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Living The Good Life On A Budget


*Updated 11/3/16

From what I am reading and hearing, some adults diagnosed with ADD/ADHD have money issues.

Actually, errrbody seems to have money problems these days. But when your executive functioning is impaired it is tough to plan ahead, which can lead to impulsive spending.

For whatever reason, my ADHD symptoms have never spilled over into the financial realm.

When I was single and making 25k per year I somehow managed to feed and clothe myself while still enjoying the occasional girls trip with friends.  I didn’t have a budget so specific that I controlled every penny, but I did discipline myself.

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The key to controlling your spending is to ask yourself this one simple question before every purchase.

decide: Is this a need or a want?

I still ask myself this question nearly every day.  It is important for me to determine if I want something or if I need something.

I need to pay the mortgage and feed my family.  I want to buy a new pair of shoes.

It is imperative that you are able to separate wants from needs.

You need to pay your rent and feed your family.  You want to see the new Dr. Strange movie.  (See what I mean?)

If you determine that you need to purchase the item/s in front of you, is there a way you can get it for less money?  (i.e. generic items, or substitution items)

For example, I would love to buy generic Cheerios.  My husband has not yet approved – but I am working on him!

Here is a set of strategies to help you manage the money you have in a way that doesn’t make you feel like you are depriving yourself of life’s pleasures.

Housing

By far the largest percentage of our income goes toward food and housing.

I cannot go into specifics about our mortgage for obvious reasons, but I will say that we did not buy a house that made us poor. What I mean by this is we bought a house that met our space requirements, in a neighborhood we liked, but we did NOT spend so much $$ that we are now destitute.

I have watched friends and acquaintances do this many times. Buying too much house is a huge mistake and it will bite you in the butt down the road. Renting is similar, if you sign a lease that is beyond your means, you will be kicking yourself.

Feeding your family

Shop discount grocers for items that you eat frequently. I cannot stress this enough.

We eat a ton of fruit and veggies in my house. My son often eats 2-3 containers of berries per week. I eat salad every day.

Because we eat so much produce I have begun to scout out places that are less expensive than the chain grocery stores in our area.

I routinely go to Aldi for a variety of items including berries, peppers, onions, cucumbers and bagged apples. Aldi does carry some organic items as well as a nice selection of gluten free foods. The store is not much for ambiance, but it is worth the trip.

** Do not forget to pick up some Moser & Roth 85% cacao chocolate.** Thank me later.

Join a CSA

If you live in an area where there is one available, join a Community Supported Agriculture program. I am a member of a local farm share that is fabulous.

If there are more than 2 people living in your house the upfront investment is worth it for a full season of fresh produce. When you buy this way, you do not need to purchase as much from chain grocery stores. Plus you are supporting a local business – that is always a good thing.

Order your meat in bulk

We are not vegetarians or vegans in this house. We are omnivores. Once a year we order half a cow and split it with another family.

Knowing who raises the cow and the butcher who slaughters it gives me peace of mind about what I am feeding my family.

For about $2.88 per pound we get a years worth of ground beef, roasts and steaks of all varieties.

Again, this is an investment up front. But I am the type of person that needs to know where my food comes from, so I would rather part with my money once a year and be done.

Also, when it comes to poultry – I buy organic in bulk. It is a bit more per pound but I like to freeze in smaller portions. Read labels on poultry carefully and use your judgment when it comes to what it is injected with, how it is raised etc.

If you have a BJ’s in your area, they sell the Applegate Farms brand in large packs. This is the only brand of hotdogs and bacon I feed my son. Read the label and you will understand.

Join a Warehouse Club

I wish we had a Costco around here but I don’t see it happening any time soon. (Insert sad face.)

Examples of things I buy in bulk at a warehouse club.

Mixed nuts                                              Body Wash

Cheerios                                                    Spices

Bagged apples

Salad

Tampons (sorry this is a necessity)

Frozen organic poultry

saving on HOUSEHOLD ITEMS

Go to Target. Or Walmart or Kmart or whatever big box retailer you prefer.

I go to Target at least once per week. Here is why:

I use the cartwheel app to buy so many things I cannot name them all here. I like to buy my paper products, plastic wrap, foil, hand soap, cleaning products and even sometimes coffee and tea there.

Update**I now purchase many of my household necessities from Amazon Pantry. In fact, since I am a frequent buyer I utilize the subscribe and save feature. I highly recommend Amazon for stocking your pantry and general household items.

I am certain that Walmart and Kmart offer similar apps and discount programs for frequent shoppers.

Take advantage of sales and those coupons that print when you are checking out. (I have mine clipped to the fridge.) You can sometimes combine the printed store coupons with the frequent shopper reward deals.

For a quick and dirty checklist of ideas check out:

 Easy Ways to Cut Household Expenses

BEAUTY PRODUCTS

These days I do not use a lot of makeup – I am more of a tinted moisturizer and bronzer girl. But my tinted moisturizer is IT CC cream and my Bronzer is Physicians Formula. I would love to go to Bobbi Brown or Trish McEvoy, but the reality is I do not need to.

Notice how we are back to wants and needs again?

Some general guidelines for beauty products:

CLOTHING

This is a hard one. For years I wanted to work in the fashion industry and I still love to follow the fashion trends and popular magazines.

Some shopping tips:

When you are done shopping take care of your clothing whether it cost you three dollars or three thousand dollars. Wash your clothing gently, then line dry it. It will last longer this way.

Other simple ways to cut down on spending

 

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Managing money is a sticky subject. But with some patience and some self-reflection anything is possible!

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