Budget Binder!

I have been working on this for awhile and updating it every month, it is my own personal budget binder filled with various printables to keep my spending ON TRACK!!

I have pages that outline my spending and where it is going, goals for myself, chances to check in after the month and see how my spending went and compare it to what my prediction was! This has been SO helpful in helping me stay on track. Knowing that I have to write down how much I spend has helped me to limit the amount that I am spending on unnecessary items.

Before I had started my tracking, I was very unaware of where all my money had been going and it was becoming a big problem! It was fairly easy to find all kinds of templates in order to start making my budget binder. I also added in a clear page protector to keep all of my receipts together and in order! Oh my goodness did I have papers everywhere before! I would lose my important receipts and they were so disorganised. This way, I have them all in one neat area and they are all organised based on months.

Honestly, whether you are trying to save money or not, YOU NEED TO DO THIS!

Here are some links to the templates that I used!

2016 Budget Binder

Printable Budget Binders

Monthly Budget Binder

Budgeting for Beginners

Check out this video to watch me explain my binder! 🙂

That’s A Wrap

Well, this is the closing post for this learning project in ECMP 355. I have definitely learned a lot about budgeting throughout this journey! I always thought that in order to budget you had to have a big background in accounting or something fancy. BUT NOPE! Any old folk like you and I are able to effectively budget and save up money! I will be honest that it was very intimidating at first and I fell off track a time or two for sure. I have learned that making a budget and writing it all out helps SO much! When you have a written plan, it makes you stay more accountable and lets you SEE where your money I

I was very nervous to tackle budgeting as a learning project because I didn’t really think that there was much out there to help me succeed nor did I think that I had the will power to do such a thing! I have always liked spending my money and have struggled saving it up. I was so so happy with my progress on this goal and all of my new knowledge is something that I can take with me and use in the future! How great is this!? There is actually SO many resources on budgeting. Go check out my Pinterest Board on budgeting to catch a glimpse of a few of them! Also check out my Twitter to see suggestions and ideas that peers have suggested!

I bet you are all curious how I ended up doing with my money at the end of this learning project… Drum roll… I GET TO TAKE MYSELF ON VACAY!!! As excited as I am that I have built up a sufficient fund for some travelling, I am a lot more grateful for the experience! Teaching myself online has been very eye-opening! I realise that I am very capable of budgeting and I have found so many creative ways to still have fun while saving money and interesting money saving goals to keep things fun. I would have never participated in a spending freeze before because it would have seemed impossible but it is EASY with the right preparation! I have even began to think differently about the food that I am buying and I am a lot smarter now! I would just go in the store and buy whatever caught my eye (a large part of my groceries is produce) and I wouldn’t have time to eat it all and then most of it would GO BAD. What a waste!! Now I buy less groceries, more often. I buy just what I need and will use and then stock up again when its gone. NOTHING goes to waste anymore! YAY

So, now what?? I am definitely not done with this learning project and with this class coming to an end, I have some new goals in mind!

  1. Learn how to COUPON
  2. Create a budget to help me pay off my new student loans (super sad face)

I have been working on a budgeting tools document where I have a bunch of essentials such as podcasts, books, apps, cheap or free activities, meal prep ideas etc. that I can refer to when creating a new budget or if I am having troubles staying on track. It is by no means a finished product because I plan to continually be looking for new budgeting ideas!

Budgeting Tools

Thank you for following along with my learning and I hope that you have a few ideas to take away! Yay for saving money 🙂

Let’s Talk Envelopes!

So, a little while ago I started using a cash envelope system. I wanted to test it out for awhile to see if it would actually work for me. I did a little research into this idea and came up with quite a few articles all outlining exactly how to go about using the envelopes and how to efficiently incorporate them. Dave Ramsey gives a great description in this article The Envelope System.  The The Budget Mom also gives a great example with pictures which I loved! I used hers as the basis to get started. First of all, I had to decide what categories I needed for my envelopes and then I had to decide how much I was going to allow myself each month for the categories.

  1. Bills
  2. Gas
  3. GroceriesIMG_1668
  4. For Fun
  5. Others

These were the categories I decided on. For my ‘bills’ I included my rent and utilities, ‘for fun’ included going out to eat, for drinks and other activities and ‘others’ included any medication, beauty supplies, clothing and house stuff.

I figured out how much I usually spend on these items by tracking my spending for awhile and then decided on an amount that I could spend for each month on them. I gave each a different colour to keep them organised. I planned out my shopping strategically so that I didn’t have to carry these around everyone and it also limited non-sense spending.

I am very much a visual learner, so this was PERFECT for me! I was able to see exactly how much money I had for the month and what it was going to be spent on. It eliminated a lot of unnecessary spending and it forced me to stop and think about what I was spending money on and whether or not it was worth it! I realised that I can still have fun while saving money!

I would 10/10 recommend this technique!

Meal Prepin’ Queen

ALRIGHT LET’S TALK MEAL PREP!

Seriously people, just do it!

Meal prepping will save your life and your budget! I have been meal prepping for quite awhile now and after doing extensive research on budgeting, I have came to the conclusion that setting up a meal plan and sticking to it is a key success factor in saving money! I have found that it is best to figure out what is on sale first and then plan your meals around the things that are on sale. For example, if ground beef is on sale, then plan to make things like tacos, lasagna or enchiladas. It is a little hard to keep track of all the stores sales and when the best time to visit the grocery store is BUT there is an awesome app called Flipp! Jordan does an amazing tutorial and review of this product below. It is a GREAT tool for shopping! You can select your favourite stores and it will tell you what is on sale at the time. You can even search items and the best deals will come up! You can create shopping lists and browse flyers and circle the items that you want.

I have a hard time with this sometimes because I try to keep a clean eating diet which doesn’t involve the cheap items that usually go on sale at stores or ones that you can get a bang for your buck with. I eat a lot of things like quinoa, ground turnkey, fresh produce, almond milk, whole wheat/organic products etc. which can get fairly costly. So, my grocery trips can get pricey and it has been a little discouraging when trying to save money. I have found a few great recipes that can be budget friendly that I will post below. I also found out that my grandma lov03438b9c5fb58679608c9cda6d530c11_grandma-cooking-grandmas-grandma-cooking-clipart_1130-1300.jpeges cooking with me so I will make cooking dates with her every so often and she will supply most of the ingredients (yay money saved!). I come home with SO MANY meals prepped and ready to go (and some sweets because can you really cook with grandma and expect not to take home some treats).

 

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This was my last haul from #cookingwithgrandma! Yep that is homemade fettuccine, cinnamon buns, protein balls, chicken noodle soup from scratch,  homemade buns, healthy version of ‘monkey poop’, Crockpot Mexican Quinoa Taco Mix and Quinoa and Chicken Chili. I need to stop blogging about food because I’m getting hungry!

This is also another GREAT go-to meal prep recipe! Love me some Tasty vids!

I always keep my eyes out for sales on ground turkey and chicken breast! I use it in a lot of my cooking, also finding out what stores have the best deals on produce since I go through so much of it! I have been looking for new tips and tricks on how to make my produce last longer because as I hate to admit this, it sometimes doesn’t always get used up before it goes bad (downfall of only shopping and cooking for myself)

Check out this video because I learnt so much from it!

Meal prepping has:

-kept my eating on track

-reduced and eliminated food waste

-saved me time and money &

-taught me how to properly grocery shop

Try it out for even a month and see what magic takes place! Remember to report back to me 🙂

Weekly Goal #3

SAY NO TO 3!!

I got this idea from the amazing Jordan Page’s Blog. The main idea is that you say no to three things that you normally wouldn’t in order to save more money that week or month. I decided to try this out for a week first. I had to think of three realistic things that I could give up for a week and that would substantially save me money so that I could be motivated to do this again. I decided to give up:

  1. Getting my nails done (which usually costs $40 per month)
  2. Getting food and drinks after work
  3.  No coffee or tea on campus!

Overall, I did pretty good. I ended up getting one coffee.. I was at the university for 12 hours so I deserved it okay! and I had one sangria after work (also granted because it was on special and I had a very long shift!)

After completing this I tried it out a few more times with other items and ended up cutting out getting my nails done and eyelash extensions permanently! GUYS this is a big deal and the rewards are so great!!

I am so excited I made this to showcase me flyin off into the clouds 🙂

Weekly Goal #2

NO EATING OUT!!

Okay, so this is actually a lot harder than it seems! I have been tracking my spending and its actually so crazy the amount of money that I spend on ‘eating out’ activities. Whether its going out for supper, grabbing a coffee and muffin, picking up some ice cream etc. it all adds up!! Stop making these silly mistakes.

Can anyone else relate to this meme? I always have an overwhelming amount of food at home but yet I still find myself getting food on campus or after work (I am a server, so it is very easy to order food when I am starving after work). It has come to be just the popular norm. ‘Hey want to grab a bite to eat and catch up?’ Sound familiar? What happened to the good days of making supper together or having coffee at someones house? We needs these kinds of days back to help our wallet stay fat!

I found that it was especially hard to say no to eating out because it meant that I had to take more time out of my day to pack lunches/coffee/tea etc. with me wherever I went and I am always in a rush because I always have so much going on! Anyone else feel me? Also, all my friends were getting these fancy lunches and drinks and I just had my own plain packed lunches. I soon realised the importance of packing lunches the night before because there is nothing worse than heading out the door in a rush and grabbing random items for lunch!

I have been keeping track of this progress in a little notebook, and I can successfully say that I went the whole week without using any money on food-related items (minus grocery shopping) YAY! This gave me a lot of confidence that I can say no to eating out and save a ridiculous amount of money from it!

Budget Advice!

Yet again, another amazing video from Jordan Page!

I cannot even say enough good things about this video. IT IS LIFE CHANGING! She talks about a system that she uses all the time and outlines it SO easily! She sets a limit for herself each month (groceries and other) and then splits it up for the weeks in the month. She gives some very useful advice here! Seriously people, please watch!

Budget Advice

I tried this out and it went so good!! (Mine literally looked exactly like her set up) Honestly, it was super hard to stay on track and just knowing that I had made such a little spending goal for myself, it made me want to go buy unnecessary items! BUT I stick to my goal and I was able to save up so much extra money that I was not able to before!

I have been loving looking for different budgeting methods to try out so far!! I am constantly coming across new techniques to try and it is kinda fun to see what I can try and what will save me the most money! YAY for S A V I N G $$$$.

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