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Saving money can be tough but here are some ideas to get you on your path to financial freedom! Like anything else, you’ll have to make big lifestyle changes to see a big difference in your savings. Start now!
1. Drink water. We bought a water filter (here) and we filter our tap water. The fridge at our Utah house had a filter and we could just press a button and fill our cups. Our Maryland apartment doesn’t. So now I filter water like it’s going out of style. I also bought a skinny rectangular jug (here) that I keep full so the kids can easily fill their cups and water bottles. It takes more effort than before but it’s so much more healthy and we save by not drinking juice and soda.
2. Shop online. Do you have an Amazon Prime account? You can do a lot of your shopping (groceries included) and have everything delivered to your door. Click Here to Start Your Free Amazon Prime Trial Now
3. Cut your own hair. Luke started cutting his own hair when we were first married. He has saved us a TON of money by doing that! He now cuts Noa’s hair, too. I trim my hair and the girls’ at the end of summer. I don’t trust myself or Luke for major cuts for myself but I only get them every few years so isn’t a major expense for our family. We use these
4. Generic Brands- with a few exceptions, we have bought generic brands for YEARS! I actually prefer some generics to their pricier twins. Do you have an Aldi grocery store near you? We save a ton of money shopping there and buying their store brands.
5. Get rid of subscriptions and memberships. Magazines, gym, lawyer of the month, cable, etc. Do you REALLY need it? Probably not. You can save a TON by cancelling memberships and subscriptions that you really don’t use.
6. YouTube tutorials- fix a leaky sink, sew on a button, etc. I’ve trouble-shot how to repair our dishwasher, a running toilet, and a leaky faucet thanks to the good old internet!
7. Drive less- time errands so you only have to go out once. Walk or bike as often as possible, take public transportation, and car pool. You’ll save money on gas, car maintenance, and you’ll stretch the life of your current vehicle.
8. Ask for a rate and/or fee reduction- we have been successful at lowering our internet, satelite, and credit card fees and interest rates just by calling and asking. We pay our bills on time and are great customers so if something comes up like we got a new CC and forgot to switch our auto pay, we call and remind them that we are great and ask if the late fee can be waved. They usually do it because it would suck for them to lose a great customer who rarely causes problems.
9. Make your credit card work FOR you, not against you! Use it like a debit card. If you don’t have the money in the bank, don’t buy things. It sound like, duh! But our nation is in debt so people obviously don’t practice this. We have a rewards card that we use for ALL our purchases. We have 2-3 regular expenses that can’t be paid with credit but for the most part, everything else can. Because of this we rack up points like crazy. We have card that has great travel benefits because we have family spread all over the country. We have flown our family of 5 for free several times because of the points we earn doing our regular spending- groceries, gas, bills, etc. We never carry a balance and pay the card off, in full, each month.
10. Thermostat- lower it a few degrees. Also, lower it even more when you go to bed and leave for the day.
11. Library! I love a good bookstore but I love to read for free even better. We love borrowing movies, books on CD, and music from the library along with our books! If you can’t return books or have really destructive kids this might actually put you in debt.
12. Turn off the lights! It’s a small thing but it can make a big difference!
13. Make it- learn how to make your own bread, laundry soap, candles, deodorant. Find a tutorial online and then see how much you save! You also get rid of the chemicals in these products so it’s a win/win.
14. Don’t go shopping. At least as a form of entertainment. If you have the itch to get out and do something, find something free that doesn’t tempt you to spend- the park, the beach, a hike, etc.
15. Shut doors to keep rooms warm or cool. In our little apartment we have one room that is a frozen wasteland in the colder months. If that door stays open it sucks the life and heat out of the rest of the house. If I just keep that room closed, the rest of the apartment stays much warmer. The cold room is our bedroom so we just bundle up and add some extra blankets and we’re good to go at bedtime. The same goes for basement and attic doors- keep ’em closed!
16. Trade babysitting. We don’t live near family so we have to budget if we need to get a babysitter for a night out. In our old neighborhood we did a babysitting swap that was great- We watched kids one night a month and got to go out a few times.
17. Eat/drink at home. Fast food and novelty drinks add up so quickly- a few dollars here and there doesn’t seem like much but it can be shocking when you see just how much you spend on them.
18. Air up your tires and clear your car’s air filter to get better gas mileage.
19. Learn to garden.
20. Price Match. Luke has become a big fan of price matching at Walmart over the years. It can save you quite a bit of money if you have the time to learn how to do it! Another option is to install Walmart’s Savings Catcher App. You scan your receipt then Walmart searches local stores and if they find a better deal they give you the money back.
21. Use a slow cooker. There are a few nights each week that are crazy nights for our family. These are the nights we have things like dance, scouts, soccer, piano, etc. It is hard to make dinner when you’re not home…so we plan ahead and put something in the slow cooker so it will be hot and ready when we get home. If we forget, we usually end up getting something quick but pricey.
22. Pack food for trips/vacations. Luke and I went to Hawaii several years ago. It was a sort of last minute, tax return, spontaneous kind of trip. It was awesome but we were still pretty broke. We budgeted one fancy meal during our vacation and we literally packed peanut butter and jelly in our suitcases so we could eat cheaply once we got there. I also pack food when we are taking a road trip- applesauce, sandwich fixings, fresh fruit and veggies, crackers, etc. On our epic 7 day road trip from Utah to Maryland we rarely stopped for fast food. Instead, we stopped at grocery stores for real food and ice :)
23. Meal Plan- make a week’s worth of menu ideas and list your needed ingredients before you go to the store. Send the cheapskate shopping. I don’t do the grocery shopping in our family. I get distracted by fancy juice, and gelato, and brie. Like, every time I go to the store. So, it makes better sense for Luke to go. He sticks to the list and we stick to our grocery budget. Side note- when I’m pregnant I can’t even walk into a grocery store because the smells make my vomit. That’s sort of where Luke got his start as the sole grocery shopper in the family and it’s when we learned that I was busting our budget…although, I NEEEEEDED those waffles and Pop-Tarts at the time.
24. Buy in bulk. Be careful of expiration dates, though! We just threw out a few jars of mayo that went bad before we used them. A great sale is a waste if you end up throwing things away.
25. Install curtains and close them at night to keep heat in.
26. Do a NO SPEND week or month. You have to pay your bills but you cut everything else drastically. It will force you to get creative with the random things hiding in your pantry and freezer. You’ll have to repair clothing and make or re-purpose items for gifts. And if you run out of something, you’ll have to learn to go without. You’ll get creative with entertainment, too!
Luke keeps trying to talk me into a NO SPEND month but I just haven’t felt as jazzed about as him. Maybe I’ll do it and blog it…anyone want to join me?
For more money saving tips, click here.
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For tips on saving money on baby gear, click here.