One of the common issues facing CEIRP members is how to budget their money and manage their debt. As the cost of living rises across the country, everyone should learn these skillsets. We know that many of you work long hours, but by just setting aside an hour or so to create your budget, you’ll soon become a more disciplined money-manager. Here are a few key points that you can stick it on your fridge to help you stay on track.

Keep your budget simple: It should be straightforward, flexible and easy to adjust in case your income and/or expenses change.

Setting financial objectives: To reach your goals, make your objectives realistic, measurable and time-bound.

Be specific about your spending: Make a list of your income sources and expenses like housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, investments, retirement savings, entertainment, clothing, and bills. Also consider adding a line for savings, debt repayments, emergencies and occasional expenses.

Make a grocery shopping list and shop the sales: There are two rules about grocery shopping: don’t shop when you’re hungry and use a list. Both will help you save money. So does buying the sales and in bulk. Some items can be frozen and used throughout the year like tomatoes, bread and meat. Consider making an easy grocery list template that you can simply print out when it’s time to get groceries.

Make stretching your dollars fun: Challenge your family and friends to bargain-hunt and to share coupons. And if you collect grocery points, make a game out of collecting as many points as you can. But be sure that you’re not over spending just to out-do your “opponents”.