Exactly How I’m Hacking My Budget This Month


Last month we had a few unexpected expenses, which made it impossible to hit my savings goal.

Namely, my car had a fluke breakdown in the middle of nowhere in Arkansas, and ended up costing just over $800 to fully repair. And I’m not even driving my old beater car anymore (The irony of your new car being less dependable than your old one.

Honestly, it made me just a little bit angry, and determined to double down this month to make up for it.

What I did to create more wiggle room in my budget this month - and it's not spend less money!

But of course, we can’t just decide to magically stop spending money. We have to buy groceries, pay the electric bill, insurance, etc. And my kids really have to have some new clothes this month (at least, if I want to take them out in public they do…), not to mention, I have a big dentist appointment coming up.

So, when we sat down at the beginning of this month to put a pencil to our budget, we factored in all those necessary expenses, plus a little wiggle room incase an unexpected expense comes up.

And the fact is, if I’m going to make up what I wasn’t able to save last month, I’m going to have to spend less than what we’ve budgeted to spend.

So I wanted to share part of how we’re going to do that without resorting to eating beans and rice and wearing rags.

It’s pretty simple and anticlimactic – but repeatable.


I cashed in a bunch of Swagbucks.

Earning Swagbucks is something you can easily do to add a little extra to your budget now and then. Oh, you’ll never get rich, but it’s nice to be able to earn real money just by using their search engine to do you google searching, or printing coupons through the Swagbucks site.

The idea hit me when I was trying to figure out how much to budget for the kids summer clothes, and I thought, hey, maybe I can order a gift card from Swagbucks to cover it.

But then I didn’t know what store I should plan to shop at, so I just ordered a $50 Walmart gift card, figuring I could use that toward groceries and household expenses, and then use cash to buy the clothes… wherever we buy the clothes (I’m terrible at clothes shopping in case you can’t tell).

Then it occurred me that Target would be a good place to get some of the clothes, so I went back with the intention of ordering a $50 Target card, but the $25 cards were on sale (costing fewer Swagbucks per actual dollar), so I did that instead.

That’s some pretty serious free money.

$75 to be exact.

Now granted, I’ve been passively collecting Swagbucks for quite a while. Where I used to cash out every time I had enough Swagbucks for a $5 Amazon gift card (as one does when they’re broke), nowadays I tend to let them collect and pretty much forget about them, which comes in handy at times like these.

Swagbucks is similar to Ebates in that it’s free to you, because whenever you use their links to shop, they earn a referral fee, so essentially, when they reward you, they’re sharing that fee with you.

Yes, I’ll still buy frozen ground turkey instead of ground beef this month, and follow the sale prices, but those Swagbucks are going to go a long way in keeping our expenses down.

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