It’s Frugal Friday! Each week, I’ll share tips, encouragement, and practical ideas for living a frugal lifestyle. If you’re just starting to think about living a frugal lifestyle, or of you’re deciding to re-commit to being frugal, we hope you’ll find this series helpful. Last time we discussed the meaning of the word frugal. This week, we’ll start taking a closer look at how to get there.
As a new year begins, it’s a great time to get a handle on your finances. One aspect of being frugal is creating a budget. But before we can dive into budgeting, we need to take a closer look at how we’re spending now. Do you know where your household’s money goes on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis? You probably know the approximate amounts you spend each month for your mortgage, car payment, or utilities. But chances are, the amounts your family spends on eating out, clothing, grooming, car repairs, and other miscellaneous expenses might be a little harder to nail down.
A friend of mine calls these Money Drains…the places where money can sometimes slip right through your budget, never to be seen again. That’s not to say that frugal people can never spend money in these areas, but we need to do it with awareness and a plan.
So before we create a budget, spend a week tracking your spending. By tracking, I mean grab a notebook and write down everything that comes out of your pocket. Bills, groceries, gas for your vehicles, coffee out, lunch money for the kids…everything.
There’s a pretty good chance that just by writing down your expenses, you’ll find a few things that jump out at you as places that could be scaled back. Keep those in mind as you go forward. You might also spot an area or two where your expenses might surprise you. If you find an area where you’re spending more than you realize, it’s okay–realizing it is the first step toward dealing with it.
So this week, track those expenses. Write it all down. We’ll check back in next Friday and talk more about how to use that information to help form a budget.
If you’re just joining the Frugal Friday series, check out these other posts:
- What “Frugal” Means
- Creating a Budget
- Making Frugal Choices
- Fighting Spending Envy
- Could You Cut the Cable?
- Saving on Food Expenses
- Schedule to Save (keeping track of due dates to avoid fees & penalties)
- Staying Organized with Holiday Shopping & Rebates
- Frugal Lovin’ (Love & money, plus date night on a Shoestring Budget)
- Waste Not, Want Not (buying what you’ll use, and using what you buy)
- Frugal Fashion
- Frugal Beauty
- Frugal Cooking tip: Prep Once, Eat Twice!
- Budget Check-Up
- Plan ahead for Christmas
- Creating an Emergency Fund
- Getting by on a Single Income
- Reducing Fixed Expenses
- Free Printable Frugal Living Resources (meal planners, expense trackers, and more!)
- Saving on Gasoline
- Tips for Tax Time
- Healthy Eating on a Budget
- Frugal Living with Kids
- Frugal Fitness
- Save with Second-Hand
- Wills and Life Insurance
Megan has been frugal most of her life, but has been really honing her frugal skills as the chief home economist for her family of six, surviving and thriving on a single (teacher’s!) income. If she can do it, you can too!