One thing we do when money is tight, say before pay day, is just go on a money diet and spend as little as humanly possible. It's a good habit to get into now and then, as it helps you curb the habit of spending just to amuse yourself!
hurray for you it took along time for me to figure this out but once i did i put it to good use just like you!
One thing that my wife and I have done for the exact same reasons is create a system of checks and balances. Any time we want to spend more than $50 we have to check with the other person to see if that is okay with them or if it is in the budget. You can set your limit to your needs and income level but $50 works for us.
We also have a monthly budget meeting. (At worst it is a quarterly meeting.) We sit down with all of our expenses and all of our income and we just evaluate where we stand. We took all of our debt- student loans, car loans, hospital bills, and more and put them in a list. On that list we put beside each item the total pay off amount, the interest rate, and the monthly payment. We prioritized them and paid everything as normal and put anything extra into the first bill. Before we knew it, it was paid off! We added that amount to the next bill and paid that off even faster. Then we added that total amount to the next one and just kept rolling it over and we never missed a cent. By doing this, we have paid off two cars, two college loans, saved for and purchased a house, created a small savings, and bought back our sanity and financial freedom.
That small savings was created as an absolute fall back. We figured out what we would need to have cash in hand to maintain our current living standards and pay for everything for 2 months if we both lost our jobs (unlikely, but possible). We hope to build that up to 6 months in the near future.
MoxieGreg you're right! A household budget is the way to go. It's amazing how it frees up your life and makes relationships better. And actually, it's not a money diet that is the key, it's controlling one's spending habits. By prioritizing where your hard earned dollars are being spent, you're able to live within your means. It's a great feeling!
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