February 13, 2019

Being More Mindful About My Money

It is 2019 and my word of the year is MINDFUL. Mindful about what I put IN my body. Mindful about what I put ON my body. Mindful about how I spend my money. This is the year that I want to have financial freedom. Why? For my future. Everything I am doing now will impact my future quality of life and the quality of a family's life. I wish I would have started this earlier but to me, better late than never.

Mindful Spending

This is kind of embarrassing that I am not better with my spending. I am always thrifty and conservative when it comes to spending. However, this month was the time I finally was going to break it all down. And boy was that scary. I was in a shock at the beginning of the month when I went through and wrote out all my spending, particularly on food.

Spending Fast

In January I decided to put myself on a spending freeze. The only money I was spending was on the necessities. Now this wasn't too hard, except when it came to my classroom. But here we are half way through the month and I am doing pretty good. Each month, inspired by The Budget Mom, I am going to make a financial goal. March will be no eating out more than 26 days. This will include buying coffee.

Budget Binder

So with all of my new goals for my money I needed to be organized. I am a teacher as many of you are, and I live paycheck to paycheck, so again the goal is to have financial freedom by paying off debt. 
I took one of my snow days and I put together my new love. My Budget Binder. 
I will be writing down every amount I spend. Seeing it on paper is exactly what I need to know the damage I could be doing. 

Cash Envelopes

I will be implementing the idea from The Budget Mom about using cash envelopes. Cash envelopes will be used to help control the amount I spend. I went through and created an expense tracker and expenses such as food will be used as cash. Anything that I have left over will good into envelope for the next paycheck and then into savings at the end of the month. By using the cash I will not be able to get out of control using my debit card and spending more than I have planned. Each pay day I will be taking out the cash I budgeted for that pay. Note - I do work a 2nd job and actually get paid every week. The paycheck for my part time job is going right to my debt and then savings for travel. Take a look at my tracker below.

I did not do this for my first paycheck of the month which is why the left is blank.

Meal Planning

I have always meal prepped since I started eating Paleo a few years ago. It is just easier. Well now I am kicking it up to high gear and doing some major tracking. I will plan what I am eating for each week. From there I will write out the ingredients I need for each recipe. If I have the ingredient on hand (by checking out my inventory) I will mark it off so I do not accidentally buy it.

Any ingredients I need I will shop for using my grocery app. By shopping through the app and adding only what I need I am saving time AND money. There will be no impulse buys and no buying a sale item. I am notorious for buying pantry items when they are on sale. While this is not terrible because I can add it to my inventory, it could hurt my budget for the week. I use Butcher Box as my meat source so 90% of what I need is produce or pantry items.

First: Plan the Meals

Search pinterest, Instagram and cook books for those recipes! I am doing a Whole 30 the month of February so all my meals are compliant. I found myself getting bored of my meals when I would batch cook my meal prep. So I am changing it up and cooking dinner every night. My advice? Keep it simple. My meals may be a little more complicated, but I LOVE cooking. Surprisingly after working all day and going to the gym I still want to cook, it is my stress reliever. So I am going to embrace that as long as I can.

Next: Write Out Ingredients and Shop From Your Inventory

I write out my ingredients so I know exactly what I need.

This is HUGE. By shopping from what I have I save A LOT of money.

Finally: Grocery Shop

I write out my entire list and add it to my grocery app. I was able to buy almost everything from there except for a specialty item or 2. Shopping in the app is so nice because I can easily read the ingredients and compare prices. Note: if it is your first time using the app search for a discount code. Mine was $10 off my first order. Helped my budget!

As you can see I did not need to buy any meat because I planned my meals around my freezer. 

My total for ordering online was $47.10 before my $10 off. I purchased some seasonings which made it cost more. However, I allowed myself $100 for this paycheck. So I have $62.90 to spend on the following week. Since I am using the app I will not take out all of my budgeted cash for my envelope.

So why do this? Because I want to be in control of my money. I want to be able to allow myself a budget for the things that are important to me. By budgeting I can have money for my Beauty Counter and Butcher Box orders and not feel like it is taking away from my savings because I also budget for that.

If you give this a try I would LOVE to hear how it works for you, or any suggestions. If you would like my binder printables grab them here.

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