Sometimes in life, things happen that affect your income, and you need to spend less money now! Here are some suggestions for QUICK, money-saving results.
1. Make a list of things you need, and buy only those things.
Shopping can be enjoyable, but it shouldn’t be your hobby. Every store you shop sets you up for buying things you do not need. Impulse purchases make the retail world go ’round! This is especially true at the grocery store. So, plan your meals and make a list before you shop, then stick to your list. New to meal planning? Here’s a cheat sheet!
Don’t hang out at the mall, because the whole experience is designed to create demand for the products they sell. Beat the system! Don’t go. Only you can imagine your savings on this one, but you WILL save money. Savings: incalculable.
2. Step AWAY from the latte.
Stop stopping at Starbucks. Take a guess how much you’re spending there over the course of a week – say $25 – then multiply that by 52 weeks for a little eye-opener. That’s $1,300. Thirteen. Hundred. Dollars. What fabulous things could you buy with that money? Make your own great cup of coffee! Get yourself a travel mug, a French Press, and some high-quality coffee ($25-50 for those). Buy flavored creamers ($5) and some flavored syrups ($10). Create a gourmet coffee bar in your kitchen for $75 – $100 (or way less). Savings: $100/month (after the first month).
3. Forego fast food breakfasts and lunches.
Eating out – especially fast food – is not only bad for your budget; that food is GARBAGE! You should be getting quality fuel for your body, and it is difficult to find on a fast food menu. Take some time, and really think about food choices. Buy some good ingredients and make your own. Treat yourself to better food. Check out “5 Ideas for Keto Breakfast.” Even if you don’t save money (and I think you will), you will feel better with better fuel. Savings: $10 – $50 week.
4. Stop buying snacks at work.
My office mates and I were in the habit of getting a morning soda or coffee in the snack bar at work. We used this time for recapping our evenings or discussing items for the day, and it was enjoyable. However, spending $1.75 for a 16 oz drink was ridiculous (then the price increased to $2 each). Sometimes we would buy snack items, too, and come out of there having spent the better part of a $5 bill. Yikes! It had to stop. Now, I buy 12-pack cartons of sodas for $5.99 (or less on sale), and spend 50 cents each on a drink, and I buy snacks in bulk at Costco – packs of nuts, beef jerky, chips, breakfast bars – for FAR less per pack than they charge at the snack bar. Check out these ideas for snacks. Savings: $1.25 – $4/day or $6.25 – $20/week.
5. Find new means of entertainment: limit eating out and movies.
If you are reading this post, you need to spend less, so find new ways to entertain yourself. Children need to learn to entertain themselves, too, and not expect “activities” constantly. Eat at home. Buy the DVD. Go to parks and museums. Live within your means. Savings: $100/month or more.
6. Reconsider your gym membership.
How much are you spending on that gym membership? How many times do you go? Are you making it worth it? If not, look at other options. There are pages and pages of body-weight resistance “boot-camp” workouts available on Pinterest. You could just hit the road and walk or run in your neighborhood. There are also streaming workout videos on Amazon Prime. Check it out! Savings: $80/month?
7. Get rid of Cable TV: it is not a necessity.
Eliminate cable to save $100 plus per month, and you’ll be better off. Decent internet is almost $70/month here, and it works well for streaming. We have Netflix and Amazon Prime, and we only watch what we choose. Play cards. Play a board game. Go for a walk. Savings: $100+/month and your sanity.
8. Don’t buy new clothes.
Clothing can cost a small fortune. Decide what you really need, and spend your money on quality clothes and properly-fitted shoes. Donate old or ill-fitting clothes to make room in your closet for good clothes, and arrange your closet nicely so you can easily make attractive combinations. Take care of your clothes, making small repairs when needed. Keep your shoes clean and polished, and get them repaired or re-heeled when they become worn. Consider shopping at consignment shops or (gasp!) thrift stores when you need “new” clothes. Creating great fashion looks “on the cheap” can be a blast for creatives! What about clothes for children or teens? Here are some tips. Savings: incalculable.
9. Save on gasoline.
Most of us must drive to work, and that uses gas. So, how can you save money? Drive differently. Rabbit starts and stops and aggressive driving habits waste gas. Leave 5 – 10 minutes earlier, and relax on the drive by listening to audio books, calming music, your favorite band – anything that keeps you calm. Use your navigation app to preview and monitor traffic conditions. Re-route as needed. Combine your trips. If you think through your errands ahead of time, you can plan your outings better and stop making multiple trips. Keep your car maintained: appropriate tire pressure, oil changes, tire rotations, etc. Carpool to work to save even more! Hubby and I are carpooling and saving an entire tank of gas each week ($120/month – almost half of my new car payment). Savings: $5 – $10/week or more.
10. Use less electricity.
Using less electricity takes a mindset like changing driving habits to save on gasoline. Electricity is expensive here, and we do what we can to save. We use LED bulbs indoors and outside, ceiling fans in all our rooms to move the air around, energy-efficient appliances, and laptops/tablets rather than desktop computers. Showering uses lots of hot water – and it isn’t optional! So, we cut the cost of laundry by using only cold water, except for one load of whites each week (using hot water).
Clothes will dry when hung in the sunshine . . . for FREE. I hang-dry all my work clothes, and that helps them last longer. After they are dry, I put them in the dryer for about 10 minutes with a fabric softener sheet and a damp cloth to soften them and remove wrinkles. Those are some ways to save on electricity, but also make sure you turn off items you aren’t using. Sounds simple, but it takes diligent effort at my house. Use NO lights when the sun is providing enough, and always turn off lights and fans when you aren’t in the room. Savings: $20 or more each month (just because you’re being conscientious).
Sometimes, things just happen, and you need to be able to live on less. Layoffs/furloughs, major car repairs, and injuries can cause financial catastrophes. You can insulate yourself a little by having two months (or more) of expenses in a savings account. How do you put away money in a savings account when it takes every penny just to make it from paycheck to paycheck? It can be done, and it takes a change of mindset.
How do you get that mindset? Check out some more posts about living WELL on less money. Use the Category menu on the right. I’d love to hear from you, so send me an email – Rebecca@FamilyFramework.net.