Money is one of the most stressful factors in everyone’s life. It seems like no matter how much you make, you could always use more. And when you dig yourself in a hole it takes a lot of work to get out. No matter where you’re at in your financial life, you can always aim to save more money. These seventeen tips are bound to save you a noticeable amount of money each month!
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Create A Budget Every Month
Re-write your budget at the beginning of each month. Take into account any events you may have to spend money on, like birthdays, weddings, a road trip, anything that might make your budget different that month. By doing this, you can write down your estimated income, and subtract your fixed expenses. This shows you what you have left for your variable expenses, such as groceries, eating out, and extra spending money. Because your budget changes all the time, it’s important to be aware of changes in your income or spending each month. You’ll never start saving unless you have a plan in place!
Order Groceries Online
Seriously, this SAVED my budget. Ordering groceries online saved me hundreds of dollars every month. When you order groceries online, you get to see your total adding up in the sidebar. This helps you to be mindful to whether or not you really need something. It also eliminates impulse buying. You don’t see those Double-Stuffed Oreos that you just can’t resist. Also, it helps you to be able to make sure you get everything that you need. If I was in the store and about to check out, and realized I forgot something, instead of going back and getting it I just say I’ll pick it up tomorrow because my toddler is freaking out because she’s sick of being in the cart. So I go back to get cheese, and some Oreos, and some other stuff because I saw it and wanted it. Online is the way to go! There are many stores that offer this now, one of the most common is Wal-Mart. Click here to see if you have a Wal-Mart near you that does online orders!
Get Amazon Prime
This might seem odd, saving money by spending money? It’s an investment! First, if you ever order anything off Amazon, this helps you get FREE two-day shipping! But if you don’t order off of Amazon very often, you’re going to want to start. With prime, you can use ‘subscribe and save.’ This is great for getting good prices on paper towels, toilet paper, diapers, wipes, and tons more stuff that you buy on a regular basis! Included in this is Prime music, similar to Pandora or Spotify, and unlimited photo storage! And Prime Video, for streaming of movies and T.V., similar to Netflix and Hulu. These are just a few of the many benefits! If you could eliminate your Netflix, and your Spotify, and your shipping costs, and save money on items you already buy, it would easily pay for Amazon Prime membership and save tons on top of that! Prime is $99.00 a year, which adds up to $8.25 a month. But if you’re not ready to commit to a year you can pay $12.99 a month and cancel anytime. This totally pays for itself! Best of all, you can do a 30-Day Free trial, and see if you’re happy with it before committing.
Change Phone Plans/Phones
This can save you a ton of money. Some phone carriers are much cheaper than others. And while they may not get the exact same service, they’re really close. In some places, I get better service with T-Mobile than my sister does with Verizon. You can also change your phones to save you money. You could be paying an extra $25+ every month until you pay off your $800+ phone. My husband bought a $250 unlocked Motorola phone from Best Buy, so now he doesn’t have an extra monthly charge on top of the phone bill AND his phone is unlocked, so if we switch carriers he doesn’t have to buy a new one.
Change Car Insurance Companies
This can save you upwards of $1,000 a year! There are so many insurance companies out there competing for your business. We had a really good rate on our cars, all of our friends were jealous! Then I met a guy who insisted I get a quote from his company, he ended up cutting our price in HALF with DOUBLE the coverage on our house and our cars! We pay $800 a year for our three cars now! And we get a discount for paying yearly.
Use Rebate Apps
There are a ton of rebate apps out there that are good ways to save a little extra money. While it won’t make you rich, every little bit helps. I like Ibotta a lot, I just use it until I have enough to pay for a full grocery trip, and then I get a whole cart of groceries free! Another great one for online shopping is Ebates. It gives you cash back for all of your online purchases, some stores have higher percentages than others. The best part is I when I use online grocery shopping through Wal-Mart, I get the cash back through Ebates! Double the savings! There’s also Chekout51, which is very similar to Ibotta.
No Spend Time
Set a period of time that your family isn’t going to spend a dime, it’s harder than you think! People don’t realize that they’re spending money every single day. Whether it’s a bill that automatically charges to your card, getting gas, eating out, grabbing a candy bar, it’s constant! You can aim to avoid spending two days every week, or one weekend a month, or every other day. Whatever you think you can handle, and then you can gradually make it a bigger no spending period.
Use Credit Cards Responsibly
Using credit cards can actually save you a bunch of money, believe it or not. We use our credit card for all of our bills, which gives us a ton of rewards points. At the end of every year we cash out those points for gift cards and/or cash back and that’s what pays for all of our Christmas presents. We haven’t paid out of pocket for Christmas presents for four years! Some people also use their GAP cards, or other retail cards to pay for everything so that they can use their points to buy new clothes. BUT, this only works if you can handle paying off your credit card at the end of every month. The last thing you want to do is rack up your credit card and get stuck in debt, paying interest.
Use Cash If You Can’t Handle Cards
If you can’t handle using credit cards, use the envelope system. Figure out your budget for the month, and put each amount of cash in different envelopes. Label them Gas, Groceries, Eating Out, etc. This way you know exactly how much you’re spending and you’re more cautious about what you’re buying.
Give Yourself An Allowance
People often don’t account for a lot of things when creating their budget. Say for instance, I want to order a planner off of Amazon, I need some new foundation, and I want to get a new pair of workout pants. Depending on what brands you like that could easily be $100 you didn’t account for. So give yourself an allowance to spend every month on things that aren’t accounted into your budget.
Invest In A Gym Membership
This might not make sense, because almost every other article you read will say “cancel your membership, workout at home.” I’ve tried, I am NOT good at working out at home. And when I’m paying for a gym membership it motivates me to not eat out, which saves a ton of money. It also takes up a good chunk of my day to get up, go to the gym, and come home and shower and get ready. This keeps me from going to the store or out to lunch for a playdate, and spending money out of boredom. So I believe that if you enjoy exercising, or you’re committed to your fitness goals then a gym membership is just an investment. Not to mention that staying in good health will save you tons in the long run on medical bills!
Sidenote: This is dependent on how much memberships cost near you. In the small town I use to live in, the basic membership was $50 a month! Ouch. But where I live now, I can get one with way more to offer for $9.99/month. Do some research before you overpay.
Meal planning saves money in so many ways. First, if you have a plan to cook everything you’re buying, this keeps food from going to waste. Also, if you’ve got a meal plan, you’ve got a grocery list, which helps fight against impulse buys. Another way meal prepping helps me to save money is by allowing me to never have to buy food for lunches, or go out to eat. I always make an extra serving of dinner, so I can eat it for lunch the next day. With meal prepping, you’re less likely to go out to eat out of laziness because you already have food ready for you to eat. Even meals that I can’t completely prepare ahead, I still prepare what I can. For spaghetti I cook the meat sauce ahead. For chicken breast, I cut the fat off and cut the breasts in half, and make the breading mixture. Just prep everything you can on one day of the week, it will save so much time and money.
To add some motivation to cooking, I got this cute little personalized notebook that you can write recipes in. Super simple and cheap, but for the more OCD, they also have this recipe binder that’s easier to alphabetize and switch things around.
*Don’t forget to grab your FREE Meal Planning Sheet and Grocery List printables!
Put Money Into Savings
Whether you’re in debt or not, at least a little bit into savings every single time you get paid. You never know what’s going to happen. We’ve had so many things come up that we were so grateful we had savings for. We actually have multiple savings accounts. One for emergencies savings, one for vacationing, one for house stuff such as a new water heater, new couches, etc, and one for our cars. You never know when something will go wrong with your cars, and mechanic shops charge a TON of money for very little work. Saving money ahead of time will save you from having a large charge to your credit card that you’re stuck paying interest on.
Get Your Credit Score Up
You’d be surprised how much your credit score affects your life. Having a bad credit score puts you at risk for having higher interest rates on all of your loans. I had a friend who had a 25% interest rate on her car. That’s freaking insane! That’s like throwing your money away. Also, there are certain things that having a good credit score can save you some serious money on. Like our car insurance, some companies will allow you to use your credit score to get a lower rate. We pay $800 a year for our three cars, with excellent coverage! Some ways you can get your credit score up is minimize debt, and increase your maximum amounts on your current credit cards. Also, if you don’t have enough lines of credit, get another and use it responsibly. Using your credit card is a good way to up your score as long as you’re not maxing it out, and keeping it below 50% of what your max amount is.
Use Lump Sums of Money Wisely
If you come into a decent amount of money, whether it be your tax return, or you sold some furniture, or you flipped a car, whatever it may be. Use it wisely. Put some into savings, and put some towards debt if you have any. Pay off your phones to save money each month on your phone bill. Don’t go blow it.
Avoid Car Payments
If you have the option to buy a newer car and have a car payment, or an older car that you can pay cash for, get the older car! Car payments can ruin you. When you get a loan you have to pay interest, and in some cases it can be pretty high, especially if your credit isn’t great. Also, if you have a car loan you have to pay for full coverage insurance, rather than just liability. If you can”t even afford to buy a cheaper car outright, try and get a personal loan for it, rather than a car loan. Sometimes you can get a lower interest rate that way, and you wont have to pay for full coverage.
Don’t Forget About Yearly/Bi-Annual Bills
So many people are guilty of this. They don’t put money away every month for bills that only get paid once or twice a year, such as car registration, car insurance, homeowners insurance, etc. Then the bill comes up and you’re charging hundreds, sometimes over $1,000 to your credit cards. You can divide up what the cost would be per month, and put it away into a separate account. Or, we like to use our tax return to pay for those sorts of things, or put a lump sum in each savings account. But that’s a gamble! We have lots of write off’s and a daughter, so we always get a pretty big return, but if you rely on your return to pay bills and you end up getting nothing back or owing money, you better have a savings to back you up.
I hope this list benefits you as much as it has me! What tips do you have for saving money? Let us know in the comments!
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*Don’t forget to grab your FREE Meal Planning Sheet and Grocery List printables!