Did you start the week with good intentions to stick to your budget? Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday went fairly well, but now the weekend is here, and you’re tempted to blow your budget. Welcome to the challenges that come with living on a budget! Don’t worry…follow along and The Budget Diet girl will get you through the weekend and beyond. It’s kind of like a diet…it’s not too difficult to count calories during the week, but when the weekend rolls around, and you have parties to attend – the temptation can be overwhelming. By the way, if you’ve ever wondered why I named my blog The Budget Diet, now you know!
Yesterday, we followed a family on a budget for 1 week, and we discovered and related to their pitfalls. If you didn’t read the article, take a minute to catch up with the rest of us and read How I Blew My Family Budget in the First Week, and then come right back, so you can learn how not to blow your budget. We’ll take a look at each problem they encountered and suggest real life solutions.
- Problem: They shopped 1 store and forgot to bring their coupons.
- Solution: You have to learn how to save money at the grocery. There’s more to it than just using coupons. You need to understand how to match coupons with sales to maximize savings. You need to get in the habit of checking price per unit. You need to shop more than 1 store. You need to find the best grocery saving method for your lifestyle. These lessons won’t be learned overnight, and if you need a good “teacher”, try The Grocery Game, Inc. They can cut your grocery bill by 67%!
- Problem: This family was fairly successful in saving money on gas by carpooling and combining errands, but there are even more ways to save!
- Solution #1: Get in the habit of checking GasBuddy.com (or use the app) to find the cheapest gas in your area. Within my zip code today, gas prices varied by 57¢ a gallon! WOW…that makes a difference of $11.40 for a 20 gallon fill-up.
- Solution #2: Challenge your family to walk or ride bikes as much as possible. If you live in an area where you can walk or ride bikes to school…do it! Could you ride bikes to ball practice? What about piano lessons? A few years ago, we took this challenge, and I went from buying a tank of gas each week to just 1 tank for the entire month…talk about savings! P.S. – It’s a great workout too!
- Problem: The weekend came, and the budget was blown.
- Solution #1: Family fun doesn’t have to mean spending big bucks. Give your wallet a break this weekend and enjoy some frugal family fun. How about a game night with Minute to Win It Challenges? Anyone up for a Pizza Taste Test? A High School Football Game or High School Musical is always a budget friendly option. If the weather is beautiful take a bike ride or a nature hike at a local park. Need more ideas? Read 10 Ideas for a Frugal Family Fun Night.
- Solution #2: Sites like Groupon will help you find the Best Daily Deal in Your Neighborhood. This past year we’ve found half price deals for tours, festivals and more!
- Solution #3: Starting Monday, get out cash for your weekly budget (a.k.a. your weekly allowance). Spend it wisely because when it’s gone, it’s gone.
There’s not a “one size fits all” solution for saving money, so where do you begin your frugal living quest? Start with my most popular article “Cut Your Spending by $400 a Month” – it has nearly 100 ways to save money. Find the ones that work for you, and you’ll be well on your way to living the frugal life as long as you’re motivated. That’s right, sticking to a budget isn’t just about planning and organizing, it’s about commitment and motivation. Stay tuned…we’ll tackle the motivation part tomorrow.
In full disclosure, this post contains affiliate links to help support The Budget Diet girl! My advice will always be unbiased and free, but free won’t pay the bills! Thanks!