Do you always find yourself with more month than money? Are you always on the lookout for deals and other ways to save money. And, yet can’t ever seem to get ahead?
Are you already on a super tight budget and yet need to find more ways to save?
Yeah girl, me too.
When it comes to finding the best money saving tips, I am all ears. I am always on the lookout for new ways to save a few bucks each month.
From cutting cable to eating at home more, I am bound and determine to keep our expenses way down so that I can continue to be a mostly stay at home mom.
When it comes to frugal living, there are about 45 kajillion blogs out there with just as many different ways to save money. Here, I am gathering my favorite ideas that I have read in my past research as I am always trying to save money.
1. Save big on groceries
Meal planning is by far the best thing I have done to save money for our family. I no longer just pop into the store and “pick up a few things” which we all know never works!
So, now I have a plan, make a list, and stick to it.
Oh, and remember to take your list with you! So many details… #mombrain
2. Pay off debt
Why save money in a savings account at .005% interest when your cards are charging you 20% – or more. Ouch. If you are doing Dave Ramsey – or a similar plan – then you know you need to get to $500 fast.
But then focus on those cards. Get them paid off. Don’t close them, just pay them off.
I have one card and that only has the monthly charges for Netflix and Hulu payments on them. Then I just pay it off each month. this keeps my credit “active” while not overspending.
The card is still cut up and I definitely do not walk around with cards in my wallet – would you give a recovering alcoholic a beer and say just hold this for a minute? No! Well, the same is true for a former spend-aholic such as myself.
Protect yourself from yourself. Pay off the cards, and then get rid of the actual card without closing the account, so you don’t hurt your score.
3. Make a budget
Unlike popular belief, the word budget is not a four letter word! But debt definitely is. Which one hurts worse?
Look, I don’t like to make budgets either, but I dislike having debt more than I dislike being told how much I can spend (or not spend!).
So I make my budget, and work hard to stick to it.
4. Use the envelope system
Use cash only. Spending cash hurts. So, decide on a set amount each week and stick to it.
For some reason, it is so hard for me to spend cash. I don’t know what it is, but once I am holding onto those hard earned dolla dolla bills I want to keep them!
Whereas, the debit card doesn’t seem as real to me when I am swiping away at the store. Using the cash only envelope system has been an amazing way for me to reduce our spending, and at the same time reduce those pesky overage charges.
5. Life hacks
In this day and age there are so many fun and easy apps that allow us to save money on items that we were going to buy anyway.
Now I have said this before, and I will say it again here: if you are buying things you don’t need then you are not in fact “saving” money! And when money is tight it is especially important that you don’t get swept up in the idea of saving money.
However, when it comes to grocery shopping, this is a no-brainer. My two favorite apps for getting money back are Ibotta and Checkout51.
You simply scan your receipt once you are done and they give you money back for certain items, which in my mind is way easier than cutting-saving-hauling coupons to the store!
I remember my dad always reminding me to turn off the lights when I leave the room. And to not run the water while I was brushing my teeth. Now I realize as an adult that not only are these tried and true ways to save money, but they are also important in being good stewards for our planet.
Now, it is my turn to teach these truisms to my kids…and to endure the eye rolls just as my parents did!
One website I really love is run by my friend Pam over at Greenily, she makes it easy to practice living greener. She has amazing and practical tips that any busy mom can actually do.
Everything is geared towards busy moms wanting to do the right thing and do what we can to help protect our earth while also teaching our kids how important that is.
She makes going green so easy and I don’t ever have to worry about her suggesting anything too crazy!
7. Save big on bills
Look at your monthly budget you made back on step 3, what can you cut?
I don’t know about you but I love stopping into my neighborhood drive thru coffee shop and getting a yummy latte. So I am always bummed when the latest frugal living/saving money expert tells me to cut my morning coffee.
Instead, I would rather just cut it back a little bit while still enjoying my yummy lattes on a semi-regular basis.
And then, I am more than willing to look for other ways to save a few bucks.
For me, it was a simple choice to save hundreds each month by cutting the cable bill. But for you, TV might be your favorite form of escape, so find your own thing that you can cut without feeling the pinch too badly.
8. Try a no-spend challenge
A simple Pinterest search and you will have no shortage of different no-spend challenges. From the pantry challenge, no sales, no new clothes, to not eating out for 30 days – there are a plethora of ideas on the web for different ways to save money.
Find your challenge and plan it out. If you are going to be decluttering your closet anyway, it wouldn’t be too hard to put yourself on a “no new clothes” challenge until you know for sure what you actually already have.
Once you know what you have and where any possible holes you might have in your new fun capsule wardrobe, then you can shop with intention. So instead of mindlessly shopping the sales and buying yet another LBD that you don’t need as a SAHM.
Rather you can shop for that one critical piece that finishes up your super cool new capsule wardrobe.
9. Financial planning
I realize that talking financial planning when you are already on a tight budget might seem crazy.
But I have found that once I set some goals and start dreaming, that it is easier for me to stick to frugal living. On those days when it is hard to say no to another cute pair of shoes – remember your dreams to take the family on a fun vacation. And it will make it easier to keep on walking.
I love this new movement: fire – how much do you really need to save for retirement? Luckily, Millennials are changing the way we look at retirement and I am all in!
Instead of thinking that I need a million dollars, instead I am looking at a housing solution that is more sustainable to decrease my cost of living. And paying down my debt will decrease the amount of money that I will need once I retire.
Spend some time Googling this idea of Financial Independence Retire Early and see if this is something that might make you more willing to get even more frugal!
10. Minimize your house
How much house do you really need? Along with the idea of being frugal to work towards an early retirement is this new idea of shunning the huge McMansions we were all clamoring for just a short decade or two ago.
Minimalism is a trending theme on Pinterest these days. And with shows like Tidying Up going viral on Netflix, more people are clearing out their homes and finding they can in fact live with less.
And actually like it, to boot! What would your monthly expenses look like if you downsized your possession by half, and then moved to a smaller home?
Your heating and cooling bills might go down (see tip #7) your spending will go down (see tip #8) you can put some of the equity in your current home into a retirement account (see tip #9).
Wow, you could make a lot of progress on slashing your budget by starting to minimize. Check out my ideas on minimizing here and here.
Wrap it up
In the end, even on a tight budget you can start to take teeny, tiny baby steps towards getting out of the paycheck to paycheck cycle. So go create yourself a budget and make your morning coffee at home before you take a bag of clothes to your local homeless shelter. I would love to hear which of these tips you are going to implement!