Budgeting for Beginners- 1o Easy Budget Tips Getting a hold of your money is a key step to having peace of mind. Great news! Budgeting for beginners isn’t that hard. There are simple things anyone can do to get their budgeting under control, even if you’ve never learned how to handle money. If, like me, you want to stay home with your children during their educational years, then getting your budget under control is super important. Let’s do this! 1. Learn how to budget from a Preschool Teacher! 10 Simple steps to Becoming Financially Whole This book introduces financial wholeness, the 10 aspects of your financial life that work together for your greatest good, your biggest benefit, and your richest life. Tiffany is a former preschool teacher and brilliant educator. This is the first budgeting overview that makes sense to my teacher brain. She covers the 10 Aspects of financial life and teaches you how to get each one under control. Like a great teacher, each chapter is laid out as a lesson plan and contains: Objective: basic overview of what you’ll learn The DO: actionable step by step lesson The Review: She circles back and makes sure you understand 2. Write it down! Budgets can be fancy computer programs, or simple budget journals. The idea of a budget is to understand, track and plan for every penny that flows into and out of your life. Even that five dollar bill you found in the empty parking lot yesterday. If you really want to save some serious cash, establish a budget and stick to it! My husband always wants our budget in a spreadsheet, since he’s computer saavy. But, if you’re a paper girl like me, you’ll want a pretty journal. It makes it easier to face budgeting when the journal itself is fun. 3. Teach your Kids about Budgeting The best way to learn something is to teach it to someone. Because you get to learn it twice. Even if you don’t understand all the areas involved in budgeting yet, teach your kids what you are learning. This will help set them up for their financial future! Plus, it counts as a math unit! Related: Printable Personal Financial Literacy Project for Kids 4. Food Spending Cook at home. Bummer, I know. But making meals from scratch is cost effective. Cooking in bulk and freezing meals can save you valuable time and money on those days that you barely have time to eat dinner, let alone prepare it!. Here are some freezer meal ideas! 5. Organize your recipes. Take the time to make a list of all the recipes you know how to make. (this is easier if you brainstorm with the whole family). If you are like I used to be, you may be staring at a pretty short list. Make it a goal to add 1-4 new recipes a month. I made this commitment when I was 24, and now have dozens and dozens of amazing family/budget friendly meals! 6. Make a 2 week- one month menu. Cooking according to a plan will save you. period. It saves you time and money. I make a bi-weekly menu every pay-period and stick pretty close to it. I love knowing what I am making for dinner before lunchtime. It is amazing how stressful it can be to look at a clock reading 5:00 and have no idea what’s for dinner! 7. Plan shopping around your menu. Again, it is all in the planning! I organize my shopping list according to my menu. I eat before I shop and I have dinner planned before I leave for the grocery store. (This saves me from ordering pizza after buying $300 worth of groceries!) Buy in Bulk, but compare prices. 8. Look for deals on clothing This is not a huge issue for me since I HATE shopping and have a bunch of boys who have no idea what a name brand is. I cut costs with clothing by purchasing everything I can from a second hand store. I have no issues buying used clothing and dress shoes for my boys while they are still growing! Ebay is an amazing place to get great deals and save hundreds if not thousands a year. 9. Clip Coupons There are coupons for almost everything! Many moms can shave their grocery bills in half by using coupons. Before you buy anything, hunt for coupons and discount codes! 10.Discount Gift Cards Did you know you can buy discounted gift cards online? At Raise.com you can search from a gazillion cards that others are offering for sale. You can save money by buying these cards online and then buying what you need with the gift card. This is a new discovery for me! Super exciting! 11. Electricity Unplug any appliances that are not in use. They drain electricity even when they are powered off. Turn off lights in unoccupied rooms. Better yet, install motion sensor switches! You can spend close to $150 a year simply by leaving your bedroom light on all day. Turn it off and buy a new outfit instead! More ways to lower your bill! 12. Evaluate Extra Spending. I make the personal choice to stay at home rather than require manicures and highlights. I do my own hair and nails. I also cut all my boys hair. If you add all that up, I am saving anywhere between $160-$300 a month because I choose to be the hairdresser/barber. Granted, I have all boys and I wear my hair long, but this is a conscious choice. 13. Cars We traded in our fun sports car for a gas efficient model. We now have a gas guzzler and a Prius. When the whole family needs to be there, we drive the Guzzler. When I go anywhere else, I drive the Prius. The difference is 14 miles to the gallon vs. 50. It’s a no brainer. The difference is spending $120 on a full tank or $30. We drive a Prius: Add it to your wishlist for later. Standing at the gas pump, a crotchety old man snorted as he glanced at my car while filling his truck. “I can tell you exactly how you vote by looking at your car.” I took the bait. “No, you can’t.” “YES, I CAN.” The poor guy had nothing better to do than to harass a woman pumping gas. As I finished filling my car and paid my $24.37 for a full tank, he kept pumping, and pumping and pumping… Sir, all you can tell from my car is that I like to spend my money in a different place other than at a gas station. My little car will go over 500 miles on that $24.37. His jaw dropped. How far will your truck go on your, I glanced at his rising cost, on that ‘over $73’? He shrunk. “Not far.” I smiled sincerely. “Don’t judge me based on my car. This was purely a wise economic decision for my family. Have a nice day!” And now we’re thinking about getting a new one. Which color should we get? Bonus tips Simple Living Quite honestly, we simply try to live within our means. That means we try to look at any new purchase with the “is is a need or a want” mentality. Technology My husband works from home and we homeschool. Technology is woven into our loves more than most, but we do try to make very wise careful decisions. Our four kids each have chrome books. But they are older and need the ability to work online. I create and sell teaching materials and use a Mac. I saved up to buy it. Bottom Line By making some very intentional choices, over time I have been blessed to stay at home with my children. These choices are not always easy, and often we choose to go without a want to satisfy the need. But it is worth it! Did you take your financial wholeness quiz? How about YOU? What are your favorite budgeting tips and tricks? Were you taught budgeting skills? Have you begun teaching your kids about money? Let’s do this!!