Things are not always going to work out according to plan, so you are just going to have to put your big girl or big boy panties on and problem solve. Sometimes you will have to really sacrifice until you are able to pull yourself afloat. I know this to be true because I struggled with this the past few months. No matter how much you budget things are going to happen and that is why I stress the importance of having an emergency fund. We all have to start somewhere so it doesn’t matter how much you start putting into it at first. Pennies will eventually add up to dollars so don’t be afraid to pick up that penny that is lying on the ground.
Since becoming a homeowner at the end of 2015, there are tons of things I never thought of before so I am constantly adjusting and incurring costs. I was doing pretty well for a while, but the past few months it seems like all of my unplanned bills are hitting all at once. Medical expenses, annual trash bill, I owe money on my taxes, things I need for the house, etc. I am just a middle class citizen trying to get myself to the next tier in the social economical structure. Like I say, money doesn’t buy happiness but it does buy choices.
My struggle the past few months was a lesson that I desperately needed so not all is lost. I was trying to figure out ways to force myself to save more and the universe sure did give me the answers. I was reminded that I needed to start spending less money so I can save more money towards my goals. Getting that wakeup call because I was forced to was very eye opening and proved to me that I can indeed spend less money. So when my budget didn’t work out, here are the things I did to get myself out of the hole.
Packed my lunch EVERYDAY!!!
Of course this is a no brainer for many people, but sometimes I would go on spurts of not feeling like packing my lunch. This adds up so fast because I would spend anywhere from $6-$12 on lunch per day. That is $1560-$3120 a year just on lunch. WTH was I thinking?!? I could use that money to buy stocks or something that will help my money grow or go on a nice vacation.
I planned my meals out.
Planning my meals worked because I didn’t just start throwing stuff in my cart when I went grocery shopping. I literally took inventory and only bought what I knew I needed for the next 2 weeks or longer. I normally do one big shop per month and one mini shop to pick up random items I need and anything that is a really good sale. Oh and I prefer to buy fresh fruit and veggies so you can’t buy that in bulk. Of course I stuck to frozen veggies for the most part while pulling myself ahead of my financial struggle. I also picked up things to put in my work freezer for any days I forgot my lunch.
Forced myself to make do!!!
I was determined not to touch my emergency fund on food because I am still trying to build it back up. I was getting very creative with my meals and working with what I had in my kitchen. Allrecipes.com is my favorite meal resource so check it out for yourself. You can plug in your ingredients and it will give you recipe ideas.
I tried to limit my driving and only traveled when I needed to. Ugh gas is so expensive!!!
Took advantage of free fun.
If you live in or near a major city there is always free fun for you to enjoy. Check out your local libraries or community centers and you will be so surprised what you find. I live in the Philadelphia, PA area and I search for free events all the time. I made sure we would eat at home before going out.
So no I am not perfect by any means and sometimes I need a reminder to focus on my big picture goals. I am working on building wealth and creating memories so buying random stuff that I know I do not need doesn’t help me meet those goals. So now back to sticking to my budget and saving for when my budget doesn’t work out. You have to plan for your successes.