Bad at Budgeting: How to Be Frugal When You Suck with Money

One of my main goals here at Yes, Plz is to share little tips and tricks to make your life easier and happier. Small daily changes that can make a big difference over time. Maybe it’s a way to cut a little extra sugar from your day, a way to be a little more efficient, you know just little life hacks! Today on the agenda I’m sharing a few ways that I made small tweaks that led to major financial changes, aka how to be frugal when you suck with money. An easy way to improve when you’re bad at budgeting!

bad at budgeting

Here’s a little background on my finances and this is a very personal post. Please do not judge and just know I’m being very open and honest in hopes this can help someone else too! SO here’s the lowdown- RJ and I have separate bank accounts and split most of our bills 50/50. I knew I was making more than my bills, yet I found myself with little money left over each month. I finally said enough and asked RJ to help me assess my finances. I knew I was bad at budgeting, but I had no idea what damage I was really doing.

I have two bank accounts and one emergency credit card with a $200 limit (this is just a personal choice, I know I’m bad at budgeting so I don’t give myself the option to charge because I know I’d get carried away). RJ and I sat down one evening at the very end of the month and pulled every single charge from that month. I would read it out and he would put it under the correct category (ie. groceries, gas, Amazon, Target, etc. etc.). We then highlighted any necessary charges (phone bill, utilities, business expenses, etc.). We added everything up and it was shocking. I was constantly spending $25 here, $30 there, $40 here and it was adding up so fast. Amazon Prime was a big one. In addition to clothes, I would just buy random things because it’s as easy as opening the app and swiping my finger. It was dangerous.

After looking at everything, I seriously was upset. I knew I was not the best with money but I truly had no idea how bad at budgeting I was. I cried that evening, I cried the next day. It was truly a wake-up call I needed. Then it was time for a change! Here are a few small changes I made that have already made a huge difference in my budget, without really affecting my day-to-day:

HOW TO STOP BEING BAD AT BUDGETING: 

  • Assess and Digest: I think this is the number one thing that helped my spending ways. Seeing it all laid out on paper, you cannot deny where your money is going. Create an excel sheet and categorize everything. You can see where it’s necessary and where it’s definitely a bad habit. 
  • Make a Plan: After I had my wake up call, I knew it was time for a plan. I looked at all the money I was spending and decided what could be cut back. I use the Mint App on my phone and can set a budget for every single category of my spending. This helps me see what money I should spend each month and what money I can put into savings. It connects to your bank accounts and each evening I go through and make sure all my purchases are going into the correct category. You can connect your bills to this account and see when they’re due. It also gives you push notifications for when you’re close to exceeding a budget or if you have gone over. I cannot say enough about this app, I love it! Download it and play around, it’s easy to get the hang of. 
  • Cut the Temptation: After seeing the damage, I realized some things were just too tempting for me. Mainly Target and Amazon. I seriously was addicted. I was spending $200+ every time I went to Target and was going twice a week if not more. And what did I have to show for it? Nothing that I could even remember. So, I stopped going to Target. In fact, I didn’t go for almost TWO MONTHS! Can you believe it? Sad, but I’m very proud of myself. Another place of major temptation is Amazon. Which is hard because Amazon is actually a big part of my business. I do make some money sharing Amazon finds on here and I couldn’t cut it off completely. I ended up deleting the app so I could only shop on my computer (less convenient), really thought about what I needed to purchase and would add things to my cart instead of purchasing right away. This would help me see what I was spending all together vs. just purchasing individual items which are so easy in the app. 
  • Be a Smarter Shopper: Realistically, I knew I couldn’t give up shopping altogether. One, it’s part of my job and two, it just makes me happy. So I had to find ways to be a smarter shopper. First, I deleted almost all the apps on my phone. I’m very guilty of late night browsing and ordering willy nilly. Now, I have to get on my computer to order which is more intentional. I also really think about what I need before I buy it. I think to myself, will I really be sad if I don’t have this in a month? If the answer is yes and it’s something small, I’ll buy it. I also think about my overall budget and how much it’s subtracting. Do I want to take that out of my budget? Yes, then I buy it. If it’s a large purchase, I sit on it for a few days at least. If I still feel the need to have it, I’ll discuss it with RJ or my mom and then buy it. Another way I’m smarter, I no longer purchase things right away. I’ll add it to my cart, 9 times out of 10, I never go back and get it and then I know I don’t truly need it. 

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I’m sure there are a few other random ways I’ve been saving money but I think these are the main tips! So, are you bad at budgeting? I want to hear what tips or tricks you use. Drop them in the comments below or come chat with us over on Instagram stories later (@RileySitton). I am getting much better at spending in just a few short months, now I want to really master the art of saving!

Want more Life Hacks? Check Out 10 Small Steps You NEED for a Healthier Life

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