Saving money doesn’t mean missing out on your favorite things, it means practicing simple habits to save money now and enjoy more of what you really want! I am a single mom, I get it, money is tight, especially when the cost of childcare is more than a mortgage! Whether you’re looking to get out of the paycheck to paycheck cycle, get out of debt or save money to buy a house or go on vacation, there are easy habits you can practice to make it happen now! They don’t include turning off all the lights or only eating ramen, these are practical things that eventually won’t even notice you’re doing!
Know where your money is going
I have a free account at Mint.com and it has been a GAME CHANGER. It is really simple to use, you just create an account and link all your bank accounts, savings accounts, loans and even any investments or assets you have. It divides up your spending into categories for you, showing you exactly how much income you have and how much you’re spending each month by category. This is so helpful to see exactly how each trip to Chick-fil-a is adding up and which areas you may be able to cut back. There are lots of pretty graphs and apps for all your devices, this is a great way to grow your financial self-awareness.
Determine Wants vs Needs
We like to trick ourselves about what we actually need. If your car needs a new transmission that is a need. If your baby gets sick and needs to go to the doctor that is a NEED. If you have a wedding to go to this weekend and you WANT a new dress but you have a few decent ones to choose from that is not a need, borrow one from a friend if you just want to switch it up but don’t really need a new dress!
Don’t buy things just because they are on sale
You’re not saving money if you by something on sale that you do not need. I love to look for sales for things that I need to buy and it is very tempting to give in other great deals and want to buy them as well, but resist the urge! It would be better to save the money for something you actually need. The goal is that by building healthy spending habits will eventually get you to a point where you have enough for the things you need and allow you to save for something you actually want!
There are so many great cable alternatives these days that you won’t miss a thing! Sling TV, Roku, and Hulu have are some of the cheapest I have found with the greatest number of channel options. Netflix is obviously a fan favorite and now YouTube also has live tv options as well!
Stop Eating Out
Eating out can be so expensive that it can devour (no pun intended!) your whole weeks’ food budget in just one meal! Unless it is a very special occasion, if your really serious about saving money and you eat out a lot, this is the first place I would start! It may take a little practice and planning but going to the grocery store and eating at home will be so much better for your wallet and your health!
Save on Groceries
- Make a list and stick to it.
- If you haven’t tried Walmart Grocery Pick-up, you need too! It is so helpful not only to save time but I end up saving money because my list is already collected for me instead of me wandering around the store coming up with extra things I “need”.
- Buy in bulk when products are on sale then deep freeze or store for later.
- Coupon – One of my favorite sites to learn the ins and outs of couponing is http://moneysavingmom.com
- Look for a Farmers Market in your area – the prices are often lower than you can get at the grocery store and the food tastes amazing and fresh!!
- Grow your own food – If you have space, this is such a fun way to save money, enjoy being outside and live more sustainably!
Make your Coffee at Home
If you buy coffee at a coffee shop only 3 days a week at 5$ a cup. That adds up to $60 a month and $720 a year!! Think of all the things you could use that extra money for!
Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, eBay, and Poshmark are my favorite places to buy pre-loved items. There are many things that are a good idea to buy used. I realize everyone’s comfort level varies here but anything you can wash should be good to go!
Sell your own Pre-loved Stuff
Sell things on eBay, have a garage sale or list your gently loved stuff on Facebook marketplace for another bargain hunter to enjoy!
Babysitting Share with Friends
- Trade off date night with friends, watch their kids and swap the next week. Save the cost of babysitting while giving your kids a chance to have a playdate as well!
- Share the same babysitter – Go on a double date with friends and split the sitter! While this gets a little tricky at bedtime it can be a great option for daytime or older kids!
Enjoy Free Activities
Check your community for free concerts, movie showings or days that your favorite museum or zoo is free!
No Spend Weekend
One weekend a month, try not to spend any money at all! Get creative, use up your leftovers and play outside or have a movie night at home!
Have a Swap Meet with Friends and Neighbors
I love this idea, you can turn it into a fun little party and your building community as well! All you do is instruct the other party to bring a few things that they no longer want and need and then trade with each other! You get rid of some of your old things and take home something else that you would use!
Visit Hair and Dental Schools for Discounted Services.
I have gotten my hair cut and colored at the local hair school on a few occasion and I have always been impressed. The student works under the supervision of a teacher and gets approval for each step of the way. I have always felt in great hands and it’s a fraction of the cost!
Barter and Trade Skills
Say your a hairdresser but your friend is a seamstress, do her hair in exchange for all the pants you need hemmed! This works for so many talents and skills and you would be surprised how many people are thrilled to barter if only you ask!
Sign up for an HSA
If your employer gives you the option of having a healthcare plan with an HSA I highly recommend it! It works by putting a little money aside from each paycheck and putting it into a savings account just for health care expenses for you and your family! Many employers will match your contributions up to a certain amount and unlike an FSA you can save it for next year or invest it if you don’t use it all!
What are your favorite money saving tips? I would love to hear from you!