So I’m back on track and back on the budgeting front! I’ve been working towards being debt free for a while and although I’ve made a massive dent, I’ve been struggling this last two months. I decided that to help me stay onboard, I would share my journey and some tips to help you! Especially since I’ve not done any sort of update since June 2015… So let’s do this together folks! We can totally get our sh!t in order.
So let’s start with goals and the reason behind it. I want to be debt free, that the main aim. No more consumer debt. It’s currently sitting at £3900. Which isn’t too bad, I’m determined to get this all gone in the next few months. I also want to get saving for lots and lots of trips away next year with my husband. Basically we’re aching to travel more and to do it debt free. So those are my goals. I’d recommend thinking about your reasoning behind doing this before you get started. It’ll help you stay motivated!
Tip One: Visual Reminders
I keep a business sized card in my wallet with my with my previous debt and what my current debt is. It’s nice to see that number coming down. It also helps remind me to not buy everything that tickles my fancy. On the other side of the card, I’ve written “I am debt free”. So it’s handy to see that every time I take money out of my wallet. I also have second card with a few positive affirmations on one side and a travel picture on the other side. This card lives with my debit card, so I get that nice wee reminder when I go to take my card out.
Tip Two: Record Your Spending
Now this one has always been a pain in the rear. I was always a bit woeful at this, but I’ve finally started to get in the habit with this, mostly because I stopped using excel for it. I’ve been using the everydollar website for about 6 months and I love it! It’s so easy to plan out your budget for the month and to record all your spends. It gives you a nice visual representation of how much money you have left to budget or spend. It’s also really easy to use. Sadly there’s no andriod app as yet…soon maybe, but there is an iphone app. So you can keep up with it on the go. Now I know that it’s in dollars, but I just pretend they’re pounds and it works grand. By recording all your spending, you’ll be able to get a clearer picture on where your money is actually going. Having a budget helps to give you back control of your money, I love something Dave Ramsey says, “You’re telling your money where to go”. It actually feels incredibly good and gives you some control again. I should point out, I’m a massive Dave Ramsey fan, I listen to his radio show in the archives of his website on a regular basis – he’s great to put a fire under you.
Tip Three: Pay in Cash
I draw out money for both my lunch and for my toiletries for the month. I keep an envelope with each in my purse or in my work bag. I’ve found that by paying for these both with cash, it massively curbs my spending. I realised that these were seriously weak areas that I would just throw the budget out the window! Buy all the things! So by taking out the £40 for my lunches, I can only spend that money. I generally spend it on food I can do bulk lunches with, my favourite is pasta, pesto, chicken and veg. I could eat that about 3 days out of 5. I alternate my lunch with leftovers – seriously who doesn’t love leftovers…sooooo tasty. With my toiletries, this has to cover all beauty buys for the month. So if I can’t afford to buy a product, I’ll just have to put money aside and buy it next month. This requires serious will power, so having only cash to buy these things, really does stop me buying more than I can sensibly afford!
So those are my few tips to get you started. I’m going to start getting into more detail as we progress. So we shall have a catch up next month and I can share more tips with you! You don’t have to be superhuman to stick to a budget, you just have to want to get rid of your debt enough. You can check out the video below to see how I update my visual reminders, or to just hear me chat about my budget!