Thursday, June 7, 2012


When it comes to budgeting...
First thing I'd recommend, write everything down! Start with your budget, how much you make in a month and where it needs to go (rent, bills, groceries, etc). 

Since rent is a set amount, just subtract that from your monthly total. Bills can be a bit tricky because of seasonal fluctuations and what not, so I looked at my bills from the previous year and made an average bill budget based on that. I rarely use the full budget during the summer months and during the winter, I'm grateful its there to use. Also, if pay day is bi-weekly, don't pay all your bills at once and then leave yourself stuck with nothing until the next pay day. Instead, figure out your monthly bills and half them between the pay weeks. Your bills will always be paid and you wont have to do without.

The grocery budget can also be tricky, so in this case I'll use my own budgeting for an example. I have 3 kids, one in diapers and one in pullups so their monthly cost is inevitable, but since I part time cloth diaper my daughter (highly recommend!) that cuts the monthly box of diapers to about one pack or a box lasting 2 months +. 

When it comes it the food budget, look through your flyers for specials and compare to other stores, plus add in if you have any useful coupons to save even more. I'm in Newfoundland and I shop at Dominion, Wal-Mart and Sobeys every week with the occasional visit to other shops when the budget allows or the deals are worth it. That is another thing to remember. Make sure the trip to a particular store is worth going there, especially if its out of the way. If you are going to spend more in gas then save by going there, it's not worth the trip. On the plus side, many stores offer Price Matching, keep this in mind especially for stores out of the way so you are not actually missing out on the deal. 

After making a list from the flyers, I then see what kind of meals I can make based on whats on sale, what coupons I can use and what I already have in the cupboards. It doesn't always work out, but if the possibilities are there, go with them. After making the list of meals, I then compile a list of what I will need to make these meals. An example of this might be: Spaghetti - Noodles, meat and mushrooms on sale - have onions - need sauce, green peppers. When you break down your grocery list this way, you will start to see savings popping up. 1 bag of onions can be used in a lot of meals for example. 

Based on everything I write down and after a few weeks of budgeting, I noticed I was spending an average of $50 per shop each week to cover everything I needed. This made my grocery budget $150 but since it's not going to be perfect every time, I adjusted my budget to $200 a week overall to include any $$ over I may spend. Sometimes I actually spend less (yay bring on the savings) and sometimes I went over the budget, but by following the list and not impulse buying, the savings will be larger then the occasional over spending. 

After a few weeks, you will start to notice a trend as well, or at least we did. I was buying all our meats at Dominion but our veggies were always bought at Sobeys. Bananas were from Sobeys and apples from Dominion, etc. If you start to notice these trends, go with them! You know if you need something and it's not on sale, you'll get the best price at these places or at least the best value for what you are buying.

All this being said, these budgets don't use up all of our monthly income so the money not included in budgeting, goes straight to savings. Yard sales, thrift shopping and second hand items can also really come in handy when trying to save, so make use of what's available to you!

This is an example of what my budget looks like so it's a little more visible. Note: I'm using approximates and round numbers.

Monthly income:
   $750 - bi-weekly - $1500 monthly
+$900 - CCTB
$2400 monthly

Paid out:
   $750 - rent
+$200 - bills per pay day - $400 monthly
+$200 - groceries weekly - $800 monthly
$1950 - monthly expenses

  $2400 income
-$1950 paid out
$450 - monthly savings

$450 in monthly savings is our approximate amount, but sometimes it can be much more. That will add up very quick after a few months so if you have any debts to pay off, or that one special thing you've been wanting for a very long time, this would be an easy way of doing it. I've been budgeting like this for about 2 years and we've managed to get out of student loan debts, had great Christmas's/birthdays, and for Father's Day this year, I was able to get my hubby something he has been wanting for many years. The irony of it is I used money saved, a coupon, waited for a sale and got his PlayStation 3 plus 2 games for a fraction of the actual cost. He wanted it because it's a Blu-Ray player, computer, gaming console, has wifi, etc instead of getting a new computer or blu-ray player. I've rubbed off on him with my budgeting ways but I am so happy I was able to do this for him. 

Contesting and freebies are great ways to get things you really want and for free! It takes a bit of work and not everyone is lucky enough to win or catch the freebie before it runs out, but if you stick with it, you never know what you might get. I have my own list of daily contests I enter which I have listed on my Daily Contests page and also some Free Money Maker sites to make fast and easy online cash. The free money maker sites also offer gift cards which can be used on just about anything. Psst... Someone in your family got a birthday coming up and want a specific movie, for example, get it on with a gift card you earned for free. There are many ways to earn points for redemption and many various prizes to choose from. I personally like the PayPal cash to use on eBay.

Keeping up with some of the great pages on Facebook will keep you up to date on contests, freebies, coupons, samples, free points on the money maker sites and pretty much any hint or trick to help you save money. Join their wonderful communities and you wont believe how much you can save and what you can get just by following these awesome individuals!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the mention and it's good to see that you found a way to budget that works with your money and keeps you happy. Most people struggle to get as far as putting together a budget so kudos to you.

    Budgets must be designed for the people who use them and that means designing your own. Although we have a Step by Step Guide on my blog about how we designed our budget, each person needs to figure out what works for them and adjust and visit the budget regularly. Our budgeting guide has tips and ideas and shows you exactly what we did to get where we are today.

    There is some math involved when it comes to budgeting keeping in mind how many weeks are actually in a month,projected expenses(items you know you will pay in the year at some point and SHOULD BE budgeting for each month etc. If you don't factor these in you will be short money in the budget at some point. An emergency savings fund should never be used for expenses you know you will have to pay for.

    If you spend more in the budget than you earn and you have a "savings category" you are not saving anything. Visit and revisit the budget, it takes time and doesn't happen over night.
    Cheers and thanks again for your continued support!