Money Saving Tips - Week One, Use Cash Envelopes

We are on a roll with our Money Saving Tips Series!

Did you do it?!

Your budget?

Did you write everything down that you spend money on?!

It's ok if you've missed some things. You can always add them in and re-balance your budget. It's important that you do. You want to make sure that you are accurate with money, keeping track of how much comes in, how much you keep and how much goes out. That's how you save more and spend carefully.

Ok, so you have your monthly budget in hand. Now what?!

I recommend that you assess where your money goes.
If you are married, living common law, etc. then do this exercise with your significant other.
Set a goal. Do you want to save up for a big trip. Need a new car. Want just a bit of breathing space?!

Whatever is important to you.  Set it as a goal.

Once you have your goal, look at your monthly income and your monthly expenses.
Here's a few sheets that I made up for you to use.

Download PDFs here and here.

{Yes, it's fun and pretty, shouldn't everything we do be?!!}

Total your monthly income and deduct your monthly expenses. Is your total in the positive or the negative? Do you want to have more left over at the end of the month?

This is where you should make some adjustments to your budget or just roll with what you have for the first week.

Here is what you have to do next.

Everything that you pay for each month that are fixed and planned expenses ie. mortgage, utilities, property taxes etc., you can schedule and plan for, by keeping the funds in your bank account and paying them automatically.  However, all the other stuff, like groceries, gas for your car, clothing, entertainment, misc. like trips to the beauty department at the drug mart {oh, that's my big one}.  All the other stuff you're spending money on {your variable spending}, you are going to start using cash and only cash for those.

Why? Those purchases are what can suck your budget dry and make you reach for the credit cards. Consumer spending and debt = bad news.

Next, total what you need each week to cover each of those categories, take the cash out of your bank account each week, put your money in individual envelopes like these...

 

Yes, they too have to be pretty because, well, it just makes life more fun for me. Here's the link to show you how I made my own envelopes, and it cost me pennies. You can even use wrapping paper, which I know you have a huge selection of at the moment!!

Now, you are to use cash and cash only. When you run out - guess what, you can't buy that shiny, dangly pair of earrings that you just have-to-have. Or, you can't get a grande, soy milk, extra hot, extra pump chai latte. {I'll show you how you can in fact have everything you want and stay within your budget in the next week's tips}.

Repeat after me, cash is king. 

So, calculate your weekly needs, have your cash sorted in your envelopes, and when you are out and about, use your cash for spending.

At the end of the week, it's very important that you celebrate your discipline, and also make adjustments for the following week if needed.  Fill your envelopes and make sure to stay within your monthly budget!

Let me know how you do. I'd love to hear about your experience.

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Saving Money Tips - A Four Week Series!

Saving Money Tips,

a four week series delivered to you

directly from the heart and pocket book!

When I started this site, I promised to share the good, the bad and even some ugly.

Well, here are some truths.

I love being self-emloyed.

I love working from home.

I love seeing my kids morning, mid-day, mid-afternoon or whenever they need me.

I love having the freedom to work wherever there is wifi, hot coffee and a friend.

I love taking my dog out for a walk mid-week, in the afternoon, on a sunny day if I feel like it.

I love the adventure and uncertainty that every day brings.

What I don't love...

not being able to rely on a set amount of money each and every week.  

{If you are self employed, and/or have started a new business, you may relate.}

Especially when you have big expenses that you are anticipating apart from the usual; kid's extra-curricular activities, family vacations, numerous birthday parties, entire wardrobe updates {because your son has grow 1/2 foot over the summer} etc.

This year we have BIG PLANS!

It's our 25 year dating anniversary and 15 year wedding anniversary. You know what that means?!!  Time for some new bling - something I don't normally care about, but have been enjoying shopping for modern versions of our wedding sets.

We also are planning to complete our home renovations that we started 6 years ago and are ready to complete.

AAAAAND... We'd still like to take our usual family vacations, pay for groceries and the cable bill, etc.  

{you get the idea}.

We don't like to carry debt, so our goal is of course, to budget and spend wisely.

 So, I am going back to my old, tried, tested and true strategies of saving money, budgeting and planning for the next 6-12 months and I thought I'd share all my secrets and tips with you here!

In the next 4 weeks, I will share with you how we budget, track spending, use cash, save money and cut costs.

My hope is that you share some of your strategies and ideas too!  Perhaps we can collectively solve a challenge or two in your household at the moment!

The first step is to create a budget.  

The key to creating a budget is to not leave anything out.  The more thorough and detailed you are here, the better.  Google search examples of budgets or visit your bank's website.  I'm sure they have a tool that you can download.  If you have a smart phone, there is probably a great selection of apps that you can use to track your expenses, income and take inventory of all of you assets and bank accounts.    I use an excel spreadsheet which I can update as I go.  Don't forget to include things like: the kid's birthday parties that they will inevitably be invited to, date night for you and the hubs, hair cuts, Dog care, etc.  Those usually pop up without even realizing that they need to be worked into your household budget.

Have your budget ready in the next few days because I have a handy tracking system and tool to help you; spend less and only what your budget allows using only cash!  I make it as fun and creative as possible - it's the only way I stay committed to making a change.  And remember, it only takes 28 consecutive days to make a long-term change! 

So cheers to spending less, saving more, and to designing your life experiences!

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