I don’t know about anyone else, but I am constantly looking for ways to save money.
Why is that?
A year ago I was making half of what I’m making now, and back then I had to sell handmade jewelry just to survive.
Then I got a promotion and subsequent raise at work…yet somehow, I found very quickly that I was still living paycheck to paycheck.
We tend to spend what we make. So I had to make some adjustments.
So even with more money coming in and a very frugal spending hand, I have to find ways to save money. I am going to share those with you here.
- Grocery shopping. If you insist on shopping at Meijer and Whole Foods for every single item on your list, stop it. There are a few items I splurge on at these stores like avocado and greens, (and good quality meat from a farm) but otherwise if you are filling 10 bags at these stores, you might as well be loading your money into a fire pit and tossing a match on it. I did it for years, so I do have a good frame of reference. I have done multiple comparison shopping trips, and what cost $200 at Meijer can be purchased at Aldi for $90. That’s less than half. Yes, you will have to get over buying name brand items. But even if you just buy your produce, cheese, condiments, spices, toiletries, and random snack items here, you are going to save a truckload of money. Do the math. If you are spending $200 a week at those big markets, that’s $800 a month. The same items would cost roughly $360 per month at Aldi. Just think what you could do with that extra $440. If you need some Aldi training, call me. I love to teach.
- Heating and cooling. There is no reason for it to be 68 degrees in your house in the summertime. You are not a side of beef. You will be astounded by the monthly savings of just adjusting the air 3-4 degrees. In the winter we keep the heat on 65 most days. I know that probably sounds chilly, and honestly, it is. Your granny taught you to knit for a reason. Put on a sweater.
- Eating out. For the sweet love of baby Jesus, pack a lunch. There is no reason to eat out as much as we do. If you go to the grocery store on Sunday, as soon as you get home, make some little meat, cheese, and veggie trays. Or some salad jars. Then you have some grab and go food for work, and more money in your pocket. This can easily save you $20-30 per week. When you do go out to eat, make it special. Go somewhere nice, and share something. Skip the appetizer. Savor and enjoy the time you are spending together out on the town. Most people over-order and end up wasting food anyway. So think about what you’re spending, even if you can technically afford it.
- Gourmet coffee. And I use the word gourmet very loosely. Come on now. We all go to Starbucks once in a while because well, it’s frickin delish. But everyday? That’s indulgent. And expensive. If you work 20 weekdays a month and are stopping at the Bux every single day, you are spending $80-120 a month on a beverage. A caloric beverage that is adding inches to your waistline as well as reducing the funds in your bank account. Instead, buy a French press. I bought mine on Amazon for less than $20. I use Bustelo espresso roast and some sugar-free hazelnut creamer. It’s just as good as sexy drive-thru coffee, and 1/10th of the cost.
- Name brand clothing. This is a tough one for a lot of people. Yes, you look gorgeous in your Prada-lama-ding-dong, whatever it is called, but who gives a rip? And no child needs to own $50 Baby Gap jeans, sorry. I saw an outfit on one of my favorite clothing sites that cost a total of $460. $460??! That’s a car payment or half of a mortgage payment. Um, no. I started shopping around and found the pants, the top, and a pair of very similar shoes for a total of $84. And that’s still about $80 more dollars than I like to spend on clothes. Scale down. Target and TJ Maxx will be very happy to save you hundreds of dollars, and bonus: you can pick up a lovely candle and some wine glasses while you are there.
With these 5 simple money saving tips, here is what we have saved per month: (conservative estimates)
Eating out: $120
Total savings: $710
With just a few simple and honestly painless adjustments, I have saved $710. That’s $710 more in my pocket. $710 less on my credit cards. $710 closer to making ends meet when money is tight. $710 that I can save for my children to go to college or to take that long awaited trip overseas. If I can live and save like this for a year, that is $8,520.
This is how my kids and I thrive and survive in a one-income household.
It does take some discipline.
I mend torn clothes and make my own jewelry. I repurpose leftovers and freeze bulk items like chilis and soups. I shop at Goodwill for kids clothes and I buy two buck chuck wine at Trader Joe’s. All of these tiny little savings add up quickly.
Then I do have some extra money if I decide to splurge.
And by splurge I mean paying for things like medical insurance deductibles. Am I right?
Small changes. Big results.
What do you do to save money?