I think we can all agree that financial planning/budgeting isn’t on the top of our lists of fun topics to discuss. I would prefer to talk about shoes, but I do think it’s important and if you are like me it can seem so overwhelming if not broken down to bite size chunks. I did not grow up in a household where money was ever discussed, no one talked about saving and no one talked about spending, it was kind of a taboo subject. As a young adult it was no wonder that I had no idea about budgeting, even though I worked at a few prestigious stock broker firms I basically lived pay check to pay check. It really wasn’t until recently that I have gotten more adept at figuring my budget out (especially with an income that fluctuates from month-to-month) by implementing a few new strategies.
I have mentioned I used Outright.com for my business, which I think is a great tool and was so helpful when I did my taxes. I recently put my account on hold because I found Mint.com, which is similar (and free!), it is not as in depth or targeted to my business as Outright but it is a good software for keeping track of what you are spending and where. It has some great built-in tools for savings goals (college tuition, houses, vacations, etc.), which allow you to see how much you will need to save each month to get to your end goal and access to depositing in separate savings accounts for each goal. I think being able to look at a savings goal broken down so clearly makes it feel so much more accessible than just dreaming about it for one day. I am not a frivolous spender (I was) but I can easily see at a glance where my money is going, if it was the me of my early twenties I would have been able to see that I was spending my hard earned paycheck on pretty stupid things and if I had the savings goals in place maybe I could have not bought more than one pair of designer jeans and put the money towards that house on the hill. Now, that I am older I cringe at the thought but it is never too late to start. One of the things I noticed in my budget graph on Mint.com was how much my husband and I spent on food, just groceries not even going out, it was an outrageous amount! I started to meal plan based around what is on special at our local grocery store, we don’t eat processed foods so I needed to be on the lookout for what fresh produce would be on sale. This may seem silly if you are already doing this, but I was clueless. Case in point, big beautiful cherries are in season, I would have formerly bought them at the $3.99/lb. without thinking twice, instead I waited and the store offered them for $2.99 for a bag (about 3 pounds worth!) It’s these little victories that have cut our grocery bill in half. I also love knowing what we will be having for the week, it takes a lot of pressure and undue stress off our shoulders and I get to see the savings goals grow! Let me know if you have any tips for dealing with this “exciting” subject, I would love to hear them.
I have collected some references/resources below that might be useful for you (dare I say even interesting?):
The Fiscal Flamingo (good for those dealing with debt)
Andrew Mellen, I’m a big believer in less is more, Andrew comes highly recommended as a grade A de-cluttering expert.
Regale Magazine Issue 4, it’s targeted for millennial’s but has a no-nonsense 7 step budget that might be helpful for those (like me) who had no idea where to start.
Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to sunny Seattle with her handsome husband and two pups. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to motivate you to fall-truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.