Finances ~ How to Ball on a Budget

Hello everyone! Welcome!

One of the biggest issues I have when it comes to spending money is that I tend to buy things I won’t use. I do this especially with groceries. A big lesson I’ve learned with living on my own, and something I’m still working on, is how to ball on a budget.

I’m going to share a few tips on how you can ball on a budget.

Groceries

1) Make a Shopping List and Stick to it!

Before you go to the grocery store, make a list and stick to it!  If you didn’t think about it before you went to the store, chances are you won’t eat it.  Don’t buy something that’s going to sit in your fridge or pantry for days or weeks on end.

2) Only buy the necessities and one or two Luxuries

Don’t put ridiculous things on your list.  You don’t need to be buying three cases of pop or the most expensive coffee every time you go to the store.  Try to only buy one or two luxury food items a month, not every time you go to the store.

3) Don’t go to the Store Hungry!

This is a big no-no. If you go to the store on an empty stomach, you’re going to end up buying the whole store.  Everything is going to sound good.  You’re not going to stick to your list if you go to the grocery store hungry.

4) Budget your Grocery Shopping

Make it a goal to not go over a certain amount of money.  If you’re only buying for yourself, you probably don’t need to go over $75/month on groceries.  Before you go to the store, write down the price of each item on your list.  If you’re not sure how much an item is, or you need help figuring out what your budget should be, go online to the grocery store you’re going to and act like you’re doing the buy-online and pick-up in store. Figure out how much your groceries will be, and don’t go much over that budget.

5) Don’t Buy Name Brand Food!

Most name brand food is such a joke.  Almost twice as expensive as the generic brand, and the generic brand almost always tastes exactly the same.  It’s pointless to buy name brand food; you’re basically lighting money on fire.  One thing that I do buy name brand is cereal – I typically shop at Aldi, and their cereal is absolutely awful.  But other than cereal (and coffee), I buy everything generic brand.  It saves a TON of money.

Fun Money

One of my favorite pastimes is strolling through my neighborhood Target.  It’s great for my soul, bad for my bank account.  If someone let me loose in target with $1,000 I would most definitely go completely ham, but still wouldn’t have enough money to buy everything I wanted. That’s how much I love Target and everything inside of it.  Let me give some tips on how to spend your fun money frugally.

1) Go AFTER You Take Care of the Necessities!

As soon as you get paid, pay all of your bills that this week’s paycheck, OR do what I do, and have a separate bank account for your bills.  I added up all of my monthly bills together, divided it by the number of paychecks I get a month (2), and that gave me an amount that needed to come out of each of my paychecks to cover my monthly bills.  I have my direct deposit set up to put that amount of money in a separate bank account, that way I don’t have to worry about over spending. Everything is separate; I don’t overspend on fun things because my bill money is completely separate.  Don’t go shopping until all of life’s necessities are taken care of!

2) Again, Budget!

BEFORE you walk into Target or the mall (or whatever your favorite shopping place is) – make a budget and stick to it! Consider how much money you have, if you’re going to need to buy more groceries before your next paycheck, and how much longer you have to wait until your next paycheck.  I’m someone who likes to have a little cushion between paychecks, so I tend to splurge a little bit right when I get paid, and then again right before I get paid.  (And by splurge I don’t mean buy a new Gucci belt or a new pair of designer shoes – I mean I’ll buy a new shirt or go out for lunch at work, or even a Steak n’ Shake date with James.  I’m ballin’ on a budget; my luxuries and splurges aren’t much of that in some people’s eyes, but they’re fun for me and that’s all that matters.

There you have it! Those are my best tips for how to ball on a budget.  Have any tips yourself?  Leave them in the comments!

Much Love,

MCC

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