How to Stay On Budget While Working From Home

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I’m sure that everyone has had a dream of being able to work from home making just as much money, if not more money, than you would by working for someone else. This dream is real, but one thing most people don’t think about is what happens if you do end up making less money at first.  Are you still going to be able to fulfill your dream, while holding onto the reality of everyday expenses?  This is where having a positive attitude, a little creativity, and the ability to make a budget comes into play.  There are a few tips that can help you figure out ways to save money just by looking through your every day financial expenses.

Cut Down Your Expenses

When you are first starting out, there are key things you need to look at when you want to save money.  These include cutting things like: television and cell phone service; groceries; and eating out.  Like most people I got fed up with paying for channels that I never watched so this was one of the first things that I cut out. I cancelled my service and ended up purchasing a streaming device to get most of my programming needs.  I recommend doing this because it saves a lot of money every month. If you just can’t live without the news or local channels, you can always look into downgrading to just the local package, but most news channels offer apps or information on their websites.  Luckily, with the way technology is today there are many ways to still stay up-to-date on current events.  One more way to save money is to change your cell phone service.  There are cheaper alternatives out there that can save you money and provide you just as much coverage as the more expensive providers.

Another way to cut back is to spend less on groceries and eating out.  If you sat down and tracked how much money you spend on food it would make your head spin.  Food is very expensive and for me it was a huge part of my expenses.  I found that there are many ways to cut back on your grocery bill just by switching from brand name items to generic, creating a meal plan, and using coupons. The same applies to eating out.  We were spending so much money just on having one meal out a week.  For a family of five to get a decent meal we have to spend $40 or more.  Then half the time you aren’t satisfied because the dinner wasn’t as good as you thought, but by making your own food you will be saving a lot of time and money. For example, my family loves pizza, so I found out that our favorite pizza place sells pizza kits.  The only thing you have to do is add your toppings and cook it.  Getting the kits cost you half the price of buying the pizza already made.  Lastly, I have found that there are even ways to cut back on your everyday hygiene products like laundry soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and hand soap. Once you cut back on your expenses, the next thing to do is prioritize your bills.

Prioritizing Your Bills

When first starting a budget you will need to put your bills in order from the most important to the least important.  The easiest way to do this is to collect every bill that you incur each month and categorize it. There are six main groups that I use when deciding where the expense should be placed.  These include: food; shelter; clothing; transportation; and energy.  Everything else gets placed in the “other” category and is usually the least important.  Then from here, you can decide who needs to get paid first and who can wait a little longer.  If you end up not having enough money to pay for some of these bills, make sure you call the creditors and negotiate with them.  Spending a little time on the phone now with these places will help you save at the end of the day.

Making a Budget Plan

I have spent many years making my own budget for my family and we have seen many different financial situations over that time.  There are some good programs out there now that can help you get started on your family budget.  I personally like to use Excel spreadsheet to make my monthly budget.  How I create my budget is I sit down and take every bill that I have and make a table of who the creditor is and how much the monthly payment is.  I then break it down into how much needs to be taken out when I get paid whether it is weekly, biweekly, or monthly.  Having a place where I can see what is due, when it is due, and how much money I need to take out, allows for me to make sure that I have enough money to do so.  This also helps me save for important things like a family vacation, a college fund for the kids, or retirement. Of course there are apps now that can take care of your budgeting needs.  It’s simple now to track your spending automatically and this way you can see just how and where the money is going, allowing you to make better decisions about how to spend your money.

I know that a lot of people are afraid of creating a budget because they don’t know where to start.  It is much easier than people think and it could really help you in the long run.  I have been doing it for years now and it’s nice when I hear people say that they don’t know how I can have the things that I have while working from home.  I always tell them that without a budget in my life, I wouldn’t be able to have these things and I wouldn’t be where I am today; successful and happy.

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15 thoughts on “How to Stay On Budget While Working From Home

  • November 22, 2015 at 2:37 pm
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    Our grocery bill is out of control and I’ve been saying for a while now that it needs to be reigned in. I need to go back to writing a list and strictly sticking to it. Thanks for the motivation to make some changes!

  • September 9, 2015 at 4:16 pm
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    I used to be a total mess before I started making a budget plan. I also use Excel now to write down every expense I have every month so that I can have a clearer picture.

  • August 18, 2015 at 4:24 pm
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    This has to be the top things I would pick if I were making the list myself. You don’t really realize how many things you spend extra money on when you work out of the home. It is just not gas money by any means. I started to narrow down the budget once we setup Quicken and I love that program now. Everything is organized and I know exactly what we spend before we spend it. A true life-saver!

  • August 15, 2015 at 10:22 pm
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    One thing that I did not budget for and came as a shock was outsourcing. At my old job, I could pick up the phone and get a solution to a problem, or tech issue, right away. My work at home job did not come with a help desk lol. Most problems I could handle myself, those I couldn’t cost money and time. Finding a reliable tech was frustrating, time-consuming and cost money. Outsourcing is in the budget now!

    • August 15, 2015 at 11:38 pm
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      Outsourcing is the worst! I was spending so much money just keeping my website up and running,it was such a waste in my opinion. I ended up studying and started doing everything on my own and it has saved me a ton of money although it’s hard when I only have myself to rely on. I went from beginner website builder to pretty decent web developer. Now I have wahtips on it’s own private server and I’ve been learning the server side of everything. It’s difficult but I am getting the hang of it. It’s nice to not have to rely on a tech anymore and I feel a lot more accomplished now that I am doing everything on my own. I have learned more in 2 yrs owning this website than 4 yrs in college 🙂

      • August 24, 2015 at 2:55 pm
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        That’s great that you have learned those processes. I’m very comfortable with Cpanel & WHM Cpanel. However when a client wrecks their database so bad that I can’t fix it, I have to outsource, it is the worse. I need to learn a lot about MySQL to save money, time and frustration.

    • September 9, 2015 at 4:09 pm
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      I have been having the exact same problem as you. I used to do everything by myself, but as my tasks grew bigger, I had to hire someone to do some of the work. However, I too have learned to budget for outsourcing now.

  • August 15, 2015 at 11:03 am
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    Cutting down on things like TV channel packages is a great way to save, I switched to online streaming a while back and it has made me more productive during the daytime, when I should be getting the majority of my work done. I’m glad I did it now, while I am still new to working at home and can get into good habits. Now to put some of these tips into practice to reduce my grocery bill!

    • August 15, 2015 at 11:42 pm
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      I haven’t had cable TV in years! It took me a while to get used to it but I don’t think I will ever go back. I saved so much money and I really enjoy Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. I am an insane couponer and I buy in bulk so I have drastically reduced out shopping bill and I don’t need to go nearly as often so it also saves in gas.

  • July 20, 2015 at 9:31 am
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    Budgets are important, whether you are working from home or not. I would hope that someone who is quitting their day job has looked at their budget in detail before hand! First, you are so right about cable companies. They are a huge rip off, and I would love to get rid of mine. The streaming idea is a good one, and I am going to look into that. The other place that a lot of our money goes is eating out, and it’s not to fancy places either. The weekly trip to O’Charley’s really is eating into the budget. Great things to think about.

    • July 21, 2015 at 9:15 am
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      Cable and cell phone bills are the biggest problems in our house. It would be nice to be able to use my cell for less than $50 a day but since I use it for work I need data. With three phones in the house it’s a struggle to keep it under $200.

    • July 21, 2015 at 9:15 am
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      Cable and cell phone bills are the biggest problems in our house. It would be nice to be able to use my cell for less than $50 a day but since I use it for work I need data. With three phones in the house it’s a struggle to keep it under $200.

    • August 15, 2015 at 11:47 pm
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      I always suggest that people ease into working at home, don’t quit your day job right away and make a realistic budget. Unless you are working a work at home full-time W2 job you won’t get a steady paycheck that is the same every month. Personally I love having a work at home W2 job on top of independent contractor jobs, it gives me a set income along with extra cash when I need it. You are so right though, always budget everything out and if you are going the independent contractor route, make sure you have some savings in the bank. Working at home is competitive and takes some time to get the hang of it.

  • July 19, 2015 at 8:56 am
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    For the last two years we have cut down on our groceries by only buying items that are on sale whenever possible and avoiding the large grocery chains that are overpriced. A good tip is to avoid eating at restaurants, it costs you more in the end.

    • July 19, 2015 at 10:17 am
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      We stopped eating at restaurants weekly and that helped quite a bit. I have a strict budget that allows for the occasional treat but the problem is that there is always something that comes up or needs repair. This makes saving difficult.

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