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?
Times have changed tremendously in the past few years, I think it’s safe to say we can all agree with that. In times like these, it’s important now more than ever to be intentional with the way we spend our money.
I have learned a lot about saving money over the years. In fact, saving money isn’t as hard as it seems. It takes discipline, sacrifice, and maybe even getting a second job, but it can be done.
These are the money tips that I wish someone shared with me when I was in my late teens and early 20’s. By following these tips, my husband and I have managed to save a lot of money and invest money for our future.
So if you are serious about taking more control of your finances, here are my top 10 ways to save money.
1.Get a budgeting app & evaluate your spending
I love my budgeting app. I use Simplifi because it is easy to use and helps me with tracking my spending as well as creating savings goals and tracking my investment accounts.
At the end of each month I evaluate my spending so I can see where my money went. This helps me decide where to spend my money the following month.
Once you are able to see all of your transactions in one place, it will be easy to figure out where you are spending unnecessarily.
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 10 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.
2.Cut soda, energy drinks, and other unhealthy drinks from your grocery budget
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.
3. 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 Lobster. 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 spent a lot of money in just tips!
You should read these posts if you want to take your finances up a notch
4. Don’t tempt yourself
Don’t go out shopping just because. Unsubscribe from all of the email lists of companies where you normally spend unnecessary money.
The less you are exposed to these stores and products, the less you will be tempted to buy.
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.
5. Pay your bills on time (don’t pay late fees)
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 or more.
Focus on making sure all of your payments are made on time to avoid spending even more money on late fees and interest.
6. Shop for Christmas presents all year long
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.
7. Ditch your cable and streaming services
Do you remember when there was only one or two streaming services and they were less than 10 dollars per month? Well, those days are long gone.
At this point there are a dozen or more streaming services all competing for your money and then your attention. They keep raising the prices and not delivering better content. It time to let go of most or all of your streaming services.
If you still have cable…why?
By the time you pay for the wifi, cable, and each of your streaming platforms…you are spending a lot of unnecessary money.
8. Ditch your apps and other memberships
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. Spotify, Kindle Unlimited, meditation apps, fitness apps, etc. It wasn’t until I put all of them into my budgeting app that I realized how much money I was spending with all of the apps.
I also used to have multiple apps for the same thing. For example, for reading I would have kindle unlimited, audible and scribd. It was unnecessary. Now I only have one subscription for everything that I need and it is saving me money.
9. Buy things in bulk as much as you can.
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!
10. 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% you are still spending less than you would have if you didn’t have the coupon.
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!