Making 𝑪𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒔: Practical Budgeting Tips for the New Year

Happy New Year, friends!

Buckle up because today I'm talking budgeting! 

I spent the week between Christmas and New Years tallying up my year-end numbers as a way to measure growth and forecast the future. It's the one side of small business ownership that my creative brain loathes. And while 2021 was good to The Painted Pearl and this sweet small business life, I realized there were ways I could trim down business expenses and cut back on convenience foods for my family without making radical changes that would result in a retaliation from my Frye guys. 

While I'm not a financial planner and prefer to leave the finances to my husband, who's a banker, some of his penny-pinching ways have rubbed off on me over the years. And what better time than the new year to make a few small changes to set ourselves up for success, amiright?!? 

These ideas aren't new but I hope they serve as a reminder to us all as a way to reign it in so we can make it rain!  (I love a good pun!)

Tip #1 Evaluate Subscriptions & Memberships

If you subscribe to a monthly, quarterly or annual service that no longer serves the intended purpose, cancel it! Right now! Sometime last year I switched online shipping services from ($17.99 monthly fee) to Pirate Ship ($0 monthly fee.) However, I failed to cancel the account and continued to be charged $17.99 per month for a service I didn't use for the better part of 2021! 🤦‍♀️ By taking 30 seconds to log in and cancel my account, I freed up $215 in my 2022 budget!! That's time well spent!

So take that time to look through your automatic drafts for services, subscriptions and memberships and really evaluate which ones work for you and which ones need to go!

Tip #2 Transfer Payment App Balances to Bank Accounts

I'll be the first to admit that accruing balances in my Venmo and PayPal account are often treated like "fun money." The balance builds up over weeks, or months, and when I go to purchase something fun or frivolous and see that they accept PayPal, it's as if it's "free" money paying for something I likely don't need and doesn't deduct from my checking account bottom line. 

In 2022, I plan to transfer payment app balances (from Venmo and PayPal) to my checking account twice a month (15th and 30th) as a way to grow my bank account balance and curb the spending on those non-essential items I tend to splurge on. Out of site, out of mind, out of pocket! 

Tip #3 The Envelope System

If you're at all familiar with Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, then you're familiar with The Envelope System. Essentially, it's setting aside cash amounts per month for certain categories as a way to lower your monthly credit card bills and better budget for the items you spend the most money on. For us, that's convenience foods (restaurants and fast food) and groceries! When we pay in plastic, there never seems to be a limit on what we spend. When we pay in cash, we only have so much to dole out.

For 2022, I've brought back The Envelope System for the two categories I mentioned above where I know we spend too much money. For the convenience foods and restaurants, I've allotted $100 for the month. That's not a lot when you're feeding a family of four that includes two growing boys! Secondly, I've budgeted $400 per month towards groceries. This first month or two might take some tweaking but that's what we're starting with. It's forcing me to meal plan and make budget-friendly meals using things I already have on hand. We're only one week into January but I managed to get the groceries we need for the week on $100 by shopping at Aldi and Wal-Mart and sticking to my list!!

Rachel Cruze, the daughter of Dave Ramsey, recently launched a new leather wallet with a built-in envelope system. I was in the market for a new wallet and bought this for myself for Christmas but having this wallet is totally not necessary to use the envelope system! Plain ole envelopes work just fine! I simply purchased this to kill two birds with one stone - a new zip-closure wallet and the built-in envelopes. 

Speaking of Dave Ramsey & Wal-Mart, I picked up this super handy budgeting notebook at Wal-Mart for less than $3 and it follows the Dave Ramsey monthly budgeting worksheets almost to a T. Brand is Wal-Mart Pen + Gear and it retails for only $2.88. 

Tip #4 Make These Apps Work For You

Have some nice, designer duds that are too good for Goodwill? List them on secondhand selling sites like PoshMark. Some sites will take a fee but budget that in when you set your selling price! Just be sure to cash out and not turn around and spend your balance on new designer duds! 😉

Online grocery ordering serves two purposes for me. 1) Saves me time on weeks I can't get to the actual grocery store and 2) I always spend less since I can visually see what's tallying up in my cart. I often go back through my virtual cart to weed out the things I don't really need. And remember, just because it's BOGO doesn't mean you have to get two! Just purchase one and get it at half off. 

Get Upside is a great cash back app for gasoline & restaurants. I've been using it for a couple of years for gasoline alone and more and more stations are participating in the program making it more convenient to use! When it's time to fill up my car, I head to my neighborhood pumps and open the app to see their offer, or other offers near me. You upload your receipts right on the app or follow their "check in" instructions. Within 1-2 business days, your cash back amount will appear in your Get Upside balance.

While it does take some time to accrue a balance using this app, it's a no brainer because 1) we're always needing to fill up our cars and 2) you can't turn around and spend it on something else while you fill up your gas & $$ tank. But you can cash out your balance when you're ready! I typically wait until my balance reaches $100 before cashing out. 

Use this link to sign up for your own Get Upside account and get $.15 cash back on your first qualifying fill-up.  

If you've stuck with me for this long, bless you and thank you for reading! If you walk away with one new tip or trick to try, I've done my job! And if you have a money saving, budget-friendly tip to share, leave one in the comments for myself and others to read! 



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