Happy New Year! I hope you had a blessed holiday season and are now feeling like you’re back on track!  In an effort to help get back on track, financially, I thought it was a good time to talk about budgeting.  None of us like having to be on a budget. But, the reality is that we won’t get anywhere, financially, until we learn to live on a budget.

Before my husband and I got married, we sat down to set up a budget for him. At that point he never really knew how much money he had or how much he was spending. And he used a “rounding off” method in his checkbook so it couldn’t even be balanced! For an ex-banker, like myself, that was a nightmare!  He was not very happy when he saw that he had less than $20 a month left over (maybe it was even less), but after a few months he started realizing that he was getting things paid off and it was actually easier to know exactly where he was at.

So, how do you set up a budget? It’s really pretty simple.  Start with making a list of your routine monthly bills. You should note when each bill is to be paid and approximately how much it usually is. Then take a look at your pay schedule to determine which bills have to be paid out of each paycheck. Obviously, if you get paid once a month this is easier because everything has to be paid out of that one paycheck. However, most people get paid at least twice per month.  Once the basic bills are done, think about the expenses you have to pay less often than once a month – things such as haircuts, insurance, car maintenance, etc. Then average out how much to set aside each month. For example, if you car insurance is $300 every six months, then you need to set aside $50 a month so you will have the money when the bill arrives.  Be sure to figure in expenses paid in cash as well, such as groceries, gas, etc.

Once this is all done, I strongly suggest using some form of the “envelope” system. If you are not familiar with the envelope system, the basic idea is that you would have an envelope for each budget category and actually put the budgeted amount of cash in the envelope until the bill is paid. However, few of us pay our bills in cash any more, and even fewer probably want to retain larger amounts of cash at home.  Therefore there are several ways you can do this. We personally use a software called Money Map, but there are many available. Another option is to simply have a savings account and some form of a spreadsheet with the various categories listed out and use that as your savings ledger.  Before the age of computers, I used to use accounting ledger paper (yes, I’m showing my age here! LOL).  The key is to keep track of how much money you have available in each category at any given moment.

Now, are you ready for the real secret??? STICK TO THE BUDGET!  It’s that simple. It’s not easy, but it is a simple process.

Good luck on your budgeting journey! You can do it!

Now, on to the deals this week!

All You Magazine January 2012 Coupon List – Living Rich has been kind enough to provide a list of coupons that are in Walmart’s All You Magazine for January.  You can check it out here to see if you want to stop by and pick up a copy. I believe it retails for $2.49 per issue if you buy it at Walmart, but you can get a subscription for $1.66 per issue here.  However, I will tell you that sometimes the subscription version has fewer coupons than the newsstand version.

Walmart Deals – If you’re a Walmart shopper, I highly recommend checking out Iheartthemart.comfor the best deals.

For local calendar events:

For Delray Beach, click here.

For Boynton Beach, click here.

For Boca Raton, click here.

Now, on to the deals this week!

Know the Lingo BOGO – Buy one, get one free SS – Smart Source (coupon inserts in Sunday’s papers) RP – Red Plum (coupon inserts in Sunday’s papers) PG – Proctor & Gamble (coupon inserts in Sunday’s papers) GM – General Mills (occasional coupon inserts in Sunday’s papers) Blinkie – coupon dispensers in stores Peelie – coupons found on products that you peel off Hangtag – coupons found hanging on bottles All You – Magazine sold at Walmart or via subscription

Whole Foods:  Click here for their coupons. If you prefer to shop at Publix, they should accept these as competitor coupons.

Publix Greenwise:  Click here for their weekly ads.

Many thanks to IHeartPublix for their great tips on shopping at Publix!

For Publix “super deals” for 1/12-1/18/2012, please click here.

For Publix full sale list with coupon match-ups 1/12-1/18/2012 please click here.

For Publix ongoing sale list, please click here.

For Publix Advantage Buy Flyer sales, please click here.

Renita's Favorite Money-Saving Sites

http://www.simplycvsshopping.com/

http://www.specials.publix.com

http://www.iheartpublix.com

http://www.iheartwags.com

http://www.iheartcvs.com

http://www.cvsdeals.gather.com

http://publixpennypincher.blogspot.com

http://www.southernsavers.com

http://frugalityisfree.com

http://getadealdude.com

http://claimsqueen.com/

http://www.thesimpledollar.com

http://www.iheartthemart.com

E-Book now available!

I’m excited to tell you that my book is now available as an e-book! So, you can save money while you learn to save even more money by purchasing an e-book instead of a traditionally bound book! For more information, please click here.

Kindle book now available!

My book is now available for the Kindle! Please click here!

Renita is a resident of Palm Beach County, and author of “Wow! You Saved How Much?” For more information, visit her website at http://wowyousavedhowmuch.com.

"Copyright © Renita R. Perrone All rights reserved. Permission granted to reprint this article on your website without alteration (excluding the weekly deals) if you include this copyright statement and leave the hyperlinks live and in place."http://wowyousavedhowmuch.com