure there are so many other ways to save money, but these are just a few that I have noticed really help Loren and I. The biggest thing was to learn the word “no.” Our goal is to be able to pay off our house as soon as we can, so that is what we are striving for right now. To keep myself motivated I keep telling myself what Dave Ramsey says: “Live like no one else so later you can live like no one else!!