Wednesday, 19 November 2014

8 Tips to Help You Stick to a Budget!

We're getting to the end of my husband's two week pay period. And since we use his paycheque to pay for groceries, things usually start getting pretty skimpy around here towards the end of the two weeks. It's a lot of searching the back of the pantry and the bottom of the freezer to use what we have. I find it kind of an exciting challenge! It's like the Food Network show "Chopped" - where they give the chefs a random basket of weird items like cotton candy, a rabbit's foot, rutabaga and coconut milk and they have to create a gourmet dish based on those ingredients. I tell ya, we've made some pretty interesting meals around here while we've been budgeting! If we needed to, we could take money from another area, but I hate messing up my system!

Here are 8 tips to help you stick to your budget.

1. Write it down

Every dollar should be accounted for and you should have each dollar spent on paper before you spend it for realz. You have a finite amount of money allocated to each area. Each dollar has a name. Each dollar has a purpose.

2. Step away from temptation

Are you a mall-aholic? A Starbucks fanatic? If these places throw you into a spending frenzy, just WALK AWAY. It's time to get serious with your budgeting and spending, so why tempt yourself unnecessarily?

3. Stick to your envelope system

If you want to find out how to use an cash envelope system, you can check out this post. By using cash for all your purchases, you really do have a lot more control over your spending, because if there isn't any money in the envelope for it, you shouldn't be buying it! At the beginning of each month, really think about the expenses you will have that month that may be different from previous months. Things like birthday parties, swimming lessons for the kids, Christmas, hockey equipment, etc. You get the picture. If you know there is an expense coming up in a few months, start budgeting now.

4. Only buy what's on your shopping list

This is not the time to try Kobe beef! Stick to the basics, make as much food from scratch as you can, and learn to shop using sales from flyers and coupons. And remember to take advantage of reward systems like PC Plus Points or Shopper's Drug Mart Optimum Points (in Canada).

5. Exercise at home

I discussed this in a previous post but last time I checked, you didn't need a gym membership to get healthy. Walking works, and you can get lots of FREE workouts on Youtube. Jillian Michael's has a bunch. This is my favourite one! Imagine how hot I'll be after doing this workout for a few years and paying off my debt? Rawr....

6. Visit the library

It's a free place to take your kids for a fun little outing, and you can go home with books, DVDs and audio books. And it doesn't cost anything. Plus reading is really good for your brain. It makes you way smarter than watching TV will. Blogs are great reading too ;)

7. Carpool

Have any people at work you can carpool with? I know sometimes we just want to rock out alone in our car to Iron Maiden but you can save so much money by splitting the cost of gas and parking fees. Just make sure you pick someone you actually like, and who has good hygiene.

8. Create a vision board

Some people think this is a little too much woo-woo for them but in my opinion, a vision board is a road map that everyone in the family can follow, and it helps remind them why they are making big sacrifices. Take a bunch of magazines and start pinning up the fun things you're family will be able to do once you've paid down debt, and have been able to save.

Have any great ideas to help us stick to a budget! Send me a comment. Please, oh please?


  1. We are also doing a cash budget. I like to make my lists and then look for coupons based on the products I need. I also believe buying in large quantities that you can see the savings. A lot of money upfront but lasts longer. Be careful when shopping at Costco. Sometimes it isn’t cheaper at all.
    Here are some great places to find printable coupons:
    - (Proctor & Gamble products)
    APPs that offer pay back coupons: Upload your receipt
    - Checkout 51 (yes you get a check…I did for $35)
    - Snap Saves
    APPs that offer at the till coupons: Show the cashier
    - Coupgon
    - Co-op (special offers like spend $100 and get $10 off when you give the PLU)

    We have been looking at ways to do things for free like community events. Another tip when going to a restaurant is order your meal and share with the kids. Not only does this save money but also helps portion control. Which will help you stay healthy. I have also been using my talents to make extra money like sewing projects and sell things that I don’t need/use anymore. That helps with de-cluttering as well!! I have been selling things and with the money I am buying Christmas gifts. This way I am not coming completely out of pocket and we can still have a quality Christmas.

    Happy Saving!!

  2. Great tips! Thanks for sharing. I love getting other people's ideas.