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Budget OVER $1500 by Christmas (without being a crazy frugal…you know what)

Can you imagine this, paying CASH for Christmas? In our household we call it a Cash Christmas. Have you ever experienced one? Imagine when January rolls around and there are NO bills haunting your inbox or mailbox from stuff you purchased in December? Well, IT FEELS SO GOOD! Today we are going to chat about THREE money saving tricks you thought were too hard or too frugal to accomplish


Full disclosure: My husband and I are Dave Ramsey followers. I understand completely that the Ramsey journey is not for everyone. When I started to research ‘budgeting tips’ after getting our taxes back in 2017, we started with just a few tips that I found on Pinterest. Around the end of that year, I found Dave and his team at Ramsey Solutions. After listening to, on audible, and then reading (I did not believe my ears about this) The Total Money Makeover, and then countless hours of The Dave Ramsey Show Podcast, we dove into the complete program in March of 2018. We found ourselves ‘sick and tired’ after our kitchen remodel project. If anyone has questions on this, please let me know. I can help.


The tips below that I am sharing are easy, little nuggets that my husband and I learned and implemented back in 2017 to get started. We did not think we were ‘that bad.’ No one ever does. Nor did we know about Dave Ramsey. Now, I am so humbled by this journey. I know how stubborn my husband and I were, these little things started a momentum that got our financial crap together. This is NOT how you start the Dave Ramsey Baby Steps. This is simply something we started to do, and it opened our eyes to what debt freedom could look like if we buckled down and did it.


Finally, I am NOT a frugal person. I love a budget because I know what it can do for the future whether personal or business. I am a total spender. I do not buy the cheapest of anything, I believe firmly that you get what you pay for. To this day, I am not a dollar store shopper and even get a little grossed out by discount stores…lol. No judgement, I just have issues – we all do, so I expect no judgement out of you…To be honest, some of the ‘frugal’ research I have done makes me uncomfortable. I would NEVER count TP squares in my home, measure out everything, order the cheapest thing on the menu at restaurant, tip less than 20%, or ask to split a meal out of frugality. We have however, during our debt pay off journey, turned down some invites to things that randomly popped in the month (not budgeted for) or decided to only participate in certain parts of a friends night, turned down vacations, and had our fair share of Little Caesars Hot n Ready $5 pizzas for our date nights. Oh yes, and did I mention? I am a TERRIBLE couponer… I believe they suck you in to buy crap you don’t need. (Don’t even get me going on this one…lol) The good news, WE SURVIVED, and it was only temporary. Here is how!

 

1.) Review your app and subscriptions


You will find more than you can believe here! There are a few places to find these. First, go through all of your statements. Write down EVERYTHING that is a monthly subscription. In this, I am including Amazon, cable, streaming, memberships, plus monthly charges in phone/device apps.


HOW to find what apps you are paying for if you have an iPhone: Settings > Click on your name > Subscriptions. That is where they all live 😊. TIP: You can just put them on pause from now until the end of the year! You do not have to delete and never go back, but is there fitness app that is $10 a month that you haven’t used in 3 months? Are you paying for a clothing membership that you have not used since March?


While digging through your statements, did you find 4 different streaming options that you are paying for? Do you have cable, Hulu (cost about $12.99/month), Netflix (cost about $12.99/month) and Disney Plus (cost about $7/per month)? Did you know, the average household cable package is now about $217 per month? THROW UP in my mouth. If you cancelled that now – December and put it in a sinking fund (savings account/stash) you would have OVER $600 to spend on your family for Christmas. What do you do with these TV options - Okay, you need to break up with at least 2. You will be okay. It is only temporary. Imagine paying cash for all your kids and families Christmas gifts this year? Not paying on this crap until March/April of the following year? That is way better than some TV show…


To wrap this up, get ALL the numbers and review what you can live without. Then cancel them or put them on hold.


PERSONAL TRICK for Amazon and any other online retail therapy sessions: Wait 24 hours before making a purchase over $25 (or come up with a number that makes sense). When my husband were going through our journey, it was $25. We still do this, our threshold is $100 now. You can read on it, take it in and out of your cart, but you have to ask yourself the following questions in that 24 hours:


a.) Will this add value to my life and how will it help?

b.) Is this REALLY something I will use? – OMG, I have so much crap I do not use!

c.) Is this just an impulsive purchase that I can live without?


These questions sound ridiculous BUT they help!!! Track how many times you did this. You will be amazed!


2.) Use Cash Envelopes


I love the envelope system and yes, we do get made fun of by many people. You will too, but you are strong, I know it. Also, last time I checked, it is your future and your household, not theirs. It is not always about the fact that you MUST say no when the envelope is gone, it is more about the idea that once the money is gone, you are much more aware of what you spent. The first few times make you a little sick.


Here is an idea! Start with these 4 envelopes. These categories are easy to use cash and it is only four! How to do it: Take out 4 envelopes, each one with the category and fill them with the cash. Make sure to label them with dates too, are you filling these for the week? the month? a pay period?


a.) Groceries: Budget to be used on food and household items

b.) Spending: You and your partner get your own, and this is cash for little things like a coffee, lunch at work, or a snack on the road

c.) Gas: That is right, gas for your vehicle

d.) Dining Out: Ordering take out, or feeling like a night out? This is the one!


How do you determine how much goes in the envelope? This takes a little research. Download your statements for the last 3 months and come up with an average for each! Obviously, if you have 5 kids, your grocery budget will be higher than someone with none. Also, maybe organic produce is important to you, great! Come up with a budge that suits you and your family. Be realistic BUT do not go overboard. If you are spending, on average $600 per month on take out. You can do better. Image cutting that down to $300 per month. Guess what – that is another $900 we found you from now until Christmas.


We started with these simple envelope categories and have developed into an entire customized system.


3.) Earn a little extra or sell some stuff


Many of you are independent stylists, commission based, or salon owners, so you KNOW what you need to do to make more money. ADD ON SERVICES! Request a little competition at work! I know all of your owners would love it! You have 11 weeks until Christmas. Imagine earning $10 for every add on service you do. If you did a tiny amount like 5 per week…you would earn over $500! Not to mention, we have luxury add ons as well. You must get excited and you MUST track it! Stay excited and remember your why – you don’t want to be paying for Christmas 2020 until Spring Break 2021.


Now, if you do not have the ability to do this with your career, can you pick up a side hustle a couple days a week? If not, that is okay too. I am going to advise you to do a little cleaning, and SELL STUFF! That is right, clean out your closets, your basement, and your garage. What are you not using? Sell it!!! There are so many sites now to sell items. There is Craiglist, Ebay, FB Marketplace, Let It Go… the list goes on! Do not forget, local auction sites. We have sold a ton of items through a local online auctioneer. Get yourself organized AND make a little cash. If you have no idea how to list or sell things online phone a friend that does! You can do this!

 

These are just a few easy nuggets for you to get started. Honestly, I literally gave examples on how you could have an extra $1700 in you pocket for Christmas. They included, your cable bill, budgeting food, working a little harder at work (or doing your job while at work), and selling some items in your home you do not use.


This does take WORK and RESEARCH. In case you forgot, you are worth the work!!! Get out there and do it for you and your family! Create that beautiful life you have been dreaming of 😊


Cheers and xo,




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