I know that there is no way to stop spending money completely. As much as we all wish we could save everything we make, we have to spend money to live. Below are a few of my favorite ways of making sure that at least some of my paycheck is going into savings:
- Stop doing four loads of laundry when you could do one. With the exception of whites (which in my estimation should always be washed in hot water), everything else can be washed all together in cold water on a light cycle. Most clothes today are made well enough that they will not bleed onto other clothes or shrink. When you buy something, check to make sure it will stand up to being thrown in with everything else.
- Turn your water heater temperature down. You don’t need boiling water to come out of the faucet to do dishes. The dishwasher heats it’s own water so this doesn’t impact the cleanliness of those dishes either. It won’t make you rich overnight, but you will be surprised how all the little things add up.
- Start using rewards programs. This isn’t just an in-store thing, I use Ebates whenever I am shopping on Amazon (which I do a lot). I can make up to 10% back on my purchases, which adds up quickly. Even with in-store perks programs, I always sign up if there are coupons involved. Just last week I got $10 off a $10 purchase because of my loyalty program. Can’t knock free!
- Lay off the expensive make-up. This can save you quite a bit of money if you are a make-up addict. There are certain things like foundation and concealer that you should buy a higher quality to avoid break-outs. Other than that, stick to the e.l.f. brand you can get at Wal-Mart. A $2 eyeliner works just as well as that $8.99 brand.
- Start thrift shopping. If you are like my family, who loves to shop, you will go through a whole lot of money without even realizing it. The next time you are tempted to go to the mall, make your way to your local thrift shop instead. It’s way more fun to find deals on amazing clothes and you will not feel the depressing guilt afterwards. Especially not on that $40 outfit you found for $4.
- Start a budget. This feels like such a huge step. You may feel nervous because you know you have been spending too much in certain areas and you don’t want to have to face it. It’s time to wake up! You will not get out of bed tomorrow and miraculously have a huge savings account, manage your money wisely, and not have to worry about how you will pay your bills. You have to start somewhere, and this is the best place to start.
- Make a menu plan. It’s not hard, there is not some magical formula. Just write out a bunch of recipes that you like, assign them to days of the week, and shop for the ingredients you need. It’s that simple! You will save a ton of money since you only buy the groceries you need, and you will not feel guilty when you have to throw out groceries that go bad.
- Find a discount food store in your area. These stores sell food stuffs from a grocery store might have dented packaging, overstocked items, or food that is getting close to it’s expiration date. Browse through the aisles to see if there is anything that you need. I use our discount food store to buy bread, pasta, and cereal especially. It is a great way to stretch your budget without giving up anything.
- Rethink your cell phone bill. This is HUGE! You don’t have to pay $150 a month so that you can get directions, check Pinterest, and talk to your mom. I use Straight-Talk and only pay $45 for unlimited talk/text and 5 gigs of data. No additional fees or taxes added on.
- Start packing a lunch for work. If you do not already do this, start. You will not believe the amount of money that you will save once you stop throwing away your money on fast-food. Eating leftovers won’t be boring once you start seeing your savings account build up.
- Stock up. This sounds counter-productive, but I have a small chest freezer in my back room that saves me a ton of money each month. I keep it stocked year round with frozen bread, meat, and fruits and veggies. I find bread at my local discount store, I grow my own fruits and veggies in my backyard, and I order meat in bulk through a bulk club. Whenever I need something I can go to my chest freezer rather than the store.
- Make it yourself. Rather than running to the store when you run out of laundry detergent or hand soap, make your own. It’s so much less expensive and I love knowing exactly what is going into my wash.
- Find ways to re-use. I haven’t purchased paper towels for 2 years (except to make homemade baby wipes). Instead I use cloth napkins made from leftover scraps of fabric. My kids love the bright and fun colored napkins and I love the break for my household budget.
- Buy in bulk. Once a month I get several very large packages on my doorstep filled with TP, diapers, cat food and other monthly necessities. The wonderful thing is that I save money on each item every month since I order large quantities on a subscription. If I have enough to last me through the month, I can just say I don’t need it until the next month.
- Get rid of your TV. Okay, don’t go and throw out your television, but definitely throw out that satellite subscription. Do you know what I pay each month to watch as many shows online as I want? Nothing! I bought a little box that hooks right into my TV and my wi-fi and with my Amazon Prime membership I can watch hundreds of different shows and movies whenever I want.
How do you control your spending to save?