Start living “with a budget” not necessarily “on a budget”

Do you budget your life? What I mean is, do you know exactly how much you are spending on all the categories of expenses? Groceries, mortgage, energy, entertainment, health, beauty? For a very long time, we had absolutely no idea! We knew how much we were spending per month based on our credit card statement but we never looked closely at our expenses.

When, in 2019, we decided that we wanted more time to spend with our daughter, to travel and work on our business ideas, we had no choice but to face the reality…

Here is how we started to live more intentionally with our budget.

First step: Track your expenses 

For us, it meant that Kevin needed to work on a detailed spreadsheet so we could track our expenses very closely. With no surprise, our house was costing us a lot in money AND time (mortgage, insurance, maintenance, cleaning time…). Second in line was food expenses (groceries and take out combined). 

We realized that if Kevin were to leave his job, we would have to cut these two expenses drastically, so we did… (more to come about that)

Second step: Being intentional with how you use your money

I got on a mission to reduce our grocery and take out bill by planning our meals and going to the store with a list and we decided to sell the house.

It doesn’t mean we stopped living, we were still going out and still had good homemade meals but we were more aware of what it would mean for our budget. 

For example, we decided on a budget for take out and eating out per month, if by the 10th of the month the budget was spent, then it meant I had to be more creative/organized to cook until the end of the month!

Third step: reallocate your expenses to things that really matters to you or that can help you achieve your goals

Reallocation example: 

Getting 2 hours of house cleaning instead of a new pair of shoes (that I don’t really need). I support a local company, I get to spend more time for myself and/or with my family and I get the joy of coming home to a clean house!

Ordering pizzas (while cooking pasta would be as quick) compare to buying a book on eating healthy on a budget. I invest $20 in something that will help me cook better, feel better in the future and will last compare to an instant pleasure.

Am I really listening to Spotify that much or these $10 a month would be better spent in grocery delivery to give me back some time?

Fourth step: Get rid of everything you don’t really need or use

While in this process of getting intentional about our expenses and our way of living, we realized we had way too much stuff!

Decluttering and downsizing (and it doesn’t necessary mean becoming minimalist) will save you time and money. Plus, the extra money you can make by selling these things is a great way to start building your investment portfolio or “buy” you some time to do something else (remember the third step?)

Know how you spend your money before to know how to save it!

In short, if you have no ideas where your money is going, you cannot save money. So get on your bank statement, it’s really interesting and tells a lot about your life and your choices. Then, you can decide on what matters the most to you and work from there.

Was this helpful? Do you have other tips and ideas on how to be more aware of your budget and live intentionally about it? Let us know in the comments or reach out!

Start living “with a budget” not necessarily “on a budget”

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