Living life on a shoestring budget can be hard, but believe it or not, it’s not impossible. There are little things you can do to say organized and get your through to the next check without over-spending and creating more money problems. Here are 5 tips for budgeting success!

#1 Figure out your monthly bill/rent expenses

Gather up each of your bills for the month, such as utility bills, credit cards, rent, insurance, daycare (if any), or care payment – anyone you pay every month. Add them all up and write the amount down on an envelope.

#2 Control your food costs

For one month, write down whatever you spend on food; everything from groceries to fast food. Anything you spend on food – even coffee. This will help you figure out how much you spend on food each month. Try to figure out how you can shop smarter and spend less. Maybe this means buying more frozen food and dry goods. Or maybe, you can do meal prep once a week and save meals in the freezer to cut down on fast food costs. Decide on a budget for food and stick to it. Next, write down your food budget amount on another envelope.

#3 Budgeting for auto or transportation costs

Estimate how much you spend each month on transportation costs. Write down that amount on another envelope. You may want to keep a separate envelope for auto savings if you think that your car might break down in the future. Add a few extra dollars each month to this envelope.

#4 Budgeting for personal luxuries

Figure out which luxuries you can live without and which ones you can’t. Maybe you need to have a weekly Starbucks mocha latte or maybe you like manicures – whatever it is – decide what you can’t live without. One thing. Decide on a budget for that one thing and then write that amount down on another envelope.

#5 Budgeting for extra expenses

If you have anything left over in your budget, write that amount down on this envelope and uses this for any incidentals that might come up throughout the month. Maybe you’ll have to get a birthday present for someone or maybe you’re at the store and you want to buy your child a new toy. Maybe this money can go toward an emergency fund for auto repair or other unforeseen expenses, whatever it is for, try not to spend it all at once.

Now you have 5 envelopes separated for your monthly budget. You can keep a couple of these in your wallet or purse and some of these in a safe place that you can save for later when it comes time to pay your bills. Hopefully, these tips save you from money headaches and maybe even help you save some money each month. Good luck!

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