6 Budget Tips for the New Year!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What are your New Year's Resolutions this year?
I have quite a few on my list, Number one of mine save money and reduce debt.
This year we've taken a close look at our budget and realized it could definitely use some tinkering. I'd would love to say, I always stay on budget and plan out every part of my life, but life does not always work out that way. Go with me through a journey as I figure it out.

Step one: How to write a budget.

Have you ever seen this show called Til Debt do Us Part? I love this show. Find clips of it here. The financial guru on this show, Gail Vaz-Oxlade, is pretty amazing she comes up with creative ways to save money.  She is pretty brash but her advise makes total sense.

Here's what I learned.

The Magic Jar Method-So I've tried to set a budget a bunch of times, each time failing but getting a little better with each failure. On Gail's website she discusses the Magic Jar Method. Basically you will put money for all your variable expenses, expenses that change  from month to month like eating out or groceries, go into jars. Each jar will be labeled for it's intended purpose, gas, entertainment, groceries, etc. You can only spend what's in each jar, you can fill the jars weekly or monthly. Here is her Magic Jars budget building tool.

Track your Progress- When you set a goal to save or to pay off a debt, track it. She suggest making something that lets you physically see what you are saving or paying off. You can use one of those goal thermometers, or a money tree. Add a leaf for each $100 dollars you save or remove a leaf as you pay down a debt.

Stop using your credit cards- If you have credit card debt, stop using your cards right now. Gail Suggest only having two credit cards max. When you have your cards paid off only use them if you can pay them off in full each month.

Stay on budget- To save money you MUST stay on budget, even if it means giving up some of the things you love, but can live without. The best part is that you don't have to give them up forever.

Pay in cash- It is very easy to overspend when you are using your debit card, pay in cash for everything. We've decided to pay in cash for everything except gas. We have small kids and I refuse to pack them up to go in and pay for gas. But, I will pay in cash for everything else.

Write it down- Gail suggest writing down everything you spend. We are going to write everything we spend for one month, to see how it goes. She suggest that when you write down where your money is going, you will be more cautious about how you spend it. Write down. "If you don't know where your money is going.... why bother working?"- Gail
Find out more about Gail here. She written several books, her latest one is Money Rules, I am so getting it!!

Do you have some money saving tips? Share them!
What are your New Year's Resolutions?

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