budget

Welcome to the new year! Each new year brings a fresh start for living. We often want a fresh start for our diet. Many of us think of January 1st as a day when we can have a do-over. My diet is already in motion, but my main focus is to take a fresh look at the budget.

As a retired couple, our budget is more important than ever. There are limited resources when the job income stops, so we need to make the most of them. There is always room to improve the budget and there are numerous ways to look at it with fresh 2020 eyes.

Categories

One of my favorite ways to examine the budget is by looking at each category. As we look at each section, we then analyze individual purchase type and decide if or what we can save. Here are some of the categories that always seem to be flexible:

books
  • Food – cutting down on eating out or using generic brands and coupons. use apps, cash-back, and rebates to save even more.
  • Utilities – can we lower the temperature by one or two degrees? we can make sure that the dishwasher is full and close the heavy drapes on cold nights. we wash most of our clothes in cold water.
  • Automobile – we drive old cars and keep them well-maintained. plan trips to town, do errands on one day per week (or order online)
  • Housing – if you’re in a rental, are you doing the best you can on pricing? is there a place that you live and save money each month? if you own your home, can you do more of the maintenance yourself?
  • Insurance – this is easy to find comparison prices for. many insurance websites will help you compare prices and switch to a policy that saves you money.
  • Medical – this is the biggest drain on our retirement budget. I don’t yet have medicare, so private insurance and medical bills are a huge drain. we shop for the best deal possible when picking my policy.
  • Investing – make sure that you’re saving for rainy days and the future. retirement comes sooner than you think.

Cash Back and Rewards

You have no choice but to spend money. You might as well get rewarded for spending it. I use every cash back and rewards program that I can to earn income for the budget. As we just finished the holiday shopping, I’m happy to see all the cash-back and rewards I’ve earned.

I use cash-back programs like Swagbucks and Rakuten. My rewards credit cards have also enriched the budget. It’s wonderful to see all the free gift cards! I love the Discover cash-back program and my US Bank cards have great cash-back, too.

cash

Personal Spending

You’ve already seen how to deal with budget categories. But, we all have our little personal spending wants. We want to make some purchases that seem small, but can add up to be enough to break the budget. Since we don’t want to spend more than we make, these small budget busters need to be addressed.

  • Pampering items – if you’ve decided to cut back on spending, that means everything must be looked at. do you really need that new beauty product? use up what you have before you make more purchases. do you really need to buy that latte? take coffee from home and save money every week.
  • Books – if you love to read, check out the local library. you can even get digital copies now!
  • Manicures – paint your own nails or just go natural
  • Hair – haircuts and styling doesn’t have to cost a fortune. I use Great Clips and save a ton!

Save on your Food Budget by using a Meal Planner. Planning meals helps you to save money by only purchasing foods that you’ll need for specific meals. If prevents food waste and allows for healthier eating. Would you like to have a FREE MEAL PLANNER? Grab mine today!

@2020, copyright Lisa Ehrman


Lisa Ehrman

Lisa has been blogging since 2013, and loves sharing resources and ideas for living a simple life. To get free printables, bonus words, and more - sign up for the newsletter.

14 Comments

Sarah L · January 2, 2020 at 2:55 am

Good tips. I already do most of these (the library is my best friend). I do have a personal thing that I will spend money on: a massage every other week. I save money by going to a massage school where I can get a massage from a student at the end of their training.

    chronicallycontent · January 2, 2020 at 5:36 pm

    Massage school sounds like a wonderful idea! I need to search for one, too 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

Linda Linneman · January 13, 2020 at 10:32 am

I am always trying to save where I can. I cut back on my work days and needless to say, the budget has gotten tighter. Thank you so much for sharing this great informative article. God Bless

chronicallycontent · January 13, 2020 at 7:09 pm

I’m so glad that the information was helpful. It’s so hard when the budget gets tighter (even as the prices on everything seem to get higher). I hope that you can find a good balance. 🙂

Peggy Nunn · January 17, 2020 at 7:35 pm

Thank you for such good information. I am showing it to my husband.

Mary Gardner · February 3, 2020 at 4:44 pm

Thanks for all of the great tips and information. We cut out a lot of extra spending when we decided that eating out would be a special thing that we do only once a month.

Carmela Garofalo · February 4, 2020 at 9:39 pm

Great tips

Calvin · February 12, 2020 at 6:55 pm

Always good to have an updated glance at your own budget. It’s nice so you can have better vision of the goal.

Shannon · October 22, 2020 at 7:20 am

These are great tips, thanks for sharing with us.

Debbie P · December 6, 2020 at 10:39 pm

Thanks for the great tips and ideas. The new year is right around the corner and i need to re-do my budget.

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