Tried and true ways to get financially healthy.
We’ve talked about budgeting your cash before, and knowing what you spend money on – but let’s face it, sometimes that is a tall order. With bills, one-off purchases and the options to use cash, debit or credit it’s easy to get to the end of the month and have no clue where all your funds went to – and how are you going to budget properly when that happens? Here’s an idea for getting your spending on the right track: simplify your methods. Rather than use the combo of cash, credit and debit, stick to one (preferably one you can track online). For me, I just spent a month where I ONLY used my credit card. To keep myself to it, I left my debit card at home, and didn’t use cash. The credit card works well for me because I am able to cover all my expenses with it – including bills that couldn’t be paid via debit or cash. At the end of the day/week/month, take a look at your expenses all listed out. Try and identify some spending patterns and see where you can cut down. Those little bits help – especially
Budgeting programs are a complete waste of money. There, I said it! Why spend upwards of $100 on a program whose entire function is to suck your time away and make you miserable? Sure, we all need to manage our money, plan for our expenses and save a little. It doesn’t have to be difficult though. I’ve always found that a simple sheet of notebook paper, or a spiral-bound notebook and a pencil take far less time to manage and have no learning curve like financial software does. The easiest way to control your finances: Set aside fifteen minutes a week, grab your notebook (and your partner if they are interested) and write out your expenses and your income. If your budget changes because of a birthday, a new loan or a new account just add it in. When you pay a bill, check it off on the paper. Having that simple written guideline is enough for most of us. It tells you approximately what you will want to spend on groceries, school expenses, bill payments, etc. If your budget changes, scratch it out or erase it and reconfigure. That usually takes about five minutes and you’re
DISCLAIMER* This isn’t a boring budget piece. This is an easy tip you can use to watch your spending. We know that BUDGETING sucks; this is a much easier replacement that takes less time.* How many times have you sat down and painstakingly worked out a detailed budget – or at least wanted to? Maybe you argued with your spouse a little about what should go where, but you had it under control. Maybe you even had that nice “I-did-a-budget glow” for a day or two. Then you got paid, waited a few days, and watched your carefully crafted budget give a last dying heave and splatter into nothing – with all the grace of a bug hitting a windshield. We’ve all been there. Learning to make a budget that takes everything into account is hard, and there’s a lot of trial and error involved. In fact, Darwin’s theory of budgeting is that your budget has to evolve, not dissolve. Don’t be too hard on yourself. There is a nearly fail-proof way to simplify everything, and it’s much easier than you think. The solution? Use cash. It’s just human nature. When we look at our
When we are on a tight budget, it can be hard to find interesting and challenging activities for our kids. However, with a little thought and sometimes just a little planning, we can find plenty of summer fun activities. Here are just a few suggestions. 1. Plan a Picnic You don’t have to travel far to have a picnic. In fact, you don’t have to travel any farther than your own backyard. The fun isn’t only in the picnic alone, but in the planning of it. It is a perfect way to create some cheap summer fun. 2. Plant a Garden Gardens offer kids a perfect opportunity for learning about plant life. If you start early enough in the season, you can start the garden from seeds. That is the ideal way to start a garden since the kids can watch the garden grow from the very beginning sprouts. However you start too late in the season to plant seeds, you can buy a few seedlings from just about anywhere, including many grocery stores. The kids can still watch the plants grow. Have them keep a chart of the growth every day or two. They can even