Thursday, December 29, 2016

BUDGET BOOTCAMP

Did you overspend this month? Feeling a little post-Christmas buyer's remorse? If so, this post is for you! The new year is a great time to start fresh, and one of the best ways to improve your temporal self-reliance is through budgeting and finance. These simple tips can help you get back on track.

In the next few days, make a list of all of your monthly and long-term expenses including food, clothing, education expenses, transportation costs, mortgage payments/rent, medical expenses and insurance premiums, retirement costs, savings, tithing, fast offerings and debt. Find out how much you spend. Then take a look at your income. Does it match up? If you're spending more than you make, it's time to head to budget bootcamp and find a way to fix the problem by increasing your income or decreasing your expenditures. 

The most realistic way to fix the finances is by decreasing the amount of money you spend. Here are a few simple ways to decrease costs:

  • Rule #1: Always pay your tithing and fast offerings first!
  • Find items you already own that you can sell to pay off debts
  • Clip the credit cards and use cash only
  • Create a weekly meal plan and stick to it
  • Grocery shop only once a week and make a list of everything you need before you shop
  • Make meals in advance to avoid the impulse to eat out
  • Pack a lunch from home instead of going out to eat
  • Bake your own bread--it only costs about $.36 a loaf when you bake it yourself!
  • Eat your food storage and make food from scratch--basic food storage items like rice, beans, oats, wheat and potatoes cost less than pre-made or pre-packaged foods
  • Invite friends over for potluck instead of meeting at a restaurant
  • Clip coupons and buy items on sale
  • Buy in bulk and buy generic 
  • Pick your own fruit--so many people have fruit they don't want to pick. Offer to take it off their hands so they don't have to clean up the mess.
  • Freeze, can or dehydrate extra produce or meat
  • Avoid eating meat and use cheaper, vegetarian sources of protein like beans
  • Stop buying bottled water and use refillable bottles instead
  • Wait a week to purchase items you think you want to avoid impulse buys
  • Combine trips to save gas and time
  • Walk instead of drive
  • Carpool or use public transportation
  • Ditch the gym membership and run outside or do free workouts online
  • Get rid of your land line 
  • Purchase a cheaper phone with a simpler, less expensive data plan
  • Cancel the cable and watch TV with an antenna
  • Keep all of your spare change in a jar and cash it in when it's full
  • Save on utility costs by making your home more energy efficient (turn off lights, unplug appliances, shut vents and doors in rooms that aren't being used, check seals in doors and windows to block any unwanted airflow)
  • Check out books and movies from the library for free instead of paying for entertainment
  • Find ways to repurpose clothing and other household items
  • Cut back on hair cuts and salon treatments, or learn how to do it from home 
  • Rent out a room if you have one
  • Trade skills with a friend (hair cuts for babysitting, photography for car maintenance)
  • Start a side business from home (mow lawns, walk dogs, babysitting)
  • Drink water--not only will this help you save on your bottomline, but it will also improve your waistline
  • Stay away from Station Park, Target, Cabella's, Amazon, or any of your favorite temptations
  • Fast more than once a month
  • Pray for help to be a good steward of your finances, to curb your appetite and to help you stick to your financial goals
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