Making the most of your money

Wondering about a budget? Here are some ideas to get you started!


Getting Started

Create a list of monthly expenses. Write down a list of all the expected expenses.  This includes your mortgage payment, car payments, auto and home insurance, groceries, utilities, entertainment, dry cleaning, retirement or college savings and everything else that is money spent.  These are the big ticket items.

Record ALL your spending. Write down all your expenses, both credit and cash in a daily log.  Doing this will make you think twice about unnecessary expenses, just like keeping a food diary makes you aware of every bite you take! After a month, review what you have spent your money on and ask yourself the true value of it.  Review this with your partner and confer on what is important, valued and prioritized. 



Look for ways to make small saving add up.

·                     Make dinner out a once a week splurge!  Bring your lunch to work and pack your kids’ lunches. 

·                     Curtail your afternoon coffee stop at Starbucks, stops for beverages like soda, and bring your own water in a non disposable container.

·                     Shop for clothes and household furnishings at resale and consignments shops. Need a holiday dress for your little girl? It is much cheaper at consignment than a major department store. Pick up furniture or other large items at

·                     Keep your home warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter.  You can save 5%–15% on your cooling bills by raising the temperature setting on your thermostat when you are away and don’t need cooling.  Keep your thermostat at 78 in the summer and 68 in the winter. Have your AC/Heat checked twice a year to be sure it is operating properly.

·                     Do chores you are paying someone else to do, like mow your lawn or clean your house. 


·                     Minimize your dry cleaning expense. 


Bigger savings on big ticket items

·                     Trade in your car for a less expensive model or purchase a used car instead of new.

·                     Reduce larger expenses by eliminating season tickets to ball games or musical events. 

·                     Refinance your mortgage with the new lower rates.  If new mortgages are costing at least two percentage points less than the rate you’re paying, refinancing may save you significant dollars.

·                     Increase your deductible on your insurance.



Some ideas for percentages for the budget

·                     Savings 10%

·                     Mortgage 25 – 30%

·                     Household expenses of utilities 10-15%

·                     Other obligations (debt/tithing) 10%

·                     Insurance, medical care 10- 15%

·                     Auto payment, car care, gas 10%

·                     Recreation and entertainment 5%

Once you have found ways to make your expenses at least 10% less than your income, create an automatic deduction each month that sweeps that 10% into a savings account. Now you are on track to be a stay at home mom!


Cultivate a mindset of less is more.

Accumulating stuff, whether it is a luxury auto, designer clothes or a big abode, takes its toll.  We have more to take care of and it ends up as a burden instead of a blessing.  Cultivating a mindset of less is more is thinking through the whether that “stuff” is more important than relationships. In creating our family, we should decide on our values and mission and create priorities as a result. Is your mission to have your children raised in a one income family with a stay at home mom or dad? It will take valuing that goal above all else to make it happen. It is in having less stuff, fewer expenses, a smaller home, less extravagant autos, and more about relationships, that we can accomplish this mission. 

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