Don’t be scared of the budget (that could be our biggest budgeting tip!). In this episode all about the freedom (yes!) a budget can give, we spill the beans about our life before we were serious budgeters and the event that caused us to get really serious about tracking our finances and saving for things. And now that budgeting is a habit, what are the benefits of keeping to a budget and planning for the future? Since neither of us are spreadsheet nerds we found a system that’s doable and sustainable for us – free spirits that we are – and obviously encourage you to do so, too. Also, Jami’s #1 tip for eating well on a budget and some really cool things.
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We talked about how some of our best ideas came from the fact that we didn’t have a lot of money. Like the brown paper floor Jami first added to our Portland bungalow and then used in our ranch-turned-cottage – first in our daughter’s room, shown above, and then in our son’s room.
The Budget Beginnings
To some people, “budget’ is a dirty word. For us, it’s become the key to living intentionally. These two resources that we talked about helped us on our journey:
The Tightwad Gazette started us down the road of living a budget-minded life. And not just a life without money – this was key. It was thinking about money and activities differently that was so helpful for us. We started thinking about what our goals were and things that would last. When you have this mindset, dinners out, cable, and new clothes don’t hold a candle.
It was Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace products and Total Money Makeover book that helped understand the value of a budget that tracked everything – every dollar in and every out – as well as why and how to have an emergency fund. And when we started tracking everything (not just our food, clothes, etc. in cash envelopes) is when we were finally able to reach some of the goals we had longed dreamed of.
When there’s a category budget, you can take a trip to Greece and Kosovo, pay off debt from a new garage, and buy a new-used car with cash. Or just buy that couch or boots because there’s a column in the budget for it. #noguilt
Menu planning is one of my tricks to eating well on a budget (and also to eat consistently healthier). I complied a list of menus around seasonal eating to save even more – 6 weeks for every season – plus shopping menus in Seasonal Dinner Menus: Simple Satisfying and From Scratch that you can download for FREE when you subscribe to AOC’s newsletter (along with a ton of other free downloads in the VIP subscriber library!).
There are also monthly menu plans here to give even more ideas using recipes found on AOC.
Here are the recipes for the “many meals from one” idea:
- Make this Rotisserie Style Spiced Whole Chicken in the Slow Cooker.
- Eat it one night and choose from one of these recipes for another night.
- Make an easy stock right in the slow cooker you cooked it in and then make soup.
This is Really Cool!
Brian’s: The sleek and does only what’s essential Chromebook computer (budget-friendly!)
Jami’s: Dark chocolate after dinner, especially Trader Joe’s Pound Plus 72% Dark Chocolate Bar.
One More Saving Idea:
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