Budgeting for Success in 2014

Beginning the Journey 

With the New Year upon us, it is a time for resolutions and a renewed opportunity to change the direction of your life. I spent 2013 in a bit of blur. As a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM) I spend the days as chief operator of our home. Managing the household bills and caring for our 20 month old son. I never thought I would be the kind of person interested in being a SAHM, but everything changes once you have a child. The cost of childcare would have been half of my take home salary alone, and I would have never been home based on my previous salary.

Taking the plunge

So at least temporarily, I have been a stay at home mom, working to stretch our budget, save money, and find creative ways to get by. The number one thing I can recommend for anyone who is faced with the prospect of living off of one income, make a budget. Once you have established a budget based on your current spending habits consider how you can trim that budget. Do not make late payments. In order to get the best interest rates on loans and auto purchases, you will need good credit. So if you find yourself unable to make your bill payments on time contact your creditors and ask for an extension or a temporary hardship waiver of payments.

Budgeting

In 2008, I started watching a cute Canadian television show called “Til Debt Do Us Part”. It is a clever show that focuses on families or couples that are in financial trouble and helping them improve their finances and repair their relationships. This show was the show that helped me understand what budgeting is, and where to begin. The show’s host Gail Vaz-Oxlade has a website where you can find helpful spreadsheets to begin your personal budgeting.  I have used these spreadsheets to create a budget for myself and have used her debt tools to estimate a plan to get out of debt.

Cutting Your Costs

Once you have established your budget, look at every line item and determine if you can cut anything out of your budget. Many people talk about cutting that daily Starbucks out of your daily habits. While that is one way to reduce costs, it can be difficult to alter daily habits. I recommend that you look at ways to reduce your recurring monthly expenses.

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