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Although you may have tried family budgeting a few times, you may have come to the conclusion that budgeting just doesn’t work for you. With a sigh, you may have just concluded that the amount of money coming in just can’t keep up with the cost of living regardless of how frugal you try to be. If this is the case, then you may be going about it the wrong way. Here are three strategies to make it easier to troubleshoot why your budget is always in balance.

Strategy #1: Reduce the Cost of Medications

If your budget doesn’t balance, it could be because you’re paying a high amount for a family member’s medications. An expensive medication can throw your budget off.

1. Adderall: If, for example, you’re a parent living on a budget with a child who has medical needs and can’t focus on academic work, your child may have been prescribed Adderall. After taking this drug, you may have been amazed how your child’s whole life turned around. He or she started concentrating on homework and went from the bottom of the class to the top. Although it may seem as if Adderall had suddenly made your child smarter, what happened, of course, was that your child was always smart, but because of his or her racing mind, it was difficult to stay on task.

However, living on a budget is hard to begin with and even harder if you have to add in the cost of medicines such as Adderall. So what’s the solution? You obviously don’t want to go back to the way things were. The solution is to use a generic version of Adderall.

Generic Adderall Cost: This is about $200 less! While the brand name will cost about $300, the generic version is about $100.

3. Pill Splitting: Another way to save money on medication is only using the minimal effective dose. In some cases, you may be taking more medication than you need because the pill only comes in a certain size at a certain dosage. One way to slash your costs is to split the medication using a pill splitter. However, do make sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist if this is a safe idea.

Strategy #2: Reduce your insurance costs.

Another factor that could be throwing your budget off track is that you’re paying too much insurance for too little coverage.

1. Avoid over insurance.

If you’re not careful, you could over insure your property. For instance, if you drive an old car and get full coverage insurance, you may be over-insuring. By getting an estimation of your car’s replacement value, you will be able to decide whether the insurance you’re paying for it is worth it. Sometimes your car may look great because of how well you’ve maintained it, but the actual Kelley Blue Book value of the car is on the low side.

2. Comparing insurance companies:

Just as you may be over-insuring your property, you may also be using a certain insurance company for its brand name alone. It’s possible that you could get exactly the same coverage with another insurer who is just as reliable. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to do comparison insurance using online quote comparison tools because these allow you to see side-by-side insurance rates. All you have to do is complete a single form, which will then go out to the various insurers. You will then get direct quotes from the insurers on the network. The ability to get multiple quotes by filling out a single form and then reviewing multiple quotes from major insurers will allow you to make realistic comparisons and come up with an educated decision.

Strategy #3: Using the right tools.

Finally, you may simply be going through the mechanics of budgeting in the wrong way. For instance, you may be better at just keeping a journal than using a spreadsheet. Or you may be using a spreadsheet, but would find it easier if you used an online app. Another reason why your budget doesn’t work is that you have made it too complex, adding so many categories that it’s exhausting just keeping track of where the money is being spent. Conversely, you may be doing just the opposite, creating too few categories, with the result that your budget doesn’t distinguish between your fixed costs and your discretionary spending. By fixing your methodology, budgeting might finally work for you.

In conclusion, budgeting works as a way to balance your income and expenses, and if it’s not working for you then you just may have to troubleshoot what is throwing your budget out of balance.

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