The importance of budgeting

When money is not a worry, everything else is so much easier.

The impact of feeling in control of your finances is impossible to overstate. There are many resources available to help you master your financial journey. A book we found useful was "I Will Teach You To Be Rich" by Ramit Sethi as he has a unique and rewarding way of thinking about money and it's relationship to our lives.  A basic budget you can do right now is to use Dave Ramsey's 4 step process here.  Note that the 2nd step will also include your saving goals and any donations you make for the month. Mr. Ramsey also has several books and programs to help families with their money.

The basic framework for budgeting is to do the math and understand that you need to bring in more money than you spend each month and year.  Saving a percentage of your money for a rainy day helps the storms of life easier to navigate.  Here is an online budgeting tool you can use to help.  If you are struggling with income lower than expenses and the numbers aren't quite balancing out consider applying for additional food money or other aid. Below are some other tips to consider.

Tips for saving money:

  • Buy seasonal produce as fruits and vegetables tend to be cheaper when they are in season (consider farmers markets) here is a resource for what is in season throughout the year
  • Consider canning or making frozen dishes for later in the year from the seasonal produce.
  • Make extra meals to freeze and have on hand for an alternative to take-out
  • Another alternate to take-out is having several quick prepared meals available in the pantry
  • Buy and use basic food ingredients like rice, oats, dry lentils, dry beans, and flour.  Cooking more from scratch and buying less pre-made items can save a large amount of money
  • Cut out spending on unneeded items such as: Starbucks coffee, fabric softener, dryer sheets,  empty calories items (candy, chips, soda, alcoholic beverages, etc.) Cable/satellite TV
  • Save gas by combining trips
  • Consider only having 1 car for the family (we have been doing this for years with 3 kids) 

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