It seems everyone on the net is going crazy about the 52 Week Saving Challenge. Saving money is great, but you also need to make sure you are establishing a budget for your spending. Creating the initial budget is easy if you do a little pre-work. Track your expenses for one month, making sure to capture any quarterly or annual expenses as well. We’d all like to forget we have to pay rent or mortgage, since they are usually the largest chunk of the monthly expense total, but it’s not pretty if you forget to pay it.
Once you know how much you spend and where the funds go, it makes it a little simpler to set up your budget. Determine where you save money, and where you don’t have flexibility. Start small. If you cut everything to the bone from the very beginning, there is a tendency to get frustrated, and throw in the towel.
One area of our family budget that needed a little help was the food. We are blessed enough to have a large stand up freezer in our basement, and I am planning to use it to it’s fullest. We are focused on buying more food items in bulk, and break down the volume packaging into smaller portions. I keep an eye out for sales on our favorite frozen veggies, so I can stock up while saving money. DH would skip right past the veggie aisle if it was up to him.
eMeals is also helping us manage our food costs with dinner menu planning linked to my local grocery store. I am planning my weekly menu more cost effectively, versus shopping randomly for foods that may, or may not, be used each week.
Do you tend to eat out a lot because it seems easier than cooking? eMeals takes the guesswork out of dinner planning. A seven day dinner menu and shopping list comes right to your inbox. All you need to do is go to the store. It will probably take you less time than going to a restaurant for dinner. Now imagine what you could add to your savings each month just by skipping dinner out one night each week. Once you see your savings start to increase, you will be up to the challenge to keep adding to it.
Don’t know where to start? Use this simple budget form (pictured above) to get the process started courtesy of eMeals. Trust me, a little planning now, is worth having a lot less stress later when an unexpected expense comes up, and your paycheck is already spent.
What’s your best tip for saving money and growing your safety net for 2013?
Disclosure: I’m a member of the eMeals Blogger Network. I have received a year membership to the program in exchange for my honest opinion and review. No other compensation has been received. If you are a blogger and would like to join the network, you can apply here, and please let them know you heard about the opportunity from In The Kitchen With KP.