B-U-D-G-E-T-S Tightening the Budget

This is the Part III in my recent Budget series, please check out Zero Based and Where is My Money to catch up on this Budget Extravaganza.

One of the first things you are going to try is take all of your monthly budget goals and make them completely unattainable for the first month.  Here’s a great example of what I did to start.  I was spending about $100 per week for my wife and I on groceries.  So instead I said well let’s cut that to half or $50, really tighten up that budget.  Guess what happened?  We spent over $200; in fact we spent around $400, after I realized the blunder I made from the first week.

Remember you have to live on that budget.  I always hear sports broadcasters say something like these 2 teams are unevenly matched on paper, like the Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks, but anything can happen, that’s why they play the games.  Not getting my sports analogy, its ok my wife gets exactly zero of them and I use them every day, it will catch on.  Here’s the thing you can write whatever you want on a piece of paper for your budget, but you still have to go out and buy the groceries with real money that comes from a real bank account.  So remember you still have to play the game.

Over the next couple months you will start to realize your tendency’s and how you spend your money.  An example from my past experience comes from Costco, we end up spending double our grocery bill for the month when we first started our visit.  Well that doesn’t exactly work when you are “tightening the budget” that example would go by another name, maybe “tubby time budgeting”.  So what did we do differently?

The biggest change was Keep It Simple Steven.  We made a hand written or google docs list every time we went to Costco and chose only those items from the list, I also did an estimated budget for those items eg flank steak-$25, bacon-$13, and finally paid for everything in cash.  As I’ve heard Dave Ramsey say on his daily podcast as I’m paraphrasing here, paying with cash hurts, so you spend less.  You know what it has worked; we plan everything ahead of our grocery trip and really keep the budget tight.

I cannot stress how important it is to plan ahead even for small purchases.  Imagine walking into a car dealer and point to the new BMW and saying “Yeah I want that one, it looks great.  Oh by the way I’m not sure if I have enough money for it, but I have great credit so you know I’m good for it”.  That sounds crazy right, like Gary Busey crazy, just go with it man.

This man seems to be crazy, let's not be this crazy.

This man seems to be crazy, let’s not be this crazy.

This was just one of the ways we learned to save and tighten our budget.  I will go through more examples as we go along.  Car, Housing, Cable, Internet, Phone, expect to get a little bit of sweet Budget Saving techniques along the way, used correctly well it can be like Johnny Cash career, influential on every aspect of what you touch..

How are you tightening your budget?  Are you eating Ramen Noodles 5x week? Do you have budget tightening advice for the rest of us?  Remember sharing means caring.  Do you have an article you can share post it in your comments,  I want help, I want sharing, I need comments.

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