Interested in finding great ways to save money? If so, you can’t afford to miss this post!
I pride myself in frugal living! It truly bothers me to spend money on things that aren’t necessary. I definitely don’t have it all figured out and I have some months that do not go as well as I planned.
But, I try to stay aware of my spending. Luckily, my husband and I are on the same page with most of our finances so he’s typically game to go along with whatever I suggest.
Below is a list of 20 great ways you can start saving money today. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but merely a list to get you thinking about what you can apply to your life.
20 GREAT WAYS TO SAVE MONEY:
1) Make a weekly meal plan and stick to it!
This is huge for me. We have two kids that are busy with after-school activities, and my husband and I both work (I’m part time). Most of our evenings are spent running from activity to activity. But, on Sunday nights, I spend a little time looking over the week to decide on the meals that fit each day of the upcoming week best.
I typically know which days will be the craziest, and I can plan accordingly. I also know if I will have a light day, and I can make that a day that I prepare two meals if needed so my busier days aren’t as stressful. On those really hectic days, I tend to turn to my crock pot!
2) Avoid fast food.
This goes hand in hand with #1 on my list. If you prepare your meals ahead of time, you can typically avoid fast food. Going through the drive thru really adds up in cost, and the food options are usually not very healthy anyway. Just don’t do it…unless it’s Chick-fil-A and you have a coupon;)
3) Use your grocery ads to make your weekly grocery list.
I grab the grocery ads on Sunday night when I am planning my weekly menu. I plan meals from the items I find on sale where I shop. I make a very detailed list of the items I need and stick to the list when shopping.
I have actually ordered my groceries online a few times and scheduled a pick-up time for the next day. This was a great way to avoid the temptation of throwing any impulse items in the grocery cart. I’m not sure why I don’t do this every week! Check your local grocery store to see if they offer this service. It’s great for individuals that don’t have extra time to shop. You can simply shop from home in your pjs at midnight if you need to and schedule a pick up time that fits your schedule.
4) Take your lunch to work.
With a little preplanning, this can really be a money saver. When you are making your weekly menu as mentioned above, don’t forget to add food items you can take to work. My husband also throws in an afternoon snack so he’s not tempted to find a vending machine when the mid-afternoon munchies hit!
5) Make your coffee at home.
I will not lie, I love a good Starbuck’s treat every now and then. But, that is how I try to view it…a treat! I buy good quality coffee that I love and can make at home each morning for mere pennies. The $5.00 every day for Starbucks (or the equivalent) adds up.
6) Try to find neighbors/friends willing to do a babysitting swap.
If you have little ones, you know that finding a quality babysitter is going to cost you, unless you have family near by to help. When our kiddos were smaller, we had two couples that were willing to take turns with babysitting.
Each month we would have a babysitting night, and we would rotate. This would give us a free night out two months in a row, then, on the babysitting night in the third month, it would be our turn to watch all the kids. Our kids loved it as they got to play with their friends; and my husband and I loved it because it gave us much needed time to reconnect with each other, which is just as important (or more!) than saving money.
7) Sell unwanted items.
I have several friend who are regulars with Craigslist, Ebay, and Facebook swap and shop groups. I have never personally used any of those services, but it’s definitely something to consider.
Another option is taking gently used clothing to second hand clothing stores for resale. Most stores I have gone to require setting up an appointment in advance. They will go through your items and select those that best fit their store’s needs.
And, don’t forget, there is always a good old fashioned garage sale. This does require a lot of work up front and devoting your day (or weekend).
8) Make your own gifts.
I really love this! If you’ve spent any time on my blog, you’ve probably noticed that I enjoy a good project! Making gifts for your friends/family is a great way to save money, but more importantly, to personalize a gift.
I feel that so many gifts are generic these days, with Amazon allowing a quick click to purchase something within seconds. Pinterest has endless ideas for homemade gifts. Gifts made with your own hands just mean more.
9) If you don’t have time or you’re just not interested in hand made gifts, buy gifts out of season and store for a later time.
This works great for children’s gifts. My kids’ school requires all of the children in their class to be invited to parties if invitations are passed out at school, so my kids are invited to birthday parties a ton. This of course means getting a gift.
I have found that Target and Walmart both have amazing after Christmas toy sales. I try to stock up on clearance items that I think will be well received as gifts at a later time. My kids then go into our gift closet and pick out an item that best fits their friend’s interests.
10) Host a clothing exchange with friends.
Our neighborhood had a women’s clothing exchange a couple of years ago, and it was awesome! Everyone went through their closets and brought several outfits that were still in good condition, but we had just grown tired of. Then at the exchange, we got to pick out “new to you” items. This is a fun night out and a way to get a few new(ish) outfits for nothing!
11) Cut the cable cord.
We haven’t had cable for a few years now, and I do not miss it at all. We have tried several services such as Sling TV, Hulu, etc. As of right now, we are using Netflix and Playstation Vue. Netflix ranges from $8-12 per month, depending on the selected package. The basic Playstation Vue plan is $29.99 monthly. My husband’s main TV priority was ESPN…this is included in the basic PS Vue plan, so we’re covered!
12) Get rid or your land line or go with Magic Jack.
We considered getting rid of our land line, but decided with children it might be better to keep it for a while. We use Magic Jack which only costs us $35/year. We have used this service for several years and have been very pleased.
13) Use your local library!
We definitely put our tax dollars to good use with our local library. They have so many amazing resources. I highly recommend you take some time and learn what your public library offers. We frequently check out books using the online login, place them on hold, and pick them up when they are ready.
Take advantage of Overdrive for eBooks and Zinio for eMagazines. These are free, people! There have been very few books or magazines that I have not been able to find. I occasionally have to wait a bit longer to read something, but it really has never been a big inconvenience. They also have a great selection of movies!
14) Keep your savings goals written in a place you will see!
This has always been very helpful for me when it comes to saving money. Just increasing my awareness of what I am trying to save reduces my temptation to spend money unnecessarily. I also find it rewarding to see the progress I make through hard work and sacrifice.
15) Pay with cash.
If you have done any research on ways to be more frugal or ways to save money, you have read that you should use cash vs. credit. Talk about improving your spending awareness! If you spend all of your allotted cash, you’re done!
I don’t always go with the cash only plan, but when I do, I definitely tend to spend less than I would if I were to just swipe my credit card. For me the key is just being more mindful of spending. Do I need it or do I just want it?
16) Don’t impulse buy.
Let me start by saying, I love Amazon…I really think they have an amazing business model. BUT, it is way too easy to purchase something on a whim. Most individuals input their credit card information so they just have to click and in two days, the item is on their doorstep.
If you find something that you just happen upon, put it in your cart and think about it for a day or two. If you come back to it later and find you still think you need it, go for it. But, try to avoid those impulse buys and you will definitely save money!
17) Shop around for car and house insurance.
This could potentially save you hundreds every year. Just be certain the coverage is going to fully meet your needs before you make the switch.
18) Use cloth napkins vs. paper.
This is a little thing, but it feels much less wasteful. We rarely need to purchase paper napkins as we just have a few sets of cloth napkins that we rotate through.
19) Drive your car until it dies!
Ok, maybe that is not the best route. But, I do think it’s important to drive your car as long as it makes sense to keep it. My husband and I have had our vehicles since 2009, they are both paid for and are in fairly good condition.
We have had a few costly repairs recently, but I try to look at how much longer I will be able to keep the vehicle after the repairs are complete. With an active family I do not need a top-of-the-line vehicle, just a safe ride that gets us from point A to point B. Sit down with someone familiar with automobiles and car repairs to help you decide if it makes sense to hold on to yours a little longer.
20) Write down every penny you spend for two months.
I did this in December and January, and it was eye opening. As I mentioned, I am known for being frugal and finding creative ways to save money. But, it is so easy to spend a dollar here and a dollar there. Tracking your spending just puts it to the front of your mind, improving your money awareness.
I have made better choices with spending through this exercise. I am constantly asking myself, “do I need it or do I want it?”. If it is just a want, how badly do I want it. AND, if I do want it really badly, if I wait a few days, do I still really want it? This keeps me from spending money on things that I will not care a thing about a few weeks down the road.
Whew! That was a lot of money saving advice! I hope you got some new ways to save money. If you have some others tips, please make a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!