If money flows through your fingers like water and you really want to stick to your budget, you may want to do it the old fashion way. Take the money you have in your bank for expenses and distribute it into individual envelopes ready for payment. If you are short, better to put some money on each bill than to miss a payment.
For spending money and for weekly bills, distribute the cash into 4 weekly envelopes. At the beginning of each week, take the money from one of the envelopes and put it into your purse or pocket. And that’s it, that’s all you can spend that week, or month. If you run over, do not take more money from the bank if you run out, you will just have to wait until next month.
Here are a few other helpful tips from some parents to help your family save money:
Pay yourself first! To put money aside effortlessly, we set up an automatic transfer to take money from our chequing account and put it in our savings account every pay day. It’s done before I log in to do my banking and bill paying so I don’t even miss it and it’s never forgotten or bumped for impulse purchases.
Go on a spending “cleanse” if you find that you have spent too much and avoid buying anything for two weeks. It’s a great way to clean out the fridge/cupboards and avoid impulse purchases.
Live on cash for variable expenses. We take out a set amount of cash every 2 weeks after accounting for all of our bills. Any extra money goes 50/50 to debt/savings. Watch your spending habits change drastically when you use cash instead of plastic.
My husband and I each have a weekly allowance that we can use for extras, like coffee or lunch out. When it’s gone, it’s gone, but we compete to see who has the most left at the end of the week. The leftover amount, if any, goes into our savings which we will use towards a family vacation.
You have to make savings a priority – not put away what’s left, but put away savings (or debt payments) first, then work with what’s left. If that means cutting back in places than that’s what you do.
Live within your means! Always ask the question “Is this needed or wanted?” Spending less money on the wanted things in life will make a big difference in the monthly budget. Use the balance to help pay down debt.
If you still want to use credit, use a cash-back credit card for everything so you can download your spending and analyze it in a spreadsheet. It’s VERY eye-opening!
Make a meal plan to make sure that leftovers get used and aren’t just thrown out.
Get the kids involved! Eat meals at home and let them know that eating out takes money away from family activities and extras. Kids are forever asking for things. Let them know where the money comes from and what is available for their needs and wants come later. “I would rather spend money on A than B, etc.”
Never buy lunches! Sounds cheesy but the 2 tips that work best for us are: we never buy lunches – always bring from home (saves a fortune – same for coffee/tea in the morning!) AND we always shop with a list – especially for groceries. It’s so easy to get sidetracked by things in the store – if we have a list to stick to, it’s much easier to avoid temptation.
DO YOU REALLY NEED IT?
Limit the items that you buy. I do not buy items that are used one/two times only then thrown out. There are so many products that we are lead to believe we “need”, but we really do not. Spend your time not acquiring things but life experiences instead.
Cancel cable TV. Most shows can be watched online for free and you can watch it anytime and pause/rewind/fast forward it.
You may find our budgeting tips and checklists helpful for when you want to create a family budget or you need some help.