So, Julie wants to be on a budget. I won't lie and say it will be easy, it is going to suck at first. She will resent the fact that she can't buy anything she wants. She may hate it. However, she will come to love her budget. I promise, I can see it now Budget Julie Everyday. I like it. You wanna join Angry Julie on her quest to be on a budget? Great, I think I can help.
I too used to be like Angry Julie. However, I am a reformed shopaholic turned frugalista. I went from buying the high end brands to shopping at Goodwill. (don't turn you nose up. you can get some really great things at Goodwill. Did you know that Target donates everything it doesn't sell to Goodwill!) I request free samples and use coupons (lots and lots of coupons). I stockpile and shop at yard sales, yep I am the crazy coupon lady.
So, maybe you won't be as drastic as me, maybe you just need to save a few dollars per month. Maybe you are piling on credit card debt and need a complete lifestlye change. Regardless of what your budgeting goals are, there are a three great ways to start saving money!
1. Get Real with Yourself - You need to get honest with yourself (umm hmm Julie, you have to count every Monster you buy). You can't know how much you need to save if you don't know what you're spending. You need to have your expenses and income accounted for and I mean ALL. You can check out Mint.com- it is an online program that you can use to manage your budget. It will send you alerts and emails telling you how bad you are and that you went over your budget. Nothing like getting remprimanded by a computer program.
2. Cut out the fat in your budget - I am not talking about the ice cream, I am talking about the things you just spend money on because you can. This doesn't have to be all or nothing. (well unless you can't pay your bills, then it has to be all). Make a list of the items that you can live without.(Julie can live without the Monsters.) Start by cutting out the easiet thing to give up. Try cutting out one new every other week, until you have cut out the excess spending in your budget. Try to find less expensive alternatives if you cannot cut these things out all together.
3. Save Money on the Things you Have to Buy - You can start with using coupons. Make a list of the top 25 things (outside of produce and meat) that you buy. I guarantee you, unless you have a very specialized diet, you will find that atleast 8-10 things that you can find coupons for. Many coupons can now be found online. Visit Hot Coupon World and check out their coupon database. You type in the food item that you are looking to purchase - if a coupon is available, it will show up there. Start by simply using the database for things you are going to buy. Check out this post for information about general couponing. Also, bookmark this page for the best printable coupons
When you get a comfortable with coupons, match coupons to grocery store sales - Visit BeCentsableand find the grocery stores you shop at. This site provides you with a list of blogs that provide coupon matchups. This list includes grocery stores all over the country, so your store is like to be there. Remember, never buy something because you have a coupon for it.
So I know Julie can do it if I did and you can too. For many more money saving tips and ideas, visit my blog at www.forthemommas.com (yes, that was a pathetic, shameless plug)