While you may be working hard to keep to a budget and not overspend, some of your every day habits and tasks could be killing your bank account without you really noticing. I gathered a few of the tips and tricks that we’ve used to save us money, which caused us to have more money at the end of the month than we thought we would- which meant more money into savings! Ok, there WERE some months where we went “Oh! Extra money- let’s spend it on a big date or by buying this random thing we don’t really need” but luckily we’ve learned (sadly, the hard way) that we can’t be doing that.
- Find free events in our area to attend.
- Encourage your friends to lessen their spending as well by doing dinner at one anothers house instead of going out and assign an ingredient to everyone.
- If you MUST go see a movie in theatres (hey, you’re reading a blog by a girl who bought her Wonder Woman movie tickets three months in advance for the premier and ended up seeing it twice in three days) go to a matinee or join a stub club to earn free rewards.
- Eat more produce. I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 15 years, trust me, you will survive and get plenty of nutrients and protein from plants. Switch out your taco meat in burritos for sweet potatoes and black beans (season with Mexican spices) and opt for grilled veggies and grilled fruit for a cook out instead of burgers.
- In the summer, beat the heat by wearing shorts in the house and buying some energy efficient fans. Turn the AC down a few degrees and up your water intake to keep cool. Cyle and I normally wait until after Fourth of July to even talk about turning our air on (not because we love the heat, but because we are cheap as hell).
- Same goes for winter. Cuddle up with hot tea and a lot of blankets and turn your heat down. We also own a heated mattress pad that doesn’t take much energy to keep on at night.
- Buy in bulk and freeze your produce (grill the veggies and use the fruit for smoothies) as well as bread products. Even the bread that is about to expire can be frozen and thawed in the microwave (wrap it in a damp towel) or thawed on the counter when you’re ready to eat.
- Stop buying ice from the store and buy some ice trays.
- Lessen your dependency on paper towels and switch to napkins and rags when you can. Clean with rags instead of paper towels and wash the rags. Use cloth napkins at meal time instead of paper towels/disposable napkins and rinse off the gunk after each meal (of course, be sure every family member knows which is theirs and wash them after a few meals)
- Declutter your closet and try to sell off what you can. Not only will you make some quick cash but you also will spend less time trying to find something to wear and think you need more clothes. I cut my closet in HALF and now it is so much easier to get ready in the morning and I never feel like “Man, I have nothing to wear” because I’m sorting through less clothes that I don’t really like. Plus, it’s not like anyone will really care if you wore the same outfit twice in one week.
- Speaking of clothes, if you spent your day hanging around the house, do your clothes REALLY need washed? Typically we wear our jeans about three times before washing, and shirts twice (obviously, if they get stained or stinky we wash them after the first wear).
- Cancel your gym membership (unless the fees are outrageous, then just don’t renew it) and workout at home. My girlfriends and I alternate houses every week to work out and all it costs us is some gas money (we all live close by one another, so it isn’t much). Get on Youtube and find some fitness videos to watch and work out to, it is free and fun!
- Invest more in your health. It costs more to be sick than to be healthy. Buy fresh food and safe products for your family that don’t have tons of toxins in them or that make you sick. Get rid of the bleach and Clorox in your house and buy cleaners that are cost effective and safe for your kids to use and help around the house. Take some supplements that help you feel good and are full of vitamins and vital nutrients to prevent you from spending another winter miserable. Skip buying the tons of candles and air “fresheners” that are full of crap that has been proven to cause respiratory issues (among other things) and make your own room sprays. Besides be smarter for your health, so many of these options also are more cost effective on your pocket as well.
- Skip, or reduce down, your Christmas spending. Stop buying gifts for every holiday and anniversary and gift yourself with less debt. Let your family know that you’re not doing Christmas presents at all (or greatly reducing the amount you buy) and tell them instead you’d rather spend the day making memories and enjoying food. No one needs the pounds of junk they get every Christmas. If your family insists on getting you something, tell them something you truly need (like a blender if yours broke, gift card to a car repair shop, gift cards in general, etc).
- Lastly, Oregon Trail it. What does that mean? Barter and trade with friends and accquantances. If you have enough land to grow lots of produce, grow it and try to sell it, or trade it with another gardener or farmer for something you need- fresh milk, eggs- maybe some produce plants, etc. We have a friend who traded his broken boat to someone for some items his family truly needed. If you need to hire someone to fix something in the house, check with friends and family to see if they can do it and offer to trade them goods for their service. It might sounds weird at first, but it is totally a game changer.
Change is hard, but the more you practice this newer lifestyle the easier it will be. Just remember, the sacrifices you make today effect your tomorrow in so manty ways!
What are some other habits and tips you have used to help decrease your spending?