Say hello to Danielle Wagasky, owner of the blog “Blissful and Domestic.” Just like most of us, Wagasky frequently comes face to face with her habit of overspending and got down to the nitty-gritty of budgeting when she realized her poor spending habits was negatively affecting her entire family.
In her blog article, Wagasky detail the ways in which she started saving and her biggest inspiration comes from the book “America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money: Your Guide to Living Better, Spending Less, and Cashing in on Your Dreams” by Steve Economides.
If you’ve been struggling with personal finances, take a pointer from these tips below and begin your financial recovery.
Wagasky’s first and most important step is to set a budget (for yourself or your family) for all the things you absolutely need (rent, groceries, gas, internet, etc). Don’t miss anything, budget everything out so you can see clearly how much money you have left that could be spent on non-necessities like date nights, eating out, etc. Need a quick app recommendation? We highly recommend the Mint money managing app (plus, it's free!).
No spending money left for dates? There are plenty of free activities around! Hiking, swimming, biking, picnic date at the park, etc. Get creative.
Cable costs a lot more than necessary and with digital streaming options available (at a MUCH lower cost), Wagasky sticks to mainly Netflix streaming. Although depending on your preferred shows and movies, you also have the option of Hulu Plus (or Hulu which is free!), Amazon Prime Video, HBO Go, Slingbox and much more.
Not sure which one to go for? See our comparison for Netflix vs Hulu vs Amazon Prime Video streaming networks. Have Netflix? Find out what's coming to your favorite streaming provider this month!
By using cash to pay for all trips to the market or store, you would be utilizing a highly effective, yet simple budgeting strategy. With the designated amount of cash to use on groceries and another household essential for the week/month, once you’ve used it up, that’s it. Using cards, on the other hand, won’t afford you the same mentality or results, and you would most likely spend more without that limit that cash creates.
You’d be surprised by the kind of deals you get from thrift stores. Wagasky shops for most of her home items and family clothing at thrift stores. As usual, you should also set a budget for all your thrifting trips. While thrifting, be sure to keep in mind the quality of the items you are purchasing. Thrifting doesn’t mean you are sacrificing quality, you can still find brand name clothing and items. It just means you’ll have to dig deep (as with any great sales!).
This could also be a way to grow a hobby and pick up new skills! Wagasky typically bakes her own bread, makes her own laundry detergent, and sticks to home cooking for cheaper and healthier meals. A bonus tip: use a clothesline as much as possible to save on your electricity bill.
As gas prices fluctuate often, Wagasky makes an effort to fill her gas tank once per month (twice max). With this in mind, the family would often run errands together in one car and limit long distance trips which help moderate their gas expenses. As a bonus tip, we also recommend carpooling, walking, or biking when possible!
Based on your experience with credit cards, try to gauge how much control you have over them. If you constantly rack up credit card debt and cannot pay it off fast enough, it’s time to put down the card. However, if you are disciplined with your credit card expenses, try to limit your credit card use to paying off bills or buying big ticket items so you can both keep track of your bills/budget and get cashback.
One plan of attack is never the right fit for everyone. Although Wagasky listed some incredible tips to help you start off, a little research goes a long way in helping you solve your specific financial issues. There are countless resources on the web and at your local library from finance to DIY guides so take advantage of these freebies and get yur learn on.
As with anything in life, go forward with a solid objective. If you’re single, figure out where your financial struggles are and how to best solve them. Have a big purchase you need to make? Map out how much you need to save and contribute your spending money toward those goals. Decide where you want to be financially in the upcoming years and budget around it.
Need some extra cash? Did you know there are apps out there that’ll pay you for things you probably already do? Yep, and here’s 12 of the best ones around. Start earning spare money now!
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