My husband and I have been working on getting our finances I order for some time now and it hasn’t been going fast enough so we are kicking it up a notch. I really want to start the year with fewer money worries and a little saved up. So here are ten realistic ways to save money. These tips should be easy to put into place and save you money.
1. Meal planning
This is still something I’m doing and working to get better with. I know that food is one of our biggest spending areas and that I can get that number cut down. Since doing the No Spend August challenge we have only gone out to eat a few times and are still watching what we spend on food outside the home. I’m also doing a lot of research on coupons and getting a plan in order to start using them. We have a little bit and we have tried to stock up on things we use a lot during big sales.
Food costs can really eat up your budget and therefore learning to cut costs on food is one of the best realistic ways to save money
2. Buy used and sell what we don’t need anymore.
We had an x-box that my husband and daughter loved playing with all the time. Unfortunately, it recently broke. Now I didn’t play with so it didn’t affect me but I know how much they loved spending time together playing games. So my husband wanted to get a play station to replace it. We have Disney Infinity which you can use on both systems but we don’t have $250+ for a new system. So we did some research traded in all the x-box games and equipment and will get an Amazon gift card through Amazon for those. Then we looked into used systems on Amazon and found that with the gift card we would only need to pay around $50 or so. That will make it a great birthday present and we still get to use the infinity which we have. Sometimes you have to look into creative ways to get the things you want.
So if you are looking for a big or expensive item check to see if you can get used it used in good quality. Also look into selling items you don’t need any longer or trading them. You might as well earn some money for stuff instead of just having it sitting around your house.
3. Check your Bills
Read through your bills and see exactly what you are being charged for. You may end up finding things you can cut out or even mistakes made by the company, then you can give them a call and get it fixed and lower your bill.
We’ve had that happen a couple of times and it’s up to you to catch the mistake. Same thing when you are out shopping. Watch them ring you up. Occasionally an item will be scanned twice or show up as an incorrect amount and you want to catch that.
4. Don’t pay for what you really don’t need
A few months ago, we got rid of my cell phone. I am either home or with someone due to the fact that I can’t drive. I realize most people don’t have that situation but look for what you pay for that you really don’t need. So we dropped to just a cell phone for my husband and a house phone for me. This ends up saving us about $50 a month. It will be nice to have a cell phone again but it’s not worth the extra cost right now.
5. Shop for the best deals.
This one I had to start doing. I’ve always liked name-brand products for food, beauty and home but they just really start to add up. So we started trying store brands of certain products and finding which products worked just as well as their name-brand counterparts. There are a few things that I like the more expensive name brands but most things were of similar quality so we started getting those products. It really helps cut down shopping costs and is a very good and realistic ways to save money.
6. Spend more time at home.
This was another lesson that we really learned the importance of during our no spend challenge. We have tons of movies to watch, games to play and other activities we can stay home for free and do. It’s also much cheaper and better for you to eat home cooked meals than to get fast food or take out. So we stay home a lot more.
7. Search for thebest deals.
If we do go out though we are careful about how we spend our money. We use gift cards to eat if we have them, go to free events, and discount movies. We have a discount theater not too far and the other theaters have a cheaper price for the first showing of the day. At that price, the 3 of us can all go to the movies and get a snack for the evening price of two of us. We also try to pick less expensive places to eat if we do eat out. I find great deals over on Money Saving mom so you might want to check her site out if you want to save more money.
Decide what’s important.
We love watching TV in this house. The thing was that for $100 a month it was just getting too expensive so we have Netflix and Hulu. Combined that is only $15, that’s a big savings each month. Netflix gives us tons of movies and kids shows and Hulu lets us watch new episodes of shows. We knew TV was important so we had to find away to make it work for us.
8. Learn to live with less.
This was not easy one but after seeing how much we saved in August I realized that living with less is not actually that hard and you just have to make the commitment to not make impulse buys. I still have bad moments but they are getting fewer and fewer and we are saving a lot and acquiring less stuff we really don’t need anyways. I also think it’s a good example for our daughter to see us not be so materialistic and use what we have. Also I think it feels good to use things we already have and appreciate them instead of getting something new.
9. Increase your income
Try to work overtime if possible, get a second job, find some part-time work to bring in a little extra money. I’m on disability so we are really a one income household plus my disability. So I use part of what I make from blogging for birthday’s and holidays so we don’t have to use my husbands paycheck. My husband is also looking into possibly getting a second job or another job that pays a little better so we have more money coming.
10. Create a budget
We have a very loose budget that we follow and most expenses are just our monthly bills. We rarely spend on things like clothes or special things and just wait till birthdays and holidays. I am working on putting together a more strict budget to get us to save more money each month. This is one of the best, realistic ways to save money. Loving on a budget is not always easy but it’s a great way to save money.