The most important step in learning to live on a single income is finding out what you are currently spending and to set up a budget. If you keep good financial records, you should be able to look back and see what your basic bills are and how much they cost each month. Start a list of your expenses. Be sure to figure in the occasional things as well, such as hair cuts, oil changes, etc. We personally use a program called Money Matters for our finances, but there are probably quite a few good ones available online. But, a simple spreadsheet can do the job easily as well.
While you are looking at your past expenses, note the due dates on them so you can balance which bills you pay from each paycheck. Sometimes it is necessary to set money aside from the first paycheck of the month, in order to have enough to pay the bills that are due from the next paycheck.
Once your budget is set up, you need to start tracking all expenses. When you stop and get a coffee, write it down. Every purchase should be tracked for at least a couple of weeks in order to give you a reasonable idea of where your money is being spent. Once that is done, you can start looking at where you can cut back. Are you going out to eat often? Do you really need that new shirt? It will be much easier to determine necessity over a “want” once you really see where your money is going.
To help you get started, you might want to check out Easy Envelope Budget Aid or Budget 5000. I have not used these, as I’m very happy with the Money Matters software we purchased years ago, but they look like very helpful programs, and they are free!
Good luck on your budgeting journey! You can do it!
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Now, on to the deals this week!
Know the Lingo
BOGO – Buy one, get one free
SS – Smart Source (coupon inserts in Sunday’s papers)
RP – Red Plum (coupon inserts in Sunday’s papers)
PG – Proctor & Gamble (coupon inserts in Sunday’s papers)
GM – General Mills (occasional coupon inserts in Sunday’s papers)
Blinkie – coupon dispensers in stores
Peelie – coupons found on products that you peel off
Hangtag – coupons found hanging on bottles
All You – Magazine sold at Walmart or via subscription
Whole Foods: Click here for their coupons. If you prefer to shop at Publix, they should accept these as competitor coupons.
Publix Greenwise: Click here for their weekly ads.
Many thanks to IHeartPublix.com for their great tips on shopping at Publix!
For Publix full sale list with coupon match-ups for 7/1-7/1, please click here.
** IheartPublix .com did not have the “Super Deals” post up at the time of posting this article. When it’s ready there should be a link from the above list to the “super deals” list so keep checking back!
Renita’s Favorite Money-Saving Sites