When you feel like your paycheck barely covers your bills, it can be hard to find any extra to save. But there’s the thing – everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, can change some habits and eke a few more dollars out of their budget. I was a single mom on a hairstylist’s salary for 6 years, so believe me I know its hard when money is tight. But if you are serious about saving money, it can absolutely be done at any income level.
Today I am going to share 10 ways to save money, that you maybe hadn’t thought of before. Once you start seeing the payoff from being more diligent and intentional with your spending, it definitely snowballs!
Have A Written Budget
The first step to saving money is having an actual budget! Dave Ramsey says that if you don’t tell your money where to go, you will wonder where it went. Whether you use a budget form, or a piece of notebook paper, write every penny of your month out! I find that most people have no idea what they are really spending on things like food and entertainment, so it can be a little frightening to write it down on paper!
The more stuff you own, the more it owns you. Did you know Americans will spend roughly $32 BILLION dollars on self-storage units this year? Owning more than we need leads to living in larger houses and renting storage units, but its costs us something even more precious – time. Everything you own will require time and money to maintain, so choose what you allow into your life wisely.
Shop Around On Insurance
A few years ago I shopped around on our car and renter’s insurance. I had been with the same company since I was 16, and was reviving a discount for loyalty, so I assumed I was getting the best deal. Wrong! We ended up switching to an internet-based company and saving more than 50% off of our premium, with better coverage! Now that we are buying a house we went through the same company for homeowners insurance, and our premium was so low even our mortgage lender is calling them for a quote!
Pay Your Bills On Time
Paying your bills on time not only saves you from exorbitant late fees, it can also help you to get a better rate on things like insurance. When a utility company pulls your credit report, do you think they are looking at your FICO score? No, they want to see if you pay your bills.
Balance Your Checkbook
This is one that is not naturally my strong suit, but I am learning to make balancing my checkbook a priority. Not only do overdrafts cost a lot in fees, if you don’t know how much money you have in your account, how do you even begin to budget? This isn’t a fun exercise for me, but its an essential part of adulating.
Groceries are by far our biggest expense every month after housing. Come up with a weekly (or longer, whatever works for you) meal plan, then write out the ingredients you will need to make those meals. Buy only those ingredients at the store, and then don’t go shopping again until all of your food is used up! Sticking to this is a must. I am famous for meal planning then sending my husband to the store to get something else. This drives him crazy! And wastes a lot of money. I am learning I really have to be intentional and plan ahead if I want to reach my financial goals.
Not everyone is crafty or handy, but no doubt there are many things you are currently buying or paying someone else to do that you could do yourself. YouTube has a wealth of information and education on how to do simple household fixes yourself from changing out a faucet to replacing a light fixture. Paint your own walls, mow your own lawn, and clean your own house!
Buy Nice Or Buy Twice
Saving money doesn’t always mean buying the cheapest thing you can find. Sometimes it saves you money in the long run to invest in quality the first time. I find most electronics fall into this category as well as things like handbags. This will vary from person to person and household to household, but when you are purchasing something new think longevity instead if just basing your decision on price.
Stop Eating Out
I’m always blown away when I see people complain about money and then go out to eat. One meal out for our family is at least half of our weekly grocery budget. There is nothing wrong with budgeting for the occasional meal out, but if your budget is so tight you can’t save money, then you have no business seeing the inside of a restaurant.
End Your Subscriptions
One sneaky thing that can eat a lot of money are subscriptions. Whether they are Amazon subscriptions or a beauty box, odds are these aren’t actually saving you money. I recently took stock of all the subscriptions that were coming out of my account and I was stunned when I added them up! A beauty box, my Adobe suite for photo editing, FOUR separate business tools, Amazon subscriptions, my Grove Collaborative auto ship, and my Young Living auto ship. I ended up keeping the beauty box (for now, this one may get the chop too), Adobe suite, one business subscription, and my Young Living order. While a subscription may save me a few dollars here and there, having items I don’t need shipped to me every month eats up way more than I was saving. Choose subscriptions wisely.
I hope these 10 things give you some ideas on where you can start to save money right away. Remember, its about being intentional with our finances. Excuses wont get us out of a hole, only action will! I’d love to hear some of your money-saving tips in the comments!