I have always been a girl who spends ALL of her extra cash on clothes. To the point where if it’s in my account I am going to spend it! lol. That was fine and hunky-dory until I got my first big girl job in the summer of 2014 and had to pay those billzzz. I am super embarrassed to tell you this but when I moved to Minneapolis in January of 2017 I had ZEROO dollars saved in my account! Not cute, super risky and just sad because I am on engineering salary! Today I have over $10,000 saved in my account. GO ME 🙂 So how did I get here? Here are 14 easy steps to create a budget and tips to stick to it!
1. Determine what are you currently spending. I know this can be scary… this was the hardest part for me! Using your online bank, export all of your expenses for the last year to excel. Create a category column and categorize each expense. Be specific, but not too specific. Think clothes, beauty as categories vs. Nordstrom, Sephora.
2. Analyze your spending. Create a Pivot table in excel. Ask yourself, where there specific months you spent more than others? What was different about those months? What are you surprised about? For me the amount I spent on clothes was a bit brutal to look at! But hey, we all have to start somewhere. It is better to know where you are and fix it then let the issue fester and get worse!
3. Create a realistic budget. Using the average of each expense category create a budget. Add everything up, does your paycheck cover everything? Can you cut down on any category? I was saving 10% to my 401(k) but had to reduce this to 8% after I started my budget. Skip to #6 for additional tips on how to cut down your expenses or save more money. I used the 50/20/30 Rule for my budget. My rent is pretty high so I struggled to get my necessities down. I landed on 55 necessities (car, car insurance, rent, gas, groceries etc.), 22% savings (this excluded my 401(k) amount that I saved), and 23% discretionary (Barre classes, beauty, fun, parking, clothes etc.).
4. DIRECT TRANSFER. Set this up! The day your paycheck comes into your account, your save budget automatically goes into your savings. You never see the money so you aren’t tempted to buy those adorable Chloe Wedges you’ve been eyeing for summer.
5. Never dip into your savings!! As much as you might want to, think about why you are wanting to steal from your savings? To go to a concert, or traveling is NOT a reason to dip into your savings. See #12 to help with this one 🙂
6. Sell your old clothes on eBay. All of my eBay earnings go into Paypal & then that account is all I can use for clothes. My main problem my clothes spending.
7. Save money on food by switching to Home Chef! (use code EMERSON80 for $80 off your first purchase) Meals are around $9.99 each. So how do you save? You don’t waste/throw away food. You only get the food you NEED for the meals! I was starting think I might as well throw away the head of lettuce when I got it! I eat at home a lot more! If you have a Home Chef meal that is restaurant quality why do you need to go out?
8. Cut out alcohol or drink at home. Drinks are expensive when you go out to eat! I cut out alcohol all together. Blog post on that coming soon.
9. Buy drinks in bulk! I was spending like $5 a day on drinks at my work’s vending machine! That is $1,300 a year! Now I have a case of water (I can’t drink the water at work – its horrible!) in my trunk and I bring a la criox.
10. Get the Status Money App. It’s a website that organizes and categorizes your spending for you and you can see how you stack up to your peers! You can have multiple cards/accounts in one app & it automatically categorizes the items for you. You can also put your budget in there!
11. Wait until clothes go on SALE! They all will. I put things in my cart/favorites and wait until they go on sale to buy.
12. Tell someone about your goals! This holds you accountable and they can in on how you are doing, think an accountability partner. My accountability partner is my mom <3 She also has the most adorable Instagram @EmptyNestStyle
13. Wait 30 days to buy something. Now it’s not an impulse purchase. Make sure it is something you actually want! Especially when you have a clothes budget (so SADDD) you have to make sure you are picking the best one or two pieces you want for the month!
14. Pack your lunch for work! This is also so much healthier 🙂
Now get saving! 🙂