How to Live Rich in 2014

How to Live Rich in 2014How to Live Rich in 2014

Each and every day we provide you with the tools and deals you need to save on your groceries.  The opportunity to saved thousands of dollars is right there at your fingertips.  It’s truly amazing how much you can save if you put your mind to it.  But, with the start of the New Year, I want you to be able to focus your thoughts on how to better manage your money and truly Live Rich with Coupons.  What a waste it would be to do all that work clipping coupons and saving only to spend it foolishly elsewhere.  So, now with the New Year upon us, take some time to plan your budget and get yourself and your finances organized.

Planning the Budget

My husband and I spent a good portion of the past week, as we do every year at this time,  planning our budget for the next year.  Having lived many years without a budget, we now know that we can never do without it. For us, we started setting up a budget during a time of unemployment.  It was a scary time and it forced us to focus our attention onto exactly how much we spent.  Honestly we were shocked and quite embarrassed at how much we were wasting.  We were definitely living above our means and money was being wasted.

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t easy setting up that first budget.  It was a rude awakening and we had to give up quite a bit.  No more eating out, no more stops for coffee.  Honestly, no more anything.  But now, with our detailed budget, we know exactly what we spend and where our money is going and are ready for almost anything that gets thrown our way.

Handling Unexpected Expenses

When our daughter Nikki, who lives in Connecticut while attending law school, came home for the holidays we realized that she was in desperate need of new tires and brakes.  She was only going to be staying in NJ for a week and a half and we needed to get it done before she went back to Connecticut.  For those that are wondering, she using one of our cars as this is our way of helping her as she pays her way through law school.  Anyway, the unexpected cost for the tires and brakes was close to $1,000.  Normally that would have sent me into a panic for such a large amount of money but I was a calm as a cucumber.  Why, because we had that money already budgeted.  Actually, in our car repair budget, we had $1200 so we had enough to cover the tires and brakes and still have a couple hundred leftover to stay in the budget.  We’ll build on that car repair budget again as we do each month.

Importance of a Budget

Before budgeting the unexpected car repair would have been a nightmare for me and would have easily resulted in a slow pile up of debt.  You see we wouldn’t have had that $1000 just sitting around so we would have needed to charge it.  What would happen next would be what would really send us into a tailspin.  You see, if we didn’t have the money to pay for the tires the first month, we didn’t have the money to pay them the second month which means paying small amounts.  And then what happens when something else comes up that we need to pay for?  Well, the same thing of course.  We put it on the charge and pay small amounts.  So, you see it becomes a vicious cycle of charges, interest payments and debt.   Before you know, you are in so deep, you don’t know how to get out.

Debt Free Living

That was how we used to live our life and it turned us into piles of debt.  But, not anymore.  After 4 years of a super tight budget,  and I mean super tight, we are now debt free and have been for the last year and a half. We haven’t had a charge card in almost 6 years and we’ll never have one again.  I know there are some of you that have credit cards and are disciplined with them.  More power to you, but that was not us.  We used them as an emergency and before long, everything seemed to be an “emergency”.  Now, without debt,  the weight that has been lifted from our shoulders is priceless.  There are truly no words to describe the feeling of knowing where every penny goes and being in complete control of your finances.  That, to me, is Living Rich!

So, with that said, I thought you might like some inspiration to get yourself on track with your grocery savings and budget planning.  I pulled out some old articles I had written that seemed appropriate to start the New Year off on the right foot.

Articles to Help You Live Rich in 2014:

Living Rich Debt Free
See how a reader has made a difference by cutting her groceries and paid off her debt.

How To Set Up a Budget and Stick To It
Setting up a budget is not really on your top 10 100 things to do on a weekend, but it’s very important to plan.  And if you spend one weekend doing it, then all your other weekends will be that much better.  Check out 6 steps to set up your budget.

5 Easy Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill
Just starting out with coupons?  Check out how to get yourself on the right track to Live Rich with Coupons

Why You Should Not Buy Generics
This was one of my favorite articles.  It doesn’t have anything to do with setting up budgets or organizing your finances but it’s shows you why coupons rock!

Save $3400 a Year: 9 Easy Ways
Your savings don’t always have to come from the grocery store.  Even a cup of coffee, or lack of, can save you a chunk of change for the year.

Free Snowball Debt Reduction Calculator
A great tool to see where you are and where you are going.

And, don’t forget to check out the Beginners Guide to Couponing.

The links in the post above may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.
  • denisew

    How do you deal with college tuition? I feel I put these children on earth, I owe them the best. Put 3 children through college and master degrees, but have a home equity loan we are slowly paying off. Your site is awesome, saving so much money now thanks to you.

    • We are still dealing with college. My son is the last one and has another year to go. My girls had partial scholarships for sports so that took some of the burden off however, at the time, they took out small student loans and we took out parent loans for the rest. We did not plan at all for college. It was really a terrible place for us to be once they entered college. And unemployment struck us just as they were in the early years of college. Yikes!

      We had so much debt just from the parent loans. That was part of our debt payoff. I’m telling you it was brutal. I’m not going to lie and say it was an easy journey for us because it wasn’t. But we did it. Payed it all off. And now, we budget for my son’s tuition and pay it when it’s due.

      We only pay help with 4 years of college. If they want to continue, they are on their own. We help in anyway but tuition is their responsibility after the 4 years. For instance, Nikki is paying herself through law school but we provide her with a car and help her with her groceries.

      If I did back in the early days of our marriage what we do now, the college years would have been so much easier.

      • mrsclaire

        we started saving for our child’s (he is now 6) college tuition the day he was born. we put away any “extra” money (once we’ve payed bills, budgeted, etc.) and any birthday/holiday money he receives. I also use when I shop online (some of my friends use ebates, which is similar). sometimes, its only $20 for the month, but I figure a little bit is better than nothing. so far, we’ve managed to save about $30k.

  • mrsclaire

    Great article, Cindy! Thank you so much for all you do and continue to do for us! I save so much $$$ by using your site, which I check religiously. I couldn’t imagine going back to my “old” way of shopping/living. Thanks again and Happy New Year!

  • Jen

    Great post! By any chance, did you and your husband take the Financial Peace University program from Dave Ramsey? Your post sounds very familiar to his principles. My husband and I just created a financial binder and are starting the course this week. We can’t wait to live debt free! Your site has saved us so much money these past few years but for 2014, we’re ready to tell our money where to go, rather than wonder where it went. Thanks you Cindy and Happy New Year to you and the LRWC family!

  • linda

    What David Ramsey book should I buy?

  • hailey

    that averages out to over $400 a month! nice job! 🙂

  • AnginCT

    Cindy – thanks for all that you do. I am curious though if you have any tips for those of us who simply do not have a set income in which to set up a budget. My husband is in sales and his commission calculations are not just a matter of sell x get y. He loves his job and the benefits are great. I wait tables part time and as you know going out to eat is one of the first expenses people cut. In this economy we are both just happy to have any job right now. Thanks!

  • Kathy

    How do you budget and plan when in the past year your income has gone below your bills? I don’t even know how to budget at this point because it’s just a matter of paying whatever bills we can swing or are the most in need each month.