Saturday, August 4, 2012

Financial Fridays: Starting the first budget

Wow, has it really been over 2 weeks since my last post? I'm sorry about that! Life has been ridiculous lately, and I'll be posting on all of our adventures soon.

The last Financial Friday segment I started talking about budgets; today I'll share on how to start that first month's budget.

Before you run and hide, trust's easy! For the first month, all you do is keep track of every single penny you spend. I know we're a few days into August already, but try and guess to the best of your abilities how much you've spent already. You can keep track on paper, in a spreadsheet, or any budget program you may have accessible. There are also lots of free worksheets on the internet you can download or print out to use as well.

The best way to keep track is in categories, such as food, personal, medical, entertainment, gas, etc. Try to be as broad with the categories as you'd like. I actually combined my food, personal and cleaning products into one category so when I go to stores like Aldi or Wal-Mart I can put most if not all of the receipt into one category.

Easy, right? This step is going to be really important when we set up our first 'real' budget next month as it's going to give you approximately how much you spend each month so you'll know how much to allot in each category.

This week's Saving Money tip is dealing with coupons! I am NOT an extreme couponer. I do not use a lot of coupons in general, actually. We received some coupons for McDonald's in our local Pennysaver, and were really excited that they had a lot of buy one, get one free coupons for foods we actually like. But when we read the fine print, it pretty much said you can only use one coupon per customer per visit...also known as Pete takes one coupon, does an order, then I go through with another coupon and we still pay an arm and a leg for food.

But my husband was smart; we had spent the afternoon at my grandparent's house and were headed home around dinner. We were all hungry and exhausted, and we had the coupons with us. We stopped at McDonald's (a very rare treat for us!), and he asked if we could use more than one coupon. The cashier's resonse?

"As long as you have more than one person with you, you can use as many as you'd like!"

Really?!?!? Yay! We were able to get 3 Happy meals, 2 Quarter Pounders, 2 Large Fries, and 2 Frappes/smoothies for less than $15.

So make sure and ask if you have coupons like that! You may just save yourself a trip through the check out :)

1 comment:

  1. Another point - ask! If they say no, you're no worse off than you are now. But, if they say yes they you've scored!

    I like the idea of making the categories broad. That might work better for us.