It’s obvious to most people shortly after starting a family that there is a serious need to budget. You would think that the more money you make, the less budgeting you have to do, but I think the opposite is true. Janna and I have had a few years to try several different things to help manage our money, some have worked and some have not; that being said here is a list of 13 different household budgeting tips that we feel helps us the most.
- Be Unified – If there is no unity between the people involved in the budget, it will fall apart. When you sit down to plan a budget, talk through each category of spending and actively negotiate. Also, having separate checking accounts or any other type of money account that your spouse has no access to is probably not wise. This could foster dishonesty and makes budgeting for a household difficult.
- $1000 Saved- Having $1000 saved at all times just in case you need to suddenly pay for an unplanned expense, has been for us, a lifesaver. This is also a great credit card deterrent.
- Budgeting Software- It’s important to have a way of tracking your budget whether it be with pen and paper or electronically. Janna and I use a software called You Need A Budget aka YNAB. I’ve used several other budgeting programs and this is the one I like the most. One benefit I love is that it is very simple to use and it has an app for your phone which works great. It updates all devices that are using the same budget in real time using dropbox. It is not free but well worth the money, you can get a $6 discount by clicking here.
- Negotiate Bills- Believe it or not, you are probably being ripped off as we speak by your service providers. Most of the bills you get each month can be reduced. Unfortunately, it’s often very difficult for the average person (me) to negotiate their bills lower. That’s why I was so intrigued when I first heard about BillCutterz. BillCutterz.com is a bill negotiating service that doesn’t charge you anything until they’ve saved you money. They’re very nice and it’s super easy to sign up. Check out my experience with them here.
- Buy Online- This may seem obvious to some but in case you didn’t know, you can buy most things online for cheaper than you can in the store. Amazon is a great place to check prices and see if what you need is cheaper there.
- Ebates- This goes right along with buying online. Ebates.com is a rebate marketplace that connects you with online stores; when you purchase through the ebates links you get a cash back rebate that varies store to store. My total Ebates so far is $47.07! Click here to find out more.
- Discounted Gift Cards- I found out about this one recently; Raise.com is a gift card marketplace where sellers discount their gift cards to get cash. This results in some pretty sweet deals. I bought a $100 Home Depot gift card for $91! Since I go to Home depot frequently this was a great way to expand our home improvement budget by almost 10%. Plus if you use ebates.com in conjunction with Raise you’ll get 1% cash back! What an awesome deal! Click here to find out more.
- Pay Back Debt-I think most of the world is in debt right now, so you’re not alone but, how cool would it be to not have any debt! Make a plan to get out of debt. We are working on a debt snowball which involves paying off the smallest debt first then moving to the biggest debts as they get payed off. It’s a great feeling to get that first debt in the snowball payed off.
- DIY- Janna and I are big DIYers, we have wrote about several of the projects that we’ve done in the past. Click Here to see what we’ve done.
- Blow Money- No matter what, we all want things in life and what’s funny is they’re often small everyday things. This is why it’s important to have what we (and Dave Ramsey) call Blow Money. Blow money is a defined amount of money each month that you can blow on whatever you want. What do we spend our blow money on you might ask? Jesse- movies, eating out, and tools. Janna- clothes, nails, and beauty products.
- Sell it on ebay or Craigslist- I think we all have stuff in our house that we do not use. Chances are this stuff can be sold online. Why not get some cash out of the things you don’t use. If you plan to sell on craigslist or ebay I’d recommend reading my post on how I sold our car on craigslist in 3 hrs. (This article has a redirect to a different website that is currently leasing this content)
- Stick to it- One of the hardest parts of budgeting is sticking to the plan and staying motivated. So whatever it is that keeps you motivated just keep doing that. I enjoy reading other personal finance blogs, one of which is by a friend of mine Greg; his blog is GregOutofDebt.com he’s very funny and very real.
- Tithing- We pay 1/10 of our income to tithing. Both Janna and I believe there are many blessings that come from paying tithing, so many in fact that we can’t afford not to pay tithing. If you have never payed tithing now would be a great time to start. The Lord says he will “open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” -Malachi 3:10
There are plenty of right ways to budget and save money. We hope you enjoyed these 13 Household budgeting tips. They come straight from our everyday life. That being said we’d love to hear your ideas and what works well for you or your family. Please let us know in the comments below.