Effective planning can do amazing things for your budget, but planning is not always easy. It's not easy to anticipate how much something is going to cost unless you are a grocery shopping veteran and have memorized how much your essential staples cost. I've found that by planning the meals on a weekly basis and making only one trip to the grocery store, I save my family over $50/week!
I receive a free Shopper every week and it always has our local grocery ad. I use the ad to plan our weekly meals based on the foods that are on sale. How do I do this? I just look through the ad, keeping in mind what meals I could prepare with the foods I could afford. My rule: Always make a list and ALWAYS stick to it!
Buying things that aren't on the list can be very enticing, especially when it comes to things like chocolate and ice cream. However if you know these are things you want add them to your list and take into account the money that will be spent on that item. You are allowed to spoil yourself just a little, as long as it does not harm your family budget. When you have the temptation to buy something that you didn't add to your list just remind yourself of your monetary goals and what is most important.
If this is something you have already tried, but decided it didn't work for you I challenge you to try it again. Budgeting does take discipline and active planning, but the outcome is completely worth it. You will see that you can meet your monetary goals, and in return live a happier life when money isn't what your mind is constantly consumed with.
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