This year is my Year of the Budget and although I’m slowly starting to get my arse into gear with it, I am still not totally overjoyed by the ‘B’ word!
However I’ve learnt quite a lot about myself and my shopping habits in the past 8 weeks. I’ve even got a (tiny) bit excited every time I’ve saved some money (although it still takes all my willpower to not spent it on something nice as a reward for being so thrifty). It’s still not quite the same feeling as spending money, but hey……I’m trying.
Here’s a few things my budget has taught me (so far).
1. I’m a lazy shopper
Yep, it’s true. I am definitely fall into the category of just ‘buy it where it’s easiest’ instead of ‘where it’s cheapest’. I have started to force myself to price items before I buy them where I can. Although it’s sometimes been a real pain to go to three different grocery stores, for example, in one day it has genuinely cut my shopping bill down by about 10%.
2. Never grocery shop without a list
I have always been one to have my shopping list in my head instead of actually writing it down and it’s meant that I’d wonder the shops forgetting half of what I actually needed and buying a few extra random things that I didn’t need instead. Having an actual written down shopping list has not only saved me time (and a few trips to the shops) but has also meant that I’ve only bought what I’ve needed.
3. Meal planning really works
I always knew that it was good to meal plan, but I was just never constant enough with it. I’ve now set aside some time every week to make a meal plan and it’s worth it’s weight in gold – not only to save money (as I only buy what I need) but also time!
4. Quit the impulse buys
Now this one is probably the hardest one for me. I am the queen of impulse purchases! The best way I have found to help is to set myself a weekly budget. Transfer that exact amount every Friday into a separate account and I only spend from that. It’s literally come down to ‘if the money is not there then I can’t have it”. It’s definitely working, but I don’t like it much.
5. Write everything down – use apps/visual tools
I have started recording every bit of money I spend during the week by writing it down. It’s amazing how much money I used to waste on random everyday things like coffees etc. It’s been a real eye opener for me to do this and it’s really helped to stop money ‘leaking’ out of my account.
Since embarking on this budget journey I’ve played around with quite a few different Apps to help me and I’ve settled on three which I think are awesome.
A brilliant App for writing down everything you spend. It’s a bit like a to-do list except it’s for your finances. It’s really easy to use and it’s a great visual tool for you to get a good overview of where your money goes each month.
This App is super clever. It links up to your actual bank account. Mine is linked to my CommBank App and you can set up budgets on it. It will automatically calculate any money coming in and money going out of your account, direct debits etc and it also sends you little reminders to tell you how you’re doing.
This is a really cute App with lots of pretty graphs and charts full of colours to show you how your budget is tracking. It’s a little similar to the MY BUDGET app except that one just uses the numbers. I like to use both apps as I like to see what I’m spending my money on and not just how much I’ve spent.
Two months down and 10 to go. Wish me luck.
Do you have any great money saving tips for me?