I know talking about money isn’t glamorous. It’s not fun either, but when I shared on Instagram stories a few months back that we are working towards financial freedom, many of you were interested. I’m going to share a little about our big financial goals in this post and share some tips for sticking to a budget in 2020 in order to save more this year.
Tips for Sticking to A Budget in 2020
We have worked diligently to pay off debt in the past 5 years. We both had student loan debt and a car loan we needed to pay off, so now that we are debt-free (other than my gigantic student loan that we pay on each month) our next goal is to save. Saving means sticking to our budget, and trying not to spend any of our “extra” money and save it. Here are a few ways we plan to do that.
Quick note: I didn’t add this as a bullet point but it’s worth mentioning – my husband and I didn’t used to communicate about every purchase we made. (For example, me buying a refill of our laundry soap on Amazon, or him renting a movie. They’re little purchases, but they add up. The tips I mention kind of have communication and transparency built into them, so when all else fails; talk with your partner about what you buy. It will hopefully help increase the communication about the budget/spending!
01. Schedule out our days/weeks ahead of time.
One of the biggest issues with our spending in years past was the weekends. Unscheduled time and unplanned meals were the culprit for spending and impulse buys! We are really trying to reel that in this year with scheduling out our days. We generally have family time and spend lots of time outdoors together on the weekends. Husband and I are very minimal with the things we plan outside of this time. Partly because we don’t really have girls nights/guys nights out and we also don’t utilize a babysitter, as it isn’t something we’re comfortable with. So it’s pretty easy to stick to a consistent routine!
02. Meal plan and grocery shop only once a week.
If you’ve been following my veganuary meal plan sharing for the month of January, you have a pretty good idea of how the week flows for us as far as meals go! We eat a plant based diet, so we’re very intentional with our recipes and planning. We also budget $200 a week for groceries and try really hard to stick to that. Therefore, planning helps us achieve that!
Read: how I meal plan for the week
03. Use cash envelopes for our main categories of spending.
We’ve tried the cash envelope thing, and it’s worked well for us so far. We set up a budget for things like meals out (only 2 per week), coffee out (once per week), groceries, and any miscellaneous expenses we would use cash for. Twice a month, my husband goes to the bank and gets the cash out. We then distribute it into the various envelopes and only use the cash when we purchase something. Psychologically, it’s very different handling cash versus swiping a card. So I’d say overall it’s pretty effective!
04. Order from Amazon only once a month.
Raise your hand if you impulse purchase from Amazon at least once a month. Yep. Me too. That is, until last month. We tried to instead of just purchasing things right away from Amazon, we’d add them to the cart and let them sit there until the first of the following month comes around. Then we would review the order together and buy what we need for the month. This method has severely limited my impulse buys and I’m super happy with how much self-control it’s allowed me to exercise.
05. Go to Costco only once a month.
Same idea as the above bullet point. Instead of swinging by Costco weekly, I’ve been going once a month to get our Costco staples. We do our main grocery shopping at our local grocery store or Whole Foods, so we don’t buy a ton at Costco. That being said, we keep a running list of bulk item (quinoa, cashews, Banza pasta, peanut butter, husband’s bread, etc.) and we just replenish that each month! We’ve been doing this for several months and it’s helped us cut our Costco spending a ton. You can do this same thing with Target too – if you seem to spend a lot there. I don’t anymore after quitting fast fashion. (Which I also highly recommend if you want to lessen your spending! Haha.)
06. We won’t take any BIG family vacations.
Since we have two kids under five, we aren’t really interested in major travel right now, anyway. It’s expensive and stressful with younger kids. We do love taking small weekend trips around our beautiful part of the country, however, so we will do that instead! It does save us quite a bit of money not to travel right now, so that’s the main reason we don’t!
Anyway, this isn’t a comprehensive post by any means. But it’s a starting point. These are the concrete steps we are taking this year to get our spending to a point where we are telling our money where to go. We also have a goal to fully fund our sinking fund. We set up the categories and need to start getting that squared away. We already save quite a bit, but we are ready to take that next step as we both start out our 30’s here in 2020!
I hope this post on tips for sticking to a budget in 2020. was helpful to you! Thank you so much for reading!