Strategy Seven: Have a Business Plan –
Long term and short-term. Know your budget, goals and your costs and figure out how much you are going to spend on average per week and month. Find your strategies here.
You can do an all out budget plan, pulling receipts and charting, or just try to get an understanding of where your money is going by jotting down the amounts. About.com has forms you can use, as do many other sites.
Know how much you’ll bring in each month and how much is going out in bills like mortgage, rent, insurance, utilities, communication, cable, phone, education, unavoidable fees, taxing, parking or carpooling and gas for work or school, internet and other monthly bills, including savings and charity.
Put it on a spread sheet or in a notebook, or use a form. Take a look at where you might be able to save money on these items, or get more for less. Take a good hard look at any interest rates and what you can do about them.
Do the subtraction and figure out what’s left. This is your budget for items that might be more expendable, or might have some play in them: food and household items is what we’ll be talking about here, but don’t forget things like clothing, haircuts, entertainment, travel, gifts, etc.
Prioritize this spending and find your budget for food and household items. Whether it’s 20 dollars a week or 2,000, or anywhere in between, you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t interested in ways to maximize this budget. Follow the 12 strategies, read the information, and you’ll be on your way to maximizing your hard earned dollars, and eating better for less.
It all begins with planning:
Take that dollar figure, and don’t despair if it seems hopelessly low – read “Do You Feel Poor,” for inspiration! Divide that figure by four to get an idea of what you’ll be spending weekly. This is your budget, now, for food and household items.
Discuss this budget with your household members, make sure everyone knows what you’ll be spending and why.
- It may be that simply there isn’t any choice due to financial hardship – be up front and honest about that!
- It may be that you want to make certain you allocate your money and strengthen your financial position by paying off debt.
- Perhaps you’re saving for a down payment on a new house, need a new car, want to take a family vacation, join a health club or the YMCA, have some breathing room, or help someone else.
- It may be for ANY reason of your own.
Bring everyone in on it from the youngest to the oldest, (well, maybe not the baby – let’s say everyone old enough to talk and understand) and explain your reasoning, get their buy in and let them know that each and every family member has a responsibility in keeping the household on track.
The family buy in to the budget is absolutely key in carrying out a plan; their attitudes will make you or break you, and the more involved they are, the more it becomes a family project, the more support you’ll have.
Perhaps you might agree to have a weekly meeting during/after a dinner or on a weekend to talk about how you’re staying on track or not, exchange ideas, or work together as a family in some way to strengthen your frugality, etc. This helps keep things moving forward in a positive way. If nothing else, sit down as a family and go through the weekly ads, make the lists and get the coupons ready.
- Maybe your school age children will want to make a chart for the fridge.
- The youngest might be responsible for turning off lights and electronics left on.
- Your teen might help with a spreadsheet.
- You could brainstorm ideas.
- Clip coupons and organize them.
- The kids can help research frugal ideas.
- You could identify and assign tasks for the week to family members – a spouse, teenager or roommate could stop at a store near their work or school to pick up certain groceries, while you do the main shopping at another store. Your kids could be responsible for prepping or putting together part or all of a meal, Or even just putting a premade casserole in the oven at a certain time. Kids can make sure the dishwasher is emptied or dishes washed and the kitchen is ready to go when you get home and want to cook.
- The kids can help on projects around the house that you’d normally pay someone else to do.
- You could volunteer as a family at a food shelf or other projects if you don’t have the funds to give to charity – nothing makes a person more grateful for what they have than seeing others who have even less.
- You could have DIY night and work on items you’d normally pay someone else to do.
- There are a million possibilities, and a million chances to give your spouse and/or kids (or roommates, or whoever) positive feedback and kudos for doing a good job.
Do what you need to and keep the spouse, the kids, and especially yourself excited about ways to eliminate waste and save money.
Now for the planning, part:
Links for The Twelve Strategies:
- Strategy One: Bank Your Foods
- Strategy Two: Pay Attention to the Bottom Line
- Strategy Three: Control Costs – Maximize “Profits” and Minimize Losses
- Strategy Four: Take Advantage of Cyclic Changes in the Market
- Strategy Five: Be an Investor, not a Gambler
- Strategy Six: Give Back to the Community
- Strategy Seven: Have a Business Plan
- Strategy Eight: Invest in Training
- Strategy Nine: Know the Products you Buy
- Strategy Ten: Know your Suppliers
- Strategy Eleven: Take Advantage of Special Offers & Incentives
- Strategy Twelve: Use Sound Investment Principles