1. Budget, budget, budget.
Writing and following a set budget will be sure to save you more money each month. A budget is a tool in which you decide what you want to spend money on each month. The first time my husband and I set a budget we were able to save over $500 each month. Being intentional with spending is bound to save you money that you can put towards debt, savings, or bills. Need more budget inspiration? Click here.
2. Make your own coffee.
Cut the extra coffee and find a way to make your own. Although Starbucks and other specialty coffee shops taste delicious (and are convenient), they are also a luxury. Do you really need the luxury? Try out different store-bought coffee brands and make your own cup of joe. With so many options of flavored creamers out there, you’re sure to make a delicious cup each day!
3. Pack your own lunch.
Make extra at dinner each night so you have leftovers for the next day. If you are a creature of habit (like me), then make all your lunches on Sunday that way you have no excuse to go out for lunch! I find that if I pack all my lunches for the week then I’m setting myself up for success because I know that I don’t have to go out to lunch.
4. Use Ibotta.
Ibotta is a rebate program that gives you cash back for purchases that you make at the store. Simply scan your purchases with your phone and earn money to put towards gift cards. When I redeem my rebates I always choose an Amazon gift card (who doesn’t love Amazon?).
5. Shop second-hand stores or Facebook garage sale sites.
If you haven’t opened yourself up to the wonderful world that is second-hand clothes stores for kids like Once Upon A Child, then head straight there! Some clothes still have their tags on them or have only been worn a handful of times. If you are buying for a baby, then you know that baby clothes stay in great condition because they grow out of clothes so fast! Even better than second-hand stores? Find someone who has a child a size or two up from yours and volunteer to take their hand me downs (or offer them a great price)!
6. Don’t window shop; take a walk instead.
I’m going to just be perfectly honest and tell you that if I go into Target just to “look around” that I’m walking out of that store with $50 worth of stuff that I didn’t even know I wanted. If you’re a spender then there is no safe store for you to just peruse around in. Instead, find a nice park or walk around your neighborhood. You’ll enjoy the nature and fresh air!
7. Break a sweat at home.
Six years ago we canceled our gym memberships. We had a standard plan and paid $80 per month for both of us. Now that we have kids, we would have to pay for extra childcare if we went to the gym! Instead, my husband and I both workout from home. We’ve invested in some dumbbells and we either workout to videos, or circuits that I find online. And I’d just like to throw it out there that I’m in better shape today than I ever was when I had a gym membership, so exercising at home can work for you!
8. Eat at restaurants where kids eat free or really cheap.
Not willing to remove restaurants from your lifestyle? Then just lower your bill by eating at restaurants where kids eat free or for barely anything. Kids eat for $0.99 at McAllisters and free at other places on Sunday. All it takes is a little research to see where your children will eat free!
9. Pay in cash.
It’s harder to part with cash than it is with a debit or credit card. Plus, if you pay with cash then you can’t go over your budgeted amount because you won’t have the money to pay more! We have used cash with our budgeting system for over 5 years and it helps keep our spending in line. Want free printable cash envelopes? Then check out my debt free bundle! It’s completely free, promise!
10. Use Ebates online.
Planning to buy something online? Shop through Ebates so you can earn money back just for making purchases. Sign up HERE and earn money anytime you buy birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, or buy something from Amazon. You can’t beat free money!
11. Pay less for gas.
GasBuddy is a website and app where you can type in your location and it will automatically tell you where the cheapest gas is in your area. It’s perfect if you are on a trip and you want to know where to stop. You can also calculate how much you will pay for gas if you take a road trip somewhere.
12. Say so long to cable.
It’s time to cut the cord people. If you’re still hanging on to cable, then you’re wasting a good $100 each month. With the invention of Netflix, Hulu, and options like Sling TV, you can pay significantly less to have the channels and shows that you want to watch. Plus, did anyone ever regret watching less tv? I mean, it can be a time suck and think about how much you can accomplish if you cut out just half of your tv watching habits!
13. Meal plan based on sale ads and seasonal foods.
Making a weekly meal plan can save you a ton of money because you are intentionally deciding to cook dinner to combat the restaurant option. An even better way to save money is to plan your meals based on what fruits/vegetables are in season as well as what is on sale at your grocery store. Before you sit down to determine your meals, check what you already have available in your freezer, look through your coupons, and check the weekly ad. With good planning, you can lower your grocery bill significantly!
14. Head to the library.
The library isn’t just for books anymore! You can check out DVDs, CDs, and audiobooks. During the summer or on weekends I’ll take my kids to the library and they can each checkout one or two movies. We then have a movie night with popcorn and candy that was picked up at the grocery store.
15. Get a home energy audit.
Most cities will come out for free and perform a home energy audit for you. The results tell you how you can save more money on your energy costs. Who doesn’t love a smaller electric bill?
16. Stay out of the stores.
Only go to the store once a week for groceries. You can’t make spontaneous purchases if you’re not in the store (well, except for online purchases…but I’ll address that below).
17. Let it sit in your shopping cart.
Buying something online? Let the purchase sit in your shopping cart for at least 3 days. This helps minimize online impulse purchases. If it’s an emotional purchase then chances are likely the product will lose its appeal in 72 hours.
18. Budget for the holidays all year long.
Christmas and birthdays should never surprise you because they are on the same day every year! Set aside money each month for big holidays so you don’t have to put any money on a credit card when that big holiday comes. Need help budgeting for Christmas? Check out this post all about holiday budgets (it even includes a free printable)!
19. Buy generic.
Buy generic at the grocery store. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll save when you buy store brand groceries and items. Also, stores usually give out coupons for their own brand so that helps cut the costs too!
20. Go to free events around town.
Before you decide to splurge on the movies for entertainment, check out what free events your town has going on. Search for fun events such as parades, community markets, and holiday tree lightings. Our town even has concerts on our town square every Thursday night absolutely free!
21. Use a grocery store app for coupons.
Before you head to the grocery store, see if your store has an app that you can download. A lot of time there are extra coupons and savings that you can redeem when you checkout. Just don’t get sucked into buying something that you don’t actually need because there is a coupon for it!
22. Ditch the manicures and pedicures.
About 4-5 times a year I splurge and go to a nail salon for a pedicure. I went a few weeks ago and I paid $38 (including tip). Can you imagine keeping up the habit and going every month? Tack on a manicure and this habit can get pretty pricey! Do your nails at home instead to save serious money each month.
23. Host a potluck dinner for friends.
It’s fun to go out with friends for dinner, but dinner and drinks can add up! Instead, consider hosting a potluck dinner where everyone brings a dish and a drink. You’ll still have great conversation and enjoy time with friends!
24. Only buy what you need.
In a world with so many options, it can be tricky to decipher between needs and wants. Many times you might feel as if you need certain things, but in reality, you only want them. Before you buy something, ask yourself a few questions to see if you truly need the product. Do you already own something similar? Can you live without the product? Can you wait to buy this until it goes on sale or ask for it as a birthday or Christmas gift? If you answer yes to any of those questions, then you probably don’t need the item.