There is something so renewing to know that a new year is beginning and that you have a whole new year ahead of you to start fresh. In February, our New Year’s goals may have already been forgotten, but today I want to encourage you to dust those goals back off and start anew again with a goal that is very dear to my heart… being wise with our funds. The goal that I have each year is to continue to reduce our spending and find creative ways to live our beautiful life on a small budget.
Get Your Finances Back on Track- Isn’t it funny that we have more ways than ever to be in touch with our money, yet many of us couldn’t be further from it? Consider investing in some financial planning software this year or utilizing a free financial planning service like Mint.com for tracking your spending. Start this year out right and begin analyzing where your money is going and find new ways that you can reduce your spending categories. Viewing your spending history is an eye-opening way to see simple switches you could make to begin saving and planning for your future.
Switch to a Cash System- In some regards, using an envelope system is an old-school method, but it has been the one method that has worked the very best for our family through the years. At the beginning of the week, withdraw the money that you need for your groceries and give an allowance to yourself, your spouse, and a family allowance for dining out/entertainment. This will not only keep you within your grocery budget, but it will also keep those incidental expenses for each family member within a budget too.
No one can shame you for buying a weekly latte and no one can be upset that a family member went out to dinner, provided that it is within your weekly allowance! A family allowance will also allow you to do something fun each week together and give you that much needed family time you deserve.
Ditch the Membership Fees- Are you paying for a membership that you aren’t using anymore? Many times when I talk to people about memberships they have, they are usually not using them. Do you have a gym membership, but don’t ever go to the gym? Do you subscribe to a magazine that you don’t have time to read or is no longer applicable to that stage in your life? Do you have a movie club, but no one ever has time to watch the movies?
Ditching those memberships doesn’t mean that you can’t indulge in those activities; it just means you can be smarter about how you are doing them. A gym that offers a punch card where you only have to pay per class might be a better option if you can’t ever make it to the gym. Checking out those movies and magazines from the library might be a better way to indulge in those entertainment expenses without paying yearly on them. Rethink how you can approach those spending categories and you could easily save $30 or more off of your monthly expenses.
Embrace a DIY Lifestyle- The best thing you can do for your finances this year is to invest in learning new skills that you will save you money. Take a class to learn how to make your own birthday cakes, learn a new craft that could save on gift expenses, visit a Saturday workshop at your local hardware store to complete a home improvement project, research on You Tube or check out books from the library on how to tackle projects that you normally have to outsource. Embracing a DIY lifestyle is what frugality, to me, is all about. Go out and learn a new skill today and see what it can do to improve those family finances. It just might surprise you!
When looking for materials for these DIY projects, be sure to stop at your Goodwill store to see what treasures you can use to tackle those home improvement projects. Goodwill is always my first stop when looking for materials for my favorite DIY projects.
Get Rid of That Clutter- Clutter not only weighs us down physically, but clutter causes us to spend money when we don’t need to. One look at a cluttered pantry or bathroom closet and you know exactly what I am talking about. Duplicate purchases occur when we don’t have a strong grasp on our inventory in our home and clutter hides us from the real treasures that are in our lives. Stop allowing clutter to put a drain on your budget and your life.
The best part about our Goodwill stores is that not only can you get rid of clutter, but you can score savings at the store by stopping by and making that donation. An employee will happily hand you a tax receipt when you drop your items off at the Goodwill Drive-Thru Donation Center. The bonus, that makes the trip and decluttering your life entirely worth it, is that our Michiana Goodwill Stores attach a coupon to your tax deduction form that will save you a percentage on your next shopping trip.
When you visit Goodwill, ask about their Goodwill Loves Moms Reward Program. It’s amazing! You can register in the store for $4.00 and you’ll receive a re-useable Donation Bag and Reward Card. When you donate with the bag, they’ll validate your Reward Card. When the card is full, they’ll send you a gift valued at $25.00 – or a Shopping Certificate – you decide! Find out more at: www.GoodwillLovesMoms.com.
I call that a win-win situation when it comes to ways to save money and reward yourself in the new year!
WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU WOULD LIKE TO CHANGE ABOUT YOUR SPENDING THIS YEAR?