At least quarterly, Mr. B and I try to take a look at our budget. How is it (or isn’t it) working? Since we are considering buying a house, we have also been looking for ways to slice our budget without bleeding. From out experience, here are some tips on how to create a budget.
Since we are currently eligible for a cell phone upgrade, we revisited our phone plan. Over the last year we upgraded to Sidekicks with internet access, but we weren’t impressed. It seems when you have one phone that does everything, it does nothing well. Also, since we have a netbook, phone internet is almost redundant. Slicing our internet data plan removed $20 a month from our budget without any pain.
Photo by Jeff Keen via Flickr
Another section that inherently doubles is eating out vs. purchasing groceries. I have to confess this is the one part of our budget we can never completely rein in. However, we’ve been able to save some money with a couple changes:
I occasionally make my own fabric softener, bake my own bread (healthier and makes the house smell wonderful), and make some of my own cleaning supplies. In fact, you can save quite a bit of money and help the environment with homemade products.
You will be surprised when you involve your financial partners at how your budget changes. I always assumed Mr. B didn’t wouldn’t give up cable TV or internet on his phone. As it turns out, he didn’t consider either of those to be a priority, a need, or even a strong want. Involve your children. If you give them the choice of saving for something special or having premium cable, you might be surprised at their choice.
Nothing’s perfect, and a budget is constantly in flux. While Mr. B and I evaluate our budget every quarter, if something isn’t working, we can always sit down before then to have a conversation. It’s better to communicate immediately than to grow frustrated.
Slicing through your budget doesn’t have to be a painful experience. In fact, a finely tuned budget can provide financial comfort, and is a great starting point for your financial future.