Are you trying to save for a dream vacation? Find yourself exhausted from living paycheck to paycheck? Are you in debt and struggling with where to start tackling it? Planning to retire early?
My husband and I were in the exact same boat 2 years ago. Money was hard to come by in the past and it seemed like every time we saved a little bit of money, something would happen and we would have to spend it all. We always felt like we were never making any progress and it is quite stressful to say the least.
In hindsight I realized that even though we weren’t making as much money back then, there are a lot of ways we were wasting our money that we didn’t even realize.
Once we did a full evaluation of our finances, we realized where we could make some changes and those small changes really started to add up.
We are all dealing with issues like these and I’m here to tell you that It’s time to start making better financial choices. Saving money is necessary, but I totally understand that saving is easier said than done. It takes discipline and motivation to buckle down and make changes to your spending habits. It is all worth the hard work in the end- I swear. Here are my top ways to save a little cash.
Evaluate your finances
This is SO important. You need to sit down with a notebook, and your credit/debit card statements for the past 3 months. If you use cash a lot, think about all of the things that you spent money on in recent months.
This is where you will realize where you are wasting money. The easiest way to do this is to put your life into categories.
- Living expenses (mortgage and utilities)
- Food (grocery and eating out)
- Bills (phone, loans, cars, medical, tv)
- Entertainment (anything that you do for fun)
It is hard to reduce your living expenses. But if you are in a serious financial crisis, moving to a more affordable place might be something that you have to consider. We had to make this decision 7 years ago when we were living in an apartment that we could not afford. The lease was up and they were going to charge us even more upon renewal. As much as we wanted to stay in the area, we decided to move an hour away to a place that was better and hundreds of dollars cheaper per month. This is one of the best choices that we have made for ourselves. If you can’t afford where you live, MOVE!
Before we got our financial act together, we wasted a lot of money on food. Both at the grocery store and eating out. We were so irresponsible back then. We ate out way too much and didn’t ever make a meal plan before we went grocery shopping. We never used coupons and it was an overall hot mess. Later on in this post, I will list a couple of the ways we saved money on groceries.
I hate bills so much. They never end and they suck the life out of me sometimes. When it comes to going over the bills, we realized that we were spending money that we didn’t have. There are things that we had to cut but that is unique to every person.
Going out and doing fun things is good for the soul, but sometimes can’t be good for your budget. There are ways to cut your entertainment budget and i’m going to list a couple ways that we did it below. My rule is that if you can’t afford to do something, don’t. Save your money and one day a time will come when you can afford it.
- Cut Soda, energy drinks, etc.
One of the major things we did when it came to bettering our financial situation was to cut soda. The last time I was at the grocery store I caught a glimpse of a deal for 212 pack of cans for eight dollars this is what we would’ve spent on sodas typically 2 to 3 12 packs of soda’s-For just one week. So let’s calculate that eight dollars a week 52 weeks per year. That’s a savings of $416 dollars per year! Additionally, it is better for our health.
- Stop going out to eat!
This one was huge for us. Where we live, the customer service is constantly terrible everywhere we go so it actually forced us to try Red Loster. the Red Lobster in our area had such incredible customer service that it became the only restaurant that we went to. We would eat at Red Lobster I would say twice a month, spending about $65-$80 per visit. So if we calculate that at the minimum… that’s $130 per month and $1,560 per year! Crazy right???
I’m not saying you should stop eating out entirely. There are some times when you just crave a certain restaurant, but try to keep it limited to only once per month. Also, ordering carry out is great because you still get the amazing food but you don’t have to leave a massive tip. *tipping is important to us. So we usually do leave a juicy one. This is why we had to limit eating out. We spend a lot of money in just tips!
You should read these posts if you want to take your finances up a notch
3. Don’t tempt yourself
Whenever I’m on a strict budget and saving for something I don’t even go to stores that often. Think about it… whenever I go out to stores with my kids on our homeschooling ventures we always see things on clearance or for just $10 or always something that I’ve been seeing for so long but I certainly need it for some reason that I never needed before going out to stores and malls and window shopping when you know you should not be spending money is not a good idea.
Sidenote: it is also a bad idea to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach with no meal plan but we will get to that later.
- Pay your bills on time.
The average late fee for your bills is roughly $10 if you fail to pay your bill on time just two or three times in one month you’re wasting up to $30 that could be a full tank of gas groceries a treat a manicure but you’re literally throwing down the toilet stop paying your bills late stop paying late fees I can’t stress it enough.
- Shop for Christmas and birthdays all through the year.
I was going through target the other day and saw a deal that I couldn’t resist. It was a Crayola set that included paint paint brushes and watercolor all in one for only like seven bucks. It’s only October but I have a niece who would love that for Christmas and it was a killer deal. You can’t beat seven bucks for Crayola set. So I bought it and I put it in my gift bin. I have a bin full of gifts that I pick up for people during the year when I see things on sale or just something in general that’s a good price that will fit one of the people that I know. I purchase it and put it in the bin. I also store old bags from birthday parties, wrapping supplies ,and spare cards that I buy in the bin also. That way whenever it’s time for a birthday party or holiday I’ve got a ton of gifts already that were at a good price. I don’t have to splurge on a card and I don’t have to buy wrapping paper/tissue paper last minute it’s a brilliant idea and has saved me lots of cash.
- Ditch your cable.
I’m pretty sure a lot of people are doing this. I don’t know many people that still have cable. If you’re trying to save money and make better financial decisions cut the cable you can watch anything online these days there’s no reason to spend the extra cash you can spend it somewhere else better.
- Ditch your apps
These days, there are lots of little ways that we spend our money. These little things add up, and that money could be used better elsewhere. I used to have multiple apps that added to my monthly bills, because there were so many of them. Netflix, Hulu, Kindle Unlimited, Apple music, etc. I now have a schedule for these apps where I will download and pay for them on the months that I use them. In the spring and summer, we don’t watch very much tv, because we are out doing things. During these months I cancel my Netflix, hulu, and Kindle subscriptions because it doesn’t make sense to keep paying for apps I am not using that much. In October, when Stranger Things comes back, I will get Netflix again so I can binge. It does save me money and I don’t have to ditch these apps completely.
- Buy things in bulk
There are just something’s you should always buy in bulk. Get your toiletries, dry foods, condiments, hygiene products, etc in bulk. If you don’t have a Costco membership-you should consider. Best prices around! Also, great gas prices as well!
- Speaking of Gas Prices-Use the gas rewards you earn at the grocery store.
If you are anything like me, you probably shop at a grocery store that has a bonus card where you can earn money off gas. This is huge! One time I earned .60 cents off each gallon of gas! That’s SUCH a great savings! There are certain gas stations that partner with these rewards but if you incorporate it into your routine and you will make out like a bandit!
- Do not shop without coupons!
This is easier than it sounds! Before you go out, check for coupons to the stores you shop. You can find coupons online all the time! Even if it saves you 10% that’s still a savings!
- Stock up during sales!
I’m a candle addict, and I also like beauty items. So I like to go wild in the stores on Black Friday. I spend a lot of money at once but I get good deals and I have a stockpile of goods that will last a while. Memorial day is the second best time to go shopping (in my opinion) I worked in retail for like 6 years or so and our biggest sales were on Memorial Day weekend, and Black Friday weekend.
- Sign up for Redbox emails.
If you rent movies from Redbox, you should definitely sign up for their email list. They always send a coupon code for $1.75 off a movie rental for the first night. That means you will only be charged .50 cents to rent a movie for a night! Hello?! Thats awesome!
- Take advantage of kids eat free at restaurants.
I know I mentioned earlier in this list to stop going out to eat, but if you do have the urge to go to a restaurant, go on a night that will save you money. If you don’t have kids, wait for a coupon. Signing up for a restaurant’s email list will ensure that you get access to all the best deals. Every Tuesday at Ruby Tuesday’s, kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entree. We like to plan our dining out schedule around deals like this. We save a lot of money this way and are still able to eat out occasionally.
I know that these tips will help you save tons of money. Sacrifices are necessary but they are so worth it. Making these changes really changed our entire lives and I’m so glad that I did. Are there any money saving tips that I missed? Comment or tweet me!