Tag Archives: eliminate unnecessary spending

Ballin’ on a Budget Mini Tips

ten ballin' on a budget mini tips

I have a whole series on the blog that highlights strategies for BALLIN’ ON A BUDGET by way of ditching — ie) ditch the bare cupboards, ditch the gym membership, etc. Today, I’d like to build on this BALLIN’ ON A BUDGET theme with a new series. My favorite budget mini tips. The last series included posts that proposed something for all of us to ditch, in order to free up line items on our budgets, and offered a 4 week plan on how to implement. These mini tips are things you can implement RIGHT NOW. Like, straight away, as soon as you read them!

Whether you’re actively pinching pennies or simply want to re-direct some of those pennies to better serve you, this series is for you!

Here are the first 10 MINI TIPS

1. Automate Payments and Savings Whenever Possible

You KNOW I love a “set it and forget it” option. If you’re able, schedule your bills so that payments are automated. This will save you time, but it will also save you from accidentally incurring any late fees. Similarly, set up a fixed amount that will come out of your paychecks and get whisked away right into your savings account.

2. Price Compare with Amazon

A lot of household and personal care items are available on Amazon. Before impulse purchasing at the grocery or drug store, pop on that smart phone and check out pricing on Amazon. It’s a 30 second search that could save you quite a few bucks. And if you have Prime, you’ll have your items lickety-split anyways.

3. Find Ways to Winterize Your Home

If you live in an area that actually sees seasons, do a little research about how to best keep the heat in and the cold out. Every house and apartment is different so do a quick walk around your space looking for ways to winterize. Performing an audit on your home each Autumn can help you devise a plan for the coming Winter and allow you to purchase certain items before it gets too chilly.

4. Incorporate Affordable Recipes You Love to Eat 

If you stumble upon a meal you’ve made yourself that was both, super budget friendly AND delicious, don’t just leave it as a one off! Work that sucker into your meal rotation. Even if you don’t meal plan (which if you’re trying to save money you totally should!), you can still choose to have the meal every week or every other week. That is, until you get sick of it and have to find a new “cheap meets yummy” favorite…

5. Shop the Produce Section

Everyone knows, if you’re trying to eat healthy, you’ve gotta focus your grocery shopping efforts on the periphery of the store. If you’re ballin’ on a budget, you need to spend the majority of your time in the produce section. Start in this section, get all the deals you can, and then build out your buggy from the rest of the departments.

6. Ask for Cheaper Rates

My belief is that it never hurts to ask for what you want. And if you’re ballin’ on a budget, you want things to be cheaper. Ask for student rates, AAA discounts, special deals, etc. When your cell phone bill goes up, call and see what can be done. The worst that can happen is you get told no.

7. Have a “Buy Price”

Create a little cheat sheet listing food and household items that you like to have in stock. Then, do some research to determine the best sale prices for these items in your area. These are their buy prices. Then, when you’re checking out a store’s circular or see an item on sale, you can refer back to your sheet to see if it’s the right price to stock up.

8. Use Open Source Software

There are so many options out there. If a software isn’t necessary for your work, look into the free versions before plunking down your credit card.

9. Feed Your Freezer

If you double one meal a week and stick the extra servings in the freezer, you will have a plethora of ready-to-go options in no time! These “defrost and heat” meals are perfect for busy (or lazy) nights and will keep you from hitting up a restaurant or take out option.

10. Buy Only What You Need at the Grocery

This hearkens back to the importance of a meal plan, but at the very least, attack your grocery shopping with a PLAN. Make a list, check it twice, and STICK TO IT.

Thanks so much for reading! I know tons of you have your own favorite budget tips – what other advice can you share? On the other end, what aspects of budgeting do you find most difficult? 

P.S. My top tips on getting control of debt.

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Ballin’ on a Budget–Ditch the “Here and There” Purchasing

Today, I’d like to continue a favorite series on the blog! One that highlights easy strategies for BALLIN’ ON A BUDGET. Each month, I’m proposing something for all of us to ditch in order to free up some line items on our budgets with values that can go to more practical expenditures like paying down on debt and saving for special occasions. (You can catch up on last month’s suggestions HERE.) Whether you’re actively pinching pennies or simply want to re-direct some of those pennies to better serve you, this series is for you! So, let’s get started…

mall escalator

Ballin’ on a Budget means being super mindful with your spending habits. It’s not possible to stop spending all together so taking time to separate wants from needs can curb the flow of dollah bills from your bank account. However, it’s easy to get in the habit of “here and there” spending. Buying things as needed or when the inkling for an item creeps up. Unfortunately, this eliminates that all important meditation on whether the purchase is a crucial one, turning mindfulness into mindlessness. Eliminating mindless spending will take work but it’s possible! Here’s our plan for the next 4 weeks…

Week 1. Track your spending. 

If you’re looking to make major lifestyle changes, it’s important to identify what’s going on in the status quo. Set aside a week to write down every single thing you spend money on. This might be a little bit nerve-wracking or even a little bit annoying (“Hold on, I gotta document this latte!”) but it’s just seven days and it has the potential to be a really eye opening experience. Grab a notebook (or the Notes app in your phone, whatever works) and get to jottin’!

Week 2. Identify spending categories. 

Now that you have a week’s worth of spending habits, it’s time to do a little analyzing. If you like charts, spreadsheets, and data of any kind (*raises hand*) you may enjoy this step just enough to soften the blow of “Holy Shit, I used my debit card HOW many times?!” Read over your list of expenses and identify a few major spending categories of tangible items. Think: Groceries, Clothes, Bath/Body/Wellness, Home Necessities, Gifts, etc. Other line items; like Bills, Entertainment, Eating Out, are a topic for another day. Break things down in whatever way works best for you visually. Going through your money diary with color coordinated highlighters, Excel spreadsheet, handwritten lists with category headings, you get the gist. This is a great step to return to whenever you need to hit the reset button on your spending.

produce section

Week 3. Set up a schedule for when to shop. 

Next, you’ll translate those categories into a shopping schedule based on their importance and necessary frequency. If you stopped by an expensive city-market to pick up a few groceries every evening on your way home from work, try wrangling all your food for the week on 1-2 scheduled days. Did you run out of shampoo mid-week and have to run to CVS, where you also grabbed nail polish and a stack of individually packaged face masks? See if you can make bath and body product purchases a weekend thing. Keep a list of the items you need (or think you’ll need). Whenever I do this I always end up whittling down the list because I’ve included things that weren’t actually needed. By the time the weekend trip rolls around and I’ve got to part with a lump of cash, instead of spaced out over the course of many shopping trips, I tighten the belt…or, errh, wallet. Play around with how often you need shopping trips to occur based on the category. Could you buy household goods (like cleaning and paper products) once a month? Can you shop for new clothes just once a quarter? It’s totally up to you!

Week 4. Find a day to treat yourself. 

Even when you’re Ballin’ on a Budget I think it’s a-okay to splurge once and a while. Total deprivation and super strict purse-strings are a recipe for disaster. And in my experience, going that route just isn’t sustainable. So, one little trick I’ve grown to love? Plan when you’re going to treat yourself! Look back over your week of spending or just think about what you often find yourself impulse buying. A few years ago, when I was trying to pay off a bunch of debt and actively attempting the Ballin’ on a Budget lifestyle in order to do so, my go-to splurge was magazines. I LOVE magazines. And they’re fairly cheap reading material! But I was impulse buying them way too often. So, I decided instead that I would treat myself to a new magazine once a month. I picked a day of the month (like the 24th or the 5th) so that I would remember and I stuck to the routine. Weirdly, it became SO much more satisfying. I looked forward to the treat so much more because it WAS a treat, not just a mindless purchase. I took great care in picking one out (opting for a different one each time ) and really savored the experience of reading it. You could do something similar with any number of things! A new makeup item, fun stationery, a little plant for your porch, a vinyl record, GO WILD!

journal display

Resources:

Week 1 —

How to track your spending (and why you should)

Keep a Money Diary and Become Better With Your Spending

Financial Planning in a Bullet Journal

Week 2 —

How to Track & Analyze Spending

Ways to Categorize Your Spending

Week 3 —

The Only Grocery Shopping List You’ll Ever Need

Best Time to Buy Things

Week 4 —

Why You Should Splurge Sometimes

Do you have your own tips or resources for eliminating “here and there” spending? Is this an area of your budget that you struggle with? Do you think following these weekly steps could help? Let’s chat in the comments below!

And tune in next month when we tackle fast fashion!