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.