Tips on Budget Planning and Saving Money

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Budgeting will identify how you spend your money

Deciding to consolidate your debts is an excellent choice for many individuals, but making that decision is only the first step, learning how to manage your finances is the next step in ultimately becoming debt
free. Budget planning can help you identify how you spend your money and where you may be over spending. The goal in preparing a budget is to insure that your monthly expenses do not exceed your monthly income.

Below are some tips to assist you in starting off the New year on the right financial foot:

Tips on Budgeting

  1. Write down your total monthly net income. Include all sources of income such as, salary, child support, pension, etc. Next, list all your monthly expenses, including your house or rent payment, food, gas, utilities, credit card payments, etc. Then subtract your monthly expenses from your total monthly income.
  2. Look for areas where you can cut back and save some money.
  3. Use the information to set a budget for yourself. Include approximately 5% to 10% for savings.
  4. Review your budget on a monthly basis to determine how things are going. You may discover an area where your are overspending and can then adjust it accordingly.

Tips on Saving Money

  1. Cut back home energy consumption by turning off lights when you are not using them and placing an air conditioner on a timer. You can also remove unnecessary phone options to cut down costs. Contact your local utility service providers and ask about their budgeting plans and programs to help you manage these expenses.
  2. Shop at outlet or wholesale clubs. When you do shop, use lists to avoid impulse purchases.
  3. Try bringing your lunch to work instead of having to buy every day.

Money Ning thoughts: Great advice. How many of these do you do already? I think I will implement the “list” advice for my wife so we don’t buy too much immediately.

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Carina Plant says:

    While these are all good tips, especially the budgeting part, I have personally found it a struggle. Although there has been one way for me personally that has been useful and that is through using Referral Schemes with friends and family. The site Referral Codes has been my personal favourite if anyone is interested in saving money via Referral programmes.

  • Conrad says:

    For me this was wery helpful to better managing my budget! First i started counting cost of my car and planning expenses. This tips realy works 🙂

  • Alex Truedman says:

    Let’s say getting into overwhelming debt is a bad idea in the first place, even though in our culture consuming is still a predominant idea of how to spend our time (think about it, we spend time to make money to consume), we should be more attentive to the resources we use to uphold our habits. Giving up on overspending is the best start, like stated in the article: first, you need to realize how much you can actually afford considering all the debt you already have and all the ongoing issues, which convert you into an indebted consumer. Here’s the point: if you want to learn how to merge you needs into your budget and make it effectively, you need to learn how to think big. Not only your monthly expenses, but overall plan, for example, how much you need to save for the education of your kids, even if you don’t have kids yet, or when you want to go to Australia to visit your little sister and how much you need to implement this travelling plan. Moreover, managing your personal finances is stressed and should be connected to your social position: how you distribute your consumption, how you save on utilities to add into environmental program, how you deal with domestic issues and help your close ones to uphold their households. These are the points to take into consideration, and not only your bills or grocery lists.

  • J P Soso says:

    I am a baby boomer who is 4 -5 years from retiring. I’ve lived on a budget and save for all the major and minor events for many years. I know that when I retire, I will continue to live on a a budget. However, many of my friends who have already retired are living on their retirement income from check-to-check. Can you write about the importance of budgeting in retirement and the importance of still having an emergency savings when you are no longer working? My friends are an example of what I don’t want to do when I retire.

  • lynda says:

    We have done many things to cut expenses, including cutting back to no coffee. We don’t go out to eat very often. We have a freezer to use for sales. We eat all fresh foods, not prepared mixes and packages. I have a pantry inventory system so I don’t buy things we don’t need. I don’t go to the grocery store very often, and we have cut back spending in all areas. I call the cell phone company almost monthly because they are always making mistakes, I saved $55 last month because of that error. I have cut the cable bill in half and when the contract is up in September, we will no longer have cable.

    We have a lot of debt, but I don’t focus on that. I used to work in accounting offices and have been an office manager many times. It was easy to manage the money in those places. At home you tend to have more emotions over finances. I stopped that, I look at our finances as if I am running a corporation.

    I have a very complex spreadsheet that encompasses everything about our finances. I can tell how much we owe, what we owed the previous month, the interest rates, the pay-off dates, etc. It includes monthly expenses, quarterly and yearly expenses. I have a section to record every penny we spend every month, whether through the bank accounts or credit cards. I have learned through this sheet to budget better, to reduce spending, to find cheaper expenses. We have monthly expenses set up on some of our credit cards because we don’t want to use debit cards for those. Using this system, I prepay those expenses into the accounts so we don’t get further behind. I’m also trying to redirect those credit card expenses on the travel card to be able to get points for travel.

    Also, we do have a family checking and multiple savings accounts, but we each individually have an account for the monthly amounts we have budgeted for our own use. This has worked well for us. We can spend it or save it for something we want.

    We have hope now. This year we will have several accounts paid off, and we can redirect that money to the other debts.

    • Katie K. says:

      Awesome job, Lynda! It sounds like you are well on your way to getting that debt paid off! Way to establish good habits. Keep it up! 🙂

  • Kiwikid says:

    All well and good but comes to nought if your other half won’t come to the party. Currently medically unable to work. Get a social welfare benefit for “both” of us plus wife works part time. Anything she earns over a certain limit means that every dollar over that limit is abated 70 cents, so she ends up working for 30 cents, just not worth it. But, and this is not the first time, whenever we get into an unemployment situation she goes in denial and starts spending up large. She is planning on going overseas next year come hell or high water. If we lose the house tough sh*t! Unbelievable attitude but that’s the way it is.

    • JJ says:

      Kiwikid: sir, I don’t care to see the sh word you blazed out in public; but I do feel really bad for you. I don’t know if this helps, but if you tried to sit down with her and talk over your financial situation plainly and realistically, it might get her to see the trouble with what she’s doing. Try to be calm about it, though. I know it’s maddening, and it worries you very much. It probably makes you want to blow your top at her. I know it would me if I were married to somebody like that. It won’t help, though; I found that out. Just tell her in plain words what you know will result from her actions, and ask her if she wants to see that happen. “Doesn’t it matter to you that there’s a very good chance we can lose the house if you don’t stop this?” Or something along those lines. I’ll pray for you, sir.

  • Dollars Not Debt says:

    I have been following Dave Ramsey’s plan for about 2 years and I will be 100% debt free in August of 2012. House and everything. The plan works–but only if you are focused and have self-control. I will have paid off a total of $100K in the four years. I talk about my path to debt freedom in my blog.

    Dollars Not Debt

  • Richard Cox says:

    I found this article usueful especially the budgeting tips. Just to add my thoughts about the lunch thing….. I make my own lunch most days and it saves a bundle, all these little sacrifices to add up in the long run.

  • Andrew @ Financial Services says:

    Bringing your own food to work is definitely a fast cash saver (not unless work provides you with free food). Great tips, I’m sure anyone who follows these will surely see a tangible improvement on their savings.

  • Debt Consolidation Regina says:

    This is great article enlisting some of the basic points each individual should keep in mind while tracking their budget. Nowadays, there are many online personal finance tools that can help people track their daily expenses and get a better idea about their savings.

  • deannashea says:

    These are all very helpful. Thanks. By the way, just wanna add up something. It is also very important that we become very keen with the costs that phone companies are charging us. Using free directory assistance can help us cut off those charges. You can try 1-800-411-SAVE. It’s absolutely free. They have live and friendly agents that give out very accurate phone listings. You won’t regret trying it. You can save more than a dollar per call.. Imagine how much you can keep. Remember the number 1-800-411-7283.

  • luz says:

    I agree with those you mentioned above because you can easily track back with your expenses for the month.

  • Asia'h Epperson says:

    My kids use to leave the lights on all the time and I’d go along behind them turning them off. No matter what punishment they received, they just couldn’t seem to “remember” to turn out the lights (and turn off the water). That is, until I started deducted money from their allowance each time they left the lights on or the water running.

    Funny, they have no problem remembering now.

  • Ann says:

    At one time, I was almost OCD about menu planning and grocery shopping lists. I’ve slacked off that but really need to be back in the habit again. I have a great little shopping list program on my computer that keeps a running tally of the items on my “to get” list so I know when I’m reaching my grocery shopping limit.

  • Kacper says:

    Recently I started bringing own lunch to work. So far I have great results – save quite some money, if you summurize for longer period of time.

  • Mike Huang says:

    I personally think it is difficult to shop at warehouses or outlets. They’re usually very far from home and they sell in bulk. I know you mentioned that you can split the bulk items, but it isn’t that easy 🙁


  • Eric says:

    I have never understood people at work going out for lunch. It seems to be a time and money sink. I eat PowerBars for lunch ;^)

    In regards to energy consumption: Check all your water faucets for leaks. I had a leaky faucet, but didn’t worry about it until I got a $250 natural gas bill (I have a gas water heater). Considering I kept my house at a slightly above meat-locker temperature, I was scratching my head for a little while, but then figured out it was the faucet leaking HOT water. Fixed it and had an $80 gas bill the next month.

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