Category Archives: Budget

Spending $100 Per Person On Groceries | Eating Out Budget | Budget Q&A

Do we really spend $100 per person on groceries, What is our eating out budget, Do we meal plan every night, What do we order from Amazon to save money, budget questions, budget Q&A, meredith rines, merelynne

We have been enjoying the cooler temps that have started to reach Southeast Missouri.  My family and I have played at the park, went for walks, and enjoyed every moment outside.  So we’ll be headed to the pumpkin patch to play in the kidzone (well our son will play) and to make our way through the corn maze.  I tried talking J into going last weekend, but he turned me down.  Apparently it just didn’t feel enough like fall to him.  I guess I would have to agree, but I so love the pumpkin patch!

I wanted to pop in and share with you my first attempt at a budget Q&A.  I have received a few emails, messages, texts and DM’s from readers asking a few questions.  So I sat down to answer your questions that seem to surround about groceries, order supplies for our family and eating out.  I am going deep in to each question to make sure I get it all covered.  Let’s. Do. This.

Here are the questions I’m answering just for you – you can check the time stamp to fast forward to what you’re interested in:

Do we really spend $100 per person on groceries each month? 0:37

How much is our eating out budget for the month? 3:47

Do we meal plan every night? 9:07

What do we order from Amazon? 11:57

You can watch over on youtube or below, but make sure to keep reading for more helpful tips.

How To Save On Groceries?

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How To Set Your Perfect Grocery Budget

How To Set The Perfect Grocery Budget, how to set your budget, grocery budget help

What do we order from Amazon each month?

amazon is mom's best friend

Meal Plan To Save Money

how i meal plan, free meal planner template

 

Where to Find Work Clothes on a Budget

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The other day my Dad and I were talking about office presentation.  He noticed that I had been trying harder to dress nicer while at work (thank you losing weight and feeling more confident!).  He started sharing with me how his view of dress has changed over the years.  Now don’t get me wrong my Dad still dresses super nice at work – suit, tie or sports coat every single day.  However, I remember when I was younger he was always to dressed to the top.  He never left the house without his suit, tie and matching jacket on.  Nowadays he’s a bit more relaxed with a sports coat (ha!).  

Not that losing weight is the key to feeling confident, but when you’re very self conscious losing just a little bit of weight makes a huge difference. 

Anyways…

I told him I was trying harder because I wanted to be taken more seriously.  I understood that as a young woman in the financial services field I needed to look like I can handle our clients’ needs.  And my Dad completely agreed.  He remembered when he was first starting out, he was younger and knew that first impressions meant a lot.  So though his season in the office has shifted, mine is just getting started.  

So here I am trying harder.  I want to dress with the confidence I have to handle our clients.  And it’s not easy when you wake up exhausted with a toddler that barely slept.  The last thing you want to do is iron your clothes, but that’s the one thing you need to be doing.  So I’ve been investing in better, high quality pieces to make getting ready more fun and easier.  

When I say investing… I mean buying great clothes at killer deals.  And I want to share my secrets with you.  Lately I’ve been trying to share with you my daily work outfits over on my Instagram Stories.  I try to stick to a pretty tight budget when it comes to clothes, which means I have to take excellent care of them so they last longer.

I started thinking there might be a lot of you who are in similar boats as me – you work in a professional office and need to dress to impress.  However, you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg to get good deals.  

Here are my favorite go-to places:

Kohls.

I love, love, love Kohl’s.  I get about 80% of my clothes here.  They are always having a sale or offer free shipping online.  So what I usually do is I head over to Ebates (you can join by using my referral link here) then connect to the Kohl’s website.  Ebates will automatically enter in any coupons they can find, but I still like to Google codes to make sure I’m getting the best deal.  I also try to time it right so that I qualify for Kohl’s Cash.  That way I can use the cash for other items I need later on or on some birthday gifts (to help with our gift budget) for family.  I typically ask for gift cards for Christmas and birthday so I can use those towards any new clothes.  

Target.

My next favorite place to score great deals is Target.  Again, I prefer to shop online so I am always using my Ebates (plus the closest Target is over an hour away!).  If you play your cards right you can time your visits to the store or online with their markdown schedule.  If I’m in an area to actually go in-store then I try to time it on Tuesdays either late morning or early afternoon.  That way staff has had a chance to start the markdowns and they will be scanning the new lower prices.  

I also purchase a lot of our diapers from Target (they have a similar subscribe & save feature like Amazon offers).  Our little guy seems to do better with the Up and Up brand diapers, so I try to buy those the majority of time.  Target will offer a deal where if you spend $50 or $75 in diapers then you get a gift card back.  So I time it to order a few cases of diapers (we go through once case a month) at at time when they go on sale to score a gift card.  Then I use that gift card to help buy any new clothes I need for work.

Walmart.

I know, I know… Walmart?  Yep!  It’s true.  I have found some great blouses and sweaters at Walmart.  I haven’t really been able to find any pants that fit me too well (my legs are super short!), but the blouses are great.  You can find a great top for a steal there.  Since we have a Super Center in town I typically do all of my shopping in-person, which makes it a lot easier.  I would recommend trying pieces on before checking out (or be okay with returning items).  Sometimes their sizing isn’t as accurate or consistent, but that doesn’t bother me too much.  

Keep Pieces Simple.

This isn’t really a store, but it’s a concept.  I love colors, but I’m not big on patterns.  So by sticking to solid colors -either bright, pastels, or dark then I can easily mix-and-match pieces together.  A pair of black pants goes with just about anything; however, a pair of patterned blue floral pants are harder to pair blouses with.  My big tip is just to keep your work pieces more simple so you can pair them with different items to give the illusion of a bigger wardrobe.

How To Save Money On Date Night

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Do you date your spouse?  If not, you should really consider giving it a try.  I have noticed a huge difference in our attitude towards one another just by going on a few dates here and there (without the kiddo).  Dating your spouse can really help keep your marriage strong and the two of you connected.  You can lose tough with each other with the world swirling by with play dates, work functions, grocery shopping, preparing meals, laundry, cleaning, errands, and so on.  It’s easy to just become roommates who are more like partners running a business then two people who fell in love.  

By making a commitment to date one another you’re declaring the love you have is still strong.  You’re making your relationship a priority, which will show your children just what a healthy marriage looks like.  But there are a few ground rules for a great date night – no financial talk (yes I’m a huge fan of money dates, but those are different then these types of dates), don’t talk about other household responsibilities, try to keep the talk about issues with your children to a minimum.  Don’t get me wrong I love talking about my little kid as much as the next mom, but I try not to talk about his eating, sleeping, or pooping habits on date night.

With all this talk of dating your spouse, you’re probably wondering how to budget for it.  Well there are many different ways to build a date night each week or twice a month into your budget.  We do it by taking money from our eating out fund, which means we have a date night every two weeks (sometimes more and sometimes less).  We have found a few ways to save money on date night by following these simple tips:

Use gift cards.  

We stockpile our gift cards to use just for date night, which means we usually get to go to a restaurant that we normally wouldn’t eat at.  It’s a great way to save a lot of money.  My work gives gift cards away once a month for hitting your target, which is how we get majority of our cards.  But we also pay attention to giveaways and door prizes that local businesses offer.  Another great way is to ask for gift cards from family for birthdays or Christmas.  

When using a gift card, please keep in mind that you will have to leave a tip for the staff.  Just bring some cash with you so you can easily take care of it or you can always order the food to-go and then head to the local park for a picnic.

Don’t be afraid of coupons.  

Keep your weekly newspaper and mailings that have restaurant coupons.  Date night doesn’t have to be a some fancy place.  All you need is some food or entertainment and a place for just the two of you.  Remember – there is no shame in the coupon game!

Have a date night at home.

One of our favorite things to do is drop off our little guy with my parents then have a nice quiet evening at home.  We pile on the couch, we watch movies that we would never get through when our toddler is around and we cook dinner together (or use our gift cards to pick up dinner).  

If your like us and don’t have a list of babysitters to call for date night, then swap out with a friend.  More than likely you trust your friend to watch your little ones and they trust you.  So don’t be afraid to ask them to watch your kids in exchange for you watching theirs.  They probably won’t mind and they would love the idea of having a free night with a reliable babysitter.  

I wanted to share with you our list of favorite date night ideas, too.  Check it out:

Dinner out
Dinner to go at the local park
Date night at home watching movies
Going window shopping
Driving around looking at holiday decorations
Game night at home
Grilling dinner and lighting our backyard fire pit
Going to a local theater production

What are some of your favorite ways to save money on date night ideas?

What We Use Our Credit Card Reward Points On

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When you think of budget tools most people do not think about credit cards.  Actually credit cards are the last thing that comes to mind for so many of us.  There is a reason for it too – it’s too easy to spend too much using a credit card.  

I have mentioned before, but it doesn’t hurt to say it again.  You should not use a credit card if you have any problems with debt or if you do not have the will power to say no.  For the longest time we did not use a credit card because we didn’t feel like we were financially responsible enough for one.  We were too busy trying to pay off our individual cards that we racked up debt on from before we were married, so when we finally got those paid off the last thing we wanted was another one.  

After a few years of no credit card, we decided to give one a try.  We agreed to only use it for gas and groceries.  Once we were able to stick to our monthly budget for our groceries, it made using a credit card a lot more feasible.

I also researched different cards available to find one with the best reward points.  I had a vision of letting our reward points grow so we can turn them in for cash back.  Then we can use that cash to help our budget.  It has worked out great!  

Now, before I share with you what we use our reward points on I want to have an honest conversation.  Credit cards work for some, but not everyone – and that’s okay.  When you’re in the trenches of paying down debt then having a credit card can be used as a crutch.  It can actually hold you back.  

You can be working so hard on paying down one bill, but at the same time spending too much on your credit card without realizing it.  It’s too easy to swipe a card when you’re unsure of your bank balance.  So before even considering a credit card, you need to make sure your budget can handle it.  You need to make sure you can handle it.  

Once you have your budget ready and your financial mindset focused then you need to do your research.  You need to think of what you want this credit card to be used for.  Do you want to use it only when traveling?  Do you want to use it when you’re grocery shopping?  Do you only want to pull it out when online shopping?  Whatever your goal is for your credit card is fine, but you need to have a spending vision for it.  

Having a vision of how you will use the credit card will help you from overspending on it.  Since we use it for gas and groceries then we understand that it’s off limits for other purchases like eating out, going to the movies, buying clothes, and so on.  

So many people talk about needing a credit card for emergencies.  Like “what happens if I’m traveling and I need to buy a plane ticket?”  or “What if I have to buy a tire while I’m out of town and my debit card won’t go through for the high amount?”  Credit cards are even used as a cushion between paydays for a lot of Americans.

And that’s scary.

We know we shouldn’t use our credit card unless we have the money in our account right then and there to pay it off, but yet, we swipe it anyway.  I want you to avoid making those mistakes, so make sure you have your budget ready, your mindset ready and the vision of your spending in focus.  

Here are some areas you can use your reward points on:

You can use it for birthday gifts

You can use it for the slush fund, which means the fun stuff you want to do with your family.  Like trips to the zoo, overnight trips, and days at the water park.  

You can use it for Christmas gifts, which is what we use our points for.  

Around the middle of November we cash in our reward points and transfer the cash to our bank account.  Then we earmark that money to use for Christmas presents.  We pride ourselves on sticking to a pretty tight budget for Christmas.  Using our credit card reward points is one way we can do it.  

We use the same concept I talked about in a previous post to set a budget for each person in our family.  After the budget is set then we brainstorm gift ideas.  On Black Friday and Cyber Monday I do most (if not all) of our shopping online.  I even use our Ebates accounts (which I love) when I do online shopping to help build even more cash back.

If you have a credit card, what do you use your reward points on?

How Much to Spend on Birthdays

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Creating a budget for all the birthdays in your life can be hard.  There are so many questions – Do we need to buy them a gift?  Did they get us a gift?  How much should we spend?  Should we spend the same on everyone?  

It can get complicated, but I want to share with you a simple rule we live by that has helped us a lot!  We have classified everyone in our family and our close friends into groups. Each group has a specific budget to use.  If someone is in the group then that’s how much we spend on them.  

The reason we created this budget system for birthdays was to make sure everything was equal.  It was important to us to make sure we treated my family the same as we treated my husband’s family.  Now before I get into it, I do want to have a disclaimer:

This budget idea is a just a suggestion.  It may not work the exact same for your family as it does for ours – and that’s okay. You also need to have the wisdom to know it’s okay to spend more or less for a specific person.  For a big birthday then we might spend a bit more than usual.  If we find a really good deal then we spend less.  For instance a few years ago J and I (along with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law) spent more for J’s Dad.  We bought NASCAR tickets for him and at the same time we bought a ticket for J so he could go with him.  That was an exception to our budget rule.  We saved more money and gave ourselves permission to spend more, and it was awesome.  Now we don’t splurge on everyone, which is why we get to do it every once in awhile.  

Again, these are just guidelines for your budget.  You can spend less or you can spend more depending on the space you have in your budget.   

Spouse – $30 each
Children – $30 each
Parents – $25 each
Siblings – $20 each
Nieces and Nephews – $15 each
Friends – $15 each
Children’s Friends – $15 each
Others – $10 each

A great way to be prepared for birthdays is to treat them as a sinking fund.  Make a list of everyone you buy gifts for, how much you budget to spend and then add it up.  Take that total and divide by 12.  That’s how much you need to be putting back each month to afford birthday gifts.  

For example, let’s say you have 15 people you need to buy for through out the year.  This includes spouse, kids, parents, sisters, nephews and nieces, coworkers, friends, and birthday parties that your kids will go to.  You take the amount for each category, let’s say equals $350 for the year.  You would divide $350 by 12 months to get about $30.00.  You need to be saving $30.00 each month into a separate account or earmark it in your checking so you can buy gifts.

Here’s what our family’s birthday budget looks like:

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We spend about $475 a year on birthday gifts. This means we save $39.60 each month to cover everyone’s birthday.  Now our family is kind of big.  J has 2 brothers and a sister while I have one sister.  They are all married (or in serious relationships) and some have kids.  We have also come to an agreement to skip buying larger gifts for each other.  We might spend $10 on one another so we can have a little more wiggle room in our birthday budget.

Again, I want to be fully honest here.  If I can find a great gift for less than my budget then I call that a win.  I don’t have to spend my budgeted amount.  I just try not to spend more than my budget. 

We even use these budget amounts for Christmas gifts, too.  I have a great way to help with our Christmas budget and I plan on doing it again this year.  It has really streamlined everything.

Changing My Wealth Mindset

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What is your wealth mindset?

For so many the first thing that pops in their head is money.  And I was one of those people.  Being wealthy used to mean 

Wealth is so much more than the money you spend on stuff.  The stuff that fills your house and the toys in your garage doesn’t mean you’re wealthy.  I had this realization not that long ago when I was looking around my family room watching our little boy play.  He was so happy and in that moment life was perfect.  Those moments are so amazing and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.  

I know that’s a cliche example of being wealthy, but it’s the truth.  I also started thinking how wealth isn’t what the commercial standard of wealth is.  Being wealthy is a personal thing – what’s important to you and you alone.  Of course I started relating everything to our finances and family budgeting.  

I think of our family’s financial goals as a path.  We want to measure our wealth on how we’re doing reaching our goals.  I talk so much about goals and financial journeys, but how do you know when you’ve made it?  I guess when you actually reach your goals, but then those goals are replaced with bigger ones.  That’s life.  So now being wealthy is the good progress we’re making towards those goals.  

Wealth is having the ability to bounce back from an emergency without sacrifice.  Wealth is seeing my child play in a yard with our dogs chasing after him.  It’s the ability to not have to worry about debt or not having enough in our bank account to do the things we want.  Wealth is reaching our financial goals and then setting new ones.  

We’re already wealthy even though we haven’t reached our bigger goals.  We’re wealthy because we’ve made so much progress to get towards those goals.  My wealth mindset has shifted to not be so concerned with the amount in our bank accounts and more focused on the bigger picture.  It’s a great feeling!

20 Ways To Make $100 Fast

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Are you looking for quick ways to make a buck?  Well you’re in luck!  I have put together a great list of 20 ways to make $100 fast.  

Now most of these on the list are things I have personally done and can share with you my opinion.  But before you take on any job or sell anything, please do your research.  Make sure it’s from a reputable company or from someone you personally know.  There are too many times people are taken advantage of and you should protect yourself.

Alright, now that my little disclaimer is out of the way let’s dive in.  Here are my 20 ways to make $100 fast:

Sell old phones, laptops and tablets

You can find different online companies, like gazelle.com that offer to buy old electronics (I have never used gazelle before, so please do your research).  You can also sell old phones, computers and such online through craigslist and Facebook swap shops.  A lot of times people are looking for parts and are willing to pay for an older phone.  

Sell old clothes

This is one of my favorite ways to make extra money!  All you have to do is clean out your closet, your husband’s closet and your kids’ closets.  You can sell on Facebook Swap Shops or create an Ebay account to sell.  I have sold older coats that I no longer wear on Ebay before and it’s super easy.  Plus Ebay will give you a few credits each month so you can list quite a few items at no cost.  Now you will pay a processing fee for selling, but it was minimal in my experience.  

Have a Yard Sale

I’ll admit I have a love/hate relationship with Yard Sales.  Here’s why – you can put so much work into them and then end having a dud.  Plus during the summer when it’s so hot, the last thing I want to do is sit outside most of the day.  However, with that being said I still love yard sales.  It forces us to clean out closets, get rid of items we no longer use and then we try to make some money off of them.  You can even come together with another family or with your neighborhood to hose a giant yard sale.  When you offer a multi-family yard sale then you typically end up with more buyers, which means increased number of eyes looking at your items.  If you’re looking for some great tips on how to host a successful yard sale then check out this post from Money Crashers.  

Sell Items You Don’t Use

This goes right along with selling old clothes and having a yard sale.  If you aren’t using something and haven’t used it in a long time then get rid of it.  You could easily make some cash and make more room in your house.  For instance, our old bassinet we had just sitting in our little guy’s room.  We hadn’t used it in months (I’m pretty sure we stopped using it before he was even three months old) and our little guy was over a year old.  We decided it was finally time to sell it.  We made back over half of what we paid for it, which was awesome.  Now we cleared a corner in his nursery for the growing pile of toys.

Volunteer for Overtime

If you work in a service industry type field then you may be able to volunteer for a few hours.  I know in the tax and accounting field a lot of overtime is earned during tax season, which is a great way to make some extra cash.  So just keep you eyes and ears open to see if any extra help is needed.  You can score some brownie points with the boss and make some money too!

Take Part in Your Company’s Customer Referral Program

A lot of workplaces offer a referral program – either refer a new client or a new employee.  This is a great way for you to earn money on the side, just by promoting what you do for a living. 

Offer Baby Sitting

I know a lot of parents are afraid of leaving their children with people they don’t know.  So offer babysitting to people you trust and who trust you.  You can put up flyers around your church or work to offer babysitting a few times each month.  You could make some serious cash!

Start Pet Sitting

Not that I want to compare a child to a pet, but people will do some crazy things to keep their pets comfortable.  Offer to some friends who are planning a vacation to take care of their dogs while they’re away.  More than likely it will be a lot more cost effective then a kennel for your friends and you could earn some money while doing it.

Sell Your Photography Skills

Are you an avid photographer?  Well you could be making money.  If you’re willing to upload your pictures to a site like shutterstock then you could turn your hobby into a side job.  Online photography sites typically offer a way for you to sell good, quality images without much of a startup cost.  

Apply for extra work 

There are so many websites and job boards online that are looking for someone to edit images, grammar check posts, and even ghost write a few posts.  By joining a place like Upwork, you can put together an online resume and then bid on different jobs.  I actually use to write on Upwork quite a bit.  I would put together articles for other finance sites and even created a handout for a gym owner in Australia once.  

Clean Houses

Put together flyers to put around town, at your church or online to offer some cleaning skills.  Cleaning houses could turn into a regular side job that makes some pretty consistent money for you.

Detail Cars

How many people do you know that actually enjoy cleaning their car?  And it’s so hard to find a decent person who can detail a car without overcharging.  Put together a weekend job where you detail cars.  The startup cost is minimal and you can earn some serious money for the time you put 

Create on Fiverr

Can you quickly proofread a short document or have a simple way to create an image?  Well then you could be making some money over at Fiverr.  It’s a cool site that you can sell your services or products for $5.00.  Now you can offer an upcharge for any special add-ons, which is great.  I have personally used Fiverr on several different occassions and always end up with great service.  

Offer Tutoring

If you are profecient in a subject at the local high school or college then you can turn it into a weekend gig.  Offer tutoring to local students on the weekends or one evening a week.

Ghost Writer on a Blog

If you have some writing skills then you can easily turn that into a gig.  A lot of sites that publish articles multiples times a day are always looking for ghost writers.

Offer your Editing Skills

Along with becoming a ghost writer, you can offer your editing skills as an on-going job to websites and bloggers.

Become a Social Media Manager

If you know you’re way around the major social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest then you can easily offer yourself to bloggers and smaller companies.  They are always looking for a strong social media presence, but may not have the budget to hire some in-house full-time.  So offer your services on a small hourly or flat rate fee.

Donate Plasma

If you don’t mind donating blood then you can try your hand at plasma.  There are quite a few places that will actually pay you to donate.  

Give Up Cable

I know this one might be a bit harder to do because you probably have a show (or two) that you love, plus you may be a sports fanactic like my husband.  But if you’re willing to go with out your cable then that could potentially save you MORE than a $100 a month.  There are other services available to help with cutting the cord.  You can get the Amazon Fire Stick (affiliate link), you can try Hulu and Netflix to make sure that you still have some entertainment for the little ones.  We love our Fire Stick and have discovered a ton of great shows – for us and for our little guy for free.

Stop Eating Out for a few weeks

If you find yourself eating out way too often then try taking my No Eating Out Challenge.  You will be surprised by how much you save just by eating at home and taking your lunch with you for a week.

Which ones are you going to try to make $100 fast?  I know we love selling old items online and through yard sales as a quick way to get rid of junk while making money.  

How To Set Your Grocery Budget

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Do you know how much your monthly grocery budget should be?  I have received so many questions from you and I thought it was time to answer.  Setting the right budget each month is a cornerstone in reaching your financial goals.  You need a money plan, a realistic one at that.  

On the expenses that are only paid once a month, it’s a lot easier to not overspend.  It’s the things like running to a store or going out to eat that can really mess up our plan.  That’s where we tend to spend more than we realize.  Even if you’re tracking your spending (which you totally should), mistakes can still happen.  You need to have a plan set in stone (or at least flexible stone) so that you can make sure you’re on the right path.  

In the video below, we’re diving in just how much you should be spending each month for your groceries.  Learn how to set your grocery budget – the right way! 

 

If you’re looking for help on what all to include in your grocery budget, check out this video.  I’ll help you figure out a good plan of what to include, and not include each month.  Remember you’re family is not just like mine, so you need to be open and flexible to creating a money plan that works best for you.  If you set your grocery budget and it doesn’t work then make the right adjustments.  

How much do you spend each month on groceries for your family?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Need More Help?

If you’re looking for a great tool to help keep your family on budget, then check out out my budget spreadsheet.  Each month is laid out right in front of you where you can keep track of what you budget and what you actually spend. Now you’ll know in real time how you’re doing each month.

 

No Eating Out Challenge – How To Save Over $2,000 a Year

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I don’t know about you, but I like to eat out.  There is just something about someone else cooking dinner for my family and doing the dishes that’s hard to resist. But lately we have found ourselves splurging a little too often on our dinners.  We haven’t gone crazy overboard on our spending, because I have been tracking pretty consistently.  But we could be saving more money just by eating at home and I know that.

Do you need a break from eating out?  I know we do!  Over this past week I came to the realization we needed a break from the easy option.  So I created a simple a challenge… I call it the…

No Eating Out Challenge

It’s similar to the idea of a spending freeze, but it only applies to eating out.  Basically it is going to force us to sit at home around the kitchen table a bit more for the next 7 days.  We can reconnect and just spend more time together – the three of us.  I encourage you to join in on the (fun) challenge with us.  We plan on starting Monday morning, but you can start anytime you want.  

The Rules:

No eating out for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
No quick pick-ups at the gas station, including drinks.
No easy runs to the grocery store to by an already (or almost) prepared meal.
Eat at home every night this week.
Take lunch with us to work or school every day this week.

The Goal:

Save money.  Reconnect as a family.  Start utilizing the meal plan that is created each week so food is not wasted. 

Are you in?  If so, leave a comment letting me know when you planning on starting.  Let’s encourage each other during this no eating out challenge!

Watch my latest Facebook Live video where I talk all about the savings from taking this challenge.

How To Stay Motivated

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Today, I want to share with you how to stay motivated when it comes to budgeting and paying down your debt.  Let’s be honest for a second, talking about money all the time with your spouse or thinking about it can be draining.  Very draining.  Eventually you just want to throw your spreadsheets down and say screw it!  We’ve all be there.  But you have to hang on. 

Just for a bit longer.

You totally understand the importance of tracking your spending so you can finally start making a dent in your debt.  You get it when you hear how important it is to have an emergency fund built up so you don’t have to be completely shaken when a financial setback happens.  You are a rock star.  And it’s okay that sometimes you loose a little bit of focus, but you have to stay motivated with your eyes on the prize.

It’s going to be so worth it.

To jump ahead check out my video with my TOP THREE motivation tips when it comes to budgeting.

However, when those moments strike and you find yourself so completely unmotivated, you need to remember these few tips:

Know your strengths and your weaknesses.

More than likely one of you is probably more of a saver while the other one is more of a spender.  So during times you find yourself struggling or pulling the reigns back a bit too tight then take a step back.  Allow your partner to take over for a bit so you can recharge.  I know in our house I am more of the saver while J is more of the spender (not crazy, out of control spending).  So when I find myself obsessing over the budget and draining all the fun our of our lives, J is perfectly able to step in.  He lightens the mood and gets us back on track with enjoying life while paying down debt.

Talk with your partner.

When you find yourself some uninspired and just want to give up then talk it out.  You may be surprised with how your spouse feels and it can change your whole outlook.  Just have an honest conversation about what’s going, your thoughts and concerns then you can have a real conversation about what to do as a team.

Set small, easily reach goals.

Sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated when you’re staring at a huge goal that seems way too far in the future.  So break it down.  Create small goals that can be reached in a week, a month or even 3 months from now.  You will feel like you’re making headway and that can be a huge motivator.  For instance, you’re trying to save for a down payment on your first home.  You’re goal is to put 20% down, which means you need about $30,000 in the bank.  Set smaller goals and then reward yourself.  Create a goal sheet where there is an increment of $5,000 all the way up.  Each time you hit a new $5,000 goal then you can color it in.  Now you can visualize yourself actually reaching your big goal and those $5,000 increments seems so much more attainable. 

Don’t be afraid to re-evaluate.

Sometimes goals change.  What you wanted a year ago may not be a good fit today.  You can’t be afraid to allow yourself to make changes to your goals – no matter their size.  It’s okay to remove something from your wish list and replace it with something new.  Let’s say you dreamed of owning a loft in the city by the time you were 35.  Now here you are at 30 years old and find yourself married with a toddler.  Well your new goal may be a small house with a yard so you can have room to play.  That’s okay.  Goals are fluid and constantly shifting.

Know it’s okay to make mistakes.

Most mistakes won’t be the end of the world, so allow yourself the freedom to make mistakes.  Each mistake is just a learning opportunity.  If you make misplace a $100 bill by accident don’t beat yourself up.  I know it can be really frustrating and depressing to lose money, but it’s not the end of the world.  Just take a deep breath and count the blessings that you do have in those situations.  It will put it into a better perspective for you.

Stay strong.

Know that it will all be worth it.  You have to have will power to reach your final goals.  You can just give up when things get tough because you will never make any progress.  So remember it’s worth fighting for.

Remember the end goal.

When things get really tough and you find yourself just wanting to pull the sheets over your head then it’s time to remember why.  Why are you working so hard.  What goal are you striving to achieve.  Is is so you can pay for your children’s college costs without them having to take out any loans?  Well why?  Why are you working to do that?  It might be because you graduated with some serious debt and know how much of a head start your kids will get if they are debt free.  Or maybe you want to pay off your credit card debt so you can finally start taking the extra $500 a month and use it to buy your dream home.  

Just remember what the end goal is and you will keep focused.