Friday, December 27, 2013

2014 is just around the corner... how did 2013 treat your budget?

2013 is winding down quickly.. and I can tell my friends have saving money on their list of things to tackle in 2014 because several have started asking me for tips and help with their budget.

What makes me so special?  Why are they asking me?  Good question!  lol..  Seriously, in 2009, I went through a divorce and I wanted to keep the house.  Up to this point, my household had not been very responsible with money.  We used credit cards and debit cards for everything, not really thinking about what we were spending.  Suddenly, I was faced with wanting to keep my sons' lives as "normal" as possible on just my income.  Cuts had to be made for us to survive, but I really didn't know where to start!

I found and read everything on budgeting and saving money I could get my hands on.  I became obsessed with ways to save money.  Probably the biggest influences during this time were Dave Ramsey, YNAB (an AMAZING budgeting software that I am still using and absolutely love!) and the Economides family (also known as America's cheapest family).

The constant that every source seemed to tell me was that I had to do a budget.  I was terrified and clueless.  I had no idea where my money had been going.  All I knew was that I never had any!  I sat down with 6 months of bank statements and started putting together a picture of where my money had gone.  The biggest shock of my life was my grocery spending.  I had been spending over $1000 per month on groceries and eating out.  I'm not talking steak at home or fancy dinners on the town.  I'm talking McDonald's, pizza, and processed junk.  I was floored.

I made it my mission to get my grocery spending in check.  My initial goal was to try to spend $750 total in the first month and keep dropping it from there.  In the past 4 years, I have gotten remarried and still managed to cut my grocery budget down to $400/month.  That number includes all toiletries, paper products and food.

So, if you are wanting to start saving money and you are willing to put in the work, you are at the right blog.  If you want a "quick-fix", check late night infomercials, because this is definitely not a quick fix!

Grab a notebook, take stock of your current spending (for groceries and other categories) and let's get going!