I am sharing my personal tips on how to spend less money on stuff today. I have been meaning to share my system for a while, but finally got to it today.
When I got married, I had some credit card debt and did not have much cash in the bank. I was literally living paycheck to paycheck and saving money was hard to do.
But things are different now. I have a degree in finance and while these are tips for saving money, this is not financial advice. Think of it as friendly advice from your blog friend.
How To Spend Less Money
At the beginning of our marriage, my husband and I set up a budgeting system to help us meet our then future goals of buying a home. It took us a few years, but we were able to do it and continued using the system for things like vacations, college funds and retirement.
It has not always been easy. A few years back, our income decreased significantly. We not only revised our budget, but we eliminated as many expenses as we could. Setting a budget helps you track what you're spending, achieve monetary goals, and puts you in better control of your money.
Bottom line is, in order to save, you must spend less than you make. But tracking isn't all of it, sticking to your budget allocations as often as possible is key to saving money and spending less.
Allocating Expense Money
In determining a budget, variable expenses are always easier to control. These include expenses such as groceries, household items, clothing and entertainment. By regularly allotting cash for each of these categories, you can better control your spending. I suggest keeping the cash in marked envelopes.
Develop a system
Many people refer to this as the envelope system, but the truth is it's a cash system. If you don't have the cash, you shouldn't be spending it.
Easy enough right? Not so much. When I was younger you paid for things by cash, credit card, or checks. There were no debit cards back then which in my opinion, disguise the financial impact of purchases because you do not see the cash leave your wallet.
Why It Works
In any case, this cash allocation system is the system we still use today. I'm including some free printable labels that you can use to set up a similar system for your household to better control your spending.
If you stick to the system it works. If you fall to the temptation of putting things on a charge card or a debit card, you will tend to overspend because you don't physically part from the cash.
Envelope Cash System Labels
- Determine your flexible spending categories.
- Set a monthly budget for each. The monthly amount for all envelopes should be determined after you have set aside a monthly savings amount. It is very difficult to save without deducting that amount first.
- At the beginning of the month, place the budgeted amount in an envelope.
- When the envelope is empty, resist the temptation to borrow from another envelope.
- I find it cumbersome to save receipts however if you feel it would help you in the beginning you can put your receipts in the respective envelopes to review later.
- All you need to get started is some envelopes and sticker paper or paper and double-sided tape.
- Right-click on the link below to print the labels.
Click Here for the Free Cash Envelope Printables
Disclaimer: This article is intended to share what has worked for our household for years. I am not a financial professional. If you feel you need financial advice, please consult a certified professional. Also, if you are looking for an even quicker way to prepare envelopes, try these.
More Ways To Save Money
Being in finance, I am always looking for ways to save money. Sure it is fun to spend it too, but you must maintain a healthy balance or it will bring you lots of stress and frustration.
Here are a few simple ways I want to share with you to help you save cash.
- Create a meal plan - Cook at home more often. When the food is tasty, it is easy to do!
- Set up a family budget. - So imperitive if you are trying to save money.
- Tips on Sticking to a budget - setting up a budget is only half of it.
- How to Save Money at School - this to save while going to school
The bottom line, getting yourself more organized in several ways can help you save money. It is never too late to start a new plan. You have more control than you think.
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Are you hoping to spend less money this year?
This is so intelligent. We have trouble making or keeping a budget or a system for spending less. Money is tight but I know it will be far worse when the kids are older and college-bound.
It really made a difference for us. We have been through some hard times and it is so nice to see your savings grow! Yes, college is SO expensive, but if you are planning now, you will be ahead of the game!