How many times have you promised yourself “this is the year I’m going to save more money”?
Yet somehow it never happens. Something always comes up! I know it’s hard.
Between staying on top of the regular bills and expenses, school fundraisers, and the ever-increasing cost of groceries and gas, it’s almost impossible to set aside part of our income for a rainy day. And not having any savings is the #1 reason we can’t get out of debt. #debtsucks.
Since we started our debt-free journey in January 2015, we’ve tried several techniques to “trick” ourselves into saving money. Some of them worked, some of them didn’t.
And here I’m going to share with you the top 15 ways to save money without making your life miserable.
1. Pay yourself first!
You wouldn’t skip your phone bill, would you? When you pay yourself first, you treat your savings like any other expense and won’t ever miss a payment.
2. Automate your savings.
Setting up direct deposit or automatic monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly transfers will make saving money automatic – it’ll get done without a second thought from you.
3. Move bank accounts.
We have our savings account and sinking funds at a different bank than our checking account. We use Capital One 360’s online savings accounts and have our automatic transfers deposit money there so we don’t have quick access to spend it.
4. Quit using credit cards.
This one is a no-brainer, right? Do you have any idea how much money in interest and fees we are wasting every month by carrying a credit card balance! Just quit using them! Confession: we cut ours up and threw them away because we had no discipline and kept using them when we said we wouldn’t. Get out the scissors!
5. Turn off the television.
Now, wait – before you say “you’re crazy!” let me tell you that we cut cable two years ago and haven’t regretted it once. Depending on your cable package, this can be a huge money-saving opportunity.
6. Signup for free customer rewards programs.
Between Ibotta to save money on groceries and ebates to save on everything else, there is a customer rewards program to help you save on all your purchases.
One of my favorites is Swagbucks where you can easily earn money toward free gift cards just by watching movie reviews, completing surveys, and buying things you normally would.
7. Drink more water.
Soda, juice and other beverages are expensive! Especially if you’re getting them on-the-go. My family drinks a ton of water! This is my favorite water bottle (I carry it everywhere!) and this is my husband’s. You’d be shocked at the money you can save by drinking more water!
8. Install a programmable thermostat.
This is one I’m super-excited to share with you! We had this programmable thermostat installed a few months ago and – OMG – it is amazing. It connects to the wifi so I can control it from anywhere through my smartphone and the options for adjusting the temperature are endless! You can definitely save money on heating and cooling by using this!
9. Stop stress-spending.
Do you do this? I know I do! Shopping and buying myself new things (I’m a sucker for buying purses and any kind of bag, in general) is a great stress-reliever. But we have to stop. Put that money in savings, instead.
10. Create a visual reminder of your debt.
Ouch – this one hurts! We posted a list of all our debt on our refrigerator with the total debt balance in big, bold numbers. This really helps to curb our spending habits! (Bonus, it makes an interesting conversation starter when you have friends over!)
11. Cut your own hair.
Okay, I admit it – there’s no way I could do this one. Have you tried this? How’d it go?
12. Pack food for road trips.
This is one that we do all the time when we’re driving for any distance. Convenience food is expensive! And having snacks, soda, and water on-hand will save you at least $10 on your next road trip.
13. Track your spending.
It’s tough to save money if you don’t know how you’re spending it.
14. Shop around for groceries.
Our local grocery store is great. It’s convenient and usually has just what I need. The trouble is, it’s also the most expensive! Try shopping around before doing your grocery shopping. For us, driving an extra 20-minutes isn’t very convenient but we more than justify the extra travel time because we save so much more by shopping there instead.
15. Stop going out to eat.
From meal planning to packing your own lunch every day for work (and road trips!), there is huge savings to be had by simply stopping going out to eat. We call this a “restaurant diet” – meaning we’re on a “diet” from eating at restaurants. (Clever? Or not so much? LOL)
Okay girls, those are my best tips. Now it’s your turn! If you have a great strategy or tactic to save money that I missed, comment below!