This month as a family we are focusing on our budget and being mindful of spending. Here are a list of some small habit changes we have made which have led to more money in our bank:
- Periodically shop around for rates. Do you think your cable bill and insurance bills are as low as they can go? Guess again! Periodically calling and shopping around can yield you big savings. For example, I had an insurance junk mail arrive at my door. It was insurance for educators. My husband took the time to call them and guess what? That call was worth $300 in insurance savings a year AND with more coverage (we now have greater housing coverage and an umbrella policy). The same thing happened a few months ago with our internet bill. My husband called and asked if there was anyway to shrink the bill. Turns out we could upgrade (yes, that’s not a typo…upgrade) our Internet and it would actually save us! It never hurts to call or shop around. You may be surprised on how some of your fixed bills are negotiable.
- Shop Second-hand. This change in lifestyle has saved me so much money! I’ve never been one to shop fancy stores, opting instead to buy many of my clothes at Target. But I took it a step farther and started frequenting places like Goodwill and other resale shops. That change has saved our family so much money. I have nicer brand clothes now (Banana Repulic, GAP, Lululemon) and I pay less than before! Did you know many Goodwills get brand new items from places like TJ Max or Target? So you can get the same items, still new, for half the cost! At the rate that kids grow or that styles change, why not get a deal. I find keeping a list in my phone of things I’m looking for helps me shop at these stores with purpose. I keep bins of clothes in the basement for the kids in the next size up and look for deals in places like these.
- Beverages. As you grab those 12 packs of soda or bottles of juice, did you ever glance at the price? Those tasty beverages are pricey. One easy way to save each month is to eliminate, or at least limit, those beverages in your budget. Water is the cheapest (not bottled), followed by some lemonades/juice you can make in a pitcher. Start to train your family to think of other beverages as an occasional treat and watch your savings grow! We’ve also used a Soda Stream (given as a gift to our family), which cuts down on soda costs.
- Make your own coffee. Yes, it’s another idea about beverages, but I think this one needs to be it’s own number. You know where I’m going with this one…STARBUCKS! We all love our Starbucks..those cute green and white cups. But you know what else is green, white, and cute? Those dollars that will be staying IN your wallet if you limit going there. Making your own coffee at home and toting it around in a thermos, while not as trendy, will save you tons. Spending almost $5 a day on coffee equals over a thousand dollars a year.
- Bag Lunch It! Eating out is expensive! Eating out while working each day can mean anywhere from $5-10 on the low end. That’s a minimum of $1300 a year on lunch! Couldn’t you think of a better way to spend that amount of money?! Instead, try packing your own lunch. I like this option because it also helps my waistline at the same time as my wallet!
- Save for big purchases. Remember as a child when you had that piggy bank. Remember what it was for? SAVING. While not glamorous, the lost art of saving really will help your budget. In the age of credit cards and ample credit handed out, we tend to buy now and think later. However, it’s a lot less satisfying to sit home paying for a purchase you already have.Which means you’re more likely to keep spending in addition to the debt you accumulated. Retraining yourself to save FIRST, then buy, will reap bundles in your budget. For example, we want to remodel our bathroom. We’ve been saving for the last six months to do so. Over this time we’ve bought tile, a toilet, a vanity, but have yet to complete the project because we are still saving. I have to look at ugly tile awhile longer, but it will be better than staring at a big bill we can’t pay.
- Go long. What are some things you can go a bit longer before getting in order to save money yearly? Maybe you can move that hair cut/color from every six weeks to eight? Could you cut the grass every other week instead of weekly? While going longer won’t lead to immediate savings, you will save yearly by extending the life or wear of some things in your life.
These are some ways we save money. If you have any other ways your family saves money, we’d love to hear from you!
If not, keep saving! Let’s all aim to get debt free!