Tag Archives: spreadsheet

How do you save money & how to get started?

2 Apr

Was it out of necessity that you became more frugal? Did you get laid off from work? I don’t claim to be an expert by any means but this is my story on how I began saving and being frugal!

When my husband and I got married we agreed we should get a handle on our spending/saving and plan for the future! When I was a single gal, I used to spend most of my income on clothes, purses, and shoes and I wouldn’t really have a clue how much I spent each month more or less each shopping trip! Hubby and I agreed that although I didn’t need to stop spending, we at least had to know how much we were spending.

We started out by figuring out just how much money we were spending versus how much we were making! We merged bank accounts and got an idea on our total debt (from school loans, cars, etc.) Instead of spending money on a budget program, my smart with money hunny created a very personalized spreadsheet just for us! We started by keeping all receipts and gauging what we spent our money on. Each time we brought home a receipt, the total went onto the spreadsheet in its appropriate category. What began as very generalized columns such as food, shopping, fun stuff, house hold items, etc. became much more detailed to include eating out, groceries, personal (non-necessity) items, electronics, pets, vacation, leisure/entertainment (movies, concerts) and the list goes on. This gave us a very good picture of just where our money was going. We then tallied this up with how much money we were making each month and how much debt we were paying off. It turns out we were doing alright, but we agreed we wanted to also begin saving for kids, our retirement, vacations and other important/expensive things! Our spreadsheet took off from there and after several years of tweaking we were putting money into Roth IRAs for our retirement, baby and vacation savings, and still paying down loans and chipping away at our debt.

Now that our little guy has come along, our savings and general frugalness has taken a bigger role in my life. Since we are down to 1 income, I’ve become much more aware of how much we’re spending and how to cut little corners here and there!

Saving is a constant and ever-changing process, but each day I focus on the small picture of savings, like coupon clipping, finding deals online, and freebies, while my hubby helps keep the focus on our bigger picture (larger savings items, and paying down debt). Together we have a system that works well for us!

I’m no expert but hopefully I can share a tip or two with you that will help you be more penny-wise.

Stay tuned for a more detailed post with our spreadsheet and how we itemize our spending!

What works for you and your family? Leave a comment!

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