As a stay at home mom with two growing boys I’m always looking for easy ways to save money now. While long-term strategies are great, and I use many, I also want easy ways to help my weekly budget. I’ve put together 38 easy ways you can save money this week to help extend your own budget. Some may seem like a “no-brainer” but I’m sure there are others that will be new to many of you!
Easy Ways To Save Money In The Kitchen
Plan meals for the week. You may be already doing this, and if so good for you! Now take it one step further and base your menu on what’s on sale at the grocery store. Sticking to items that are on sale will help your savings add up quickly. If you have a little extra room in your grocery budget, try tossing in one or two extra items on the list into your cart so that you can begin to create a stockpile.
Never go grocery shopping without a list. Trying to rely on your memory while at the store is a good way to forget something which means an extra trip to the store which will cost you more in gas. The lack of a list will also mean you may add extra items you didn’t need and weren’t intending on purchasing in the first place. It only takes a couple of minutes to jot down the items you really need before headed out to the store.
Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. While you may be tempted to dash out to the store on an empty stomach you are only tempting fate and your checkbook by doing so. Everything looks good when you’re hungry and you will undoubtedly begin tossing unnecessary items into your cart.
Don’t buy pre-cut produce. As a busy mom or dad you may be tempted to buy yourself a little extra time with these pre-cut veggies. However, a small container of already diced onions can easily cost $3.00 while a whole onion will only cost you a few cents. It may not seem like a lot, but it will quickly add up.
Stop buying bottled water! Not only are you adding unnecessary waste to the environment, but you are adding to the bottom line of your grocery budget. Instead, buy a water filter it will save you, and the environment in the long run.
Buy the store brand! It’s much cheaper, and many times you can’t tell the difference between name brands and generic. You may even find that you like some store brands better, now wouldn’t that be a nice surprise! Have picky kids at home who will only eat name brand cereal? Simply pull it out of the box and store it in a Tupperware cereal keeper. I would be surprised if they could tell the difference.
Adopt a “meatless Monday” menu. Meat is one of the most expensive items in your grocery cart. To help save on the cost try adopting a meatless Mondays mentality. Try preparing inexpensive rice or pasta dishes with fresh fruit and veggies for dinner, and take a salad for lunch.
Use cloth napkins. Instead of reaching for paper towels or napkins when cooking and eating at home, try using cloth napkins. My family made the switch and now have a paperless kitchen. It makes the experience of eating at home feel much more elegant, and it saves us money in the long run.
Buy some things in bulk. While not everything is a good deal when you buy in bulk, there are many items you will save money on. Some of the things our family buys in bulk include, tampons, diapers, diaper wipes, laundry detergent (before we started making our own) and makeup removing wipes. Once you start checking into the things you purchase regularly and comparing the bulk price to what it costs individually you may be surprised at how much money you could be saving.
Learn to cook at home. I know it is hard to cook at home every night especially when you have a very busy family. However, it really does save money. If you are used to eating out every weekend or even most week nights try this: replace just one weekend dinner you would normally order out with an easy to make homemade meal, then replace just one takeout meal during the week with a quick and easy dinner recipe. You could even dust off your old crockpot, toss the ingredients in the night before then pull it out of the fridge and turn it on as you leave for work.
Easy Ways To Save Money Around The House
Easily Save On Toothpaste. When you’re down to the end of a tube of toothpaste most people toss it away without a second thought. If you want to easily save a little extra money, try sniping the end off the tube with scissors, there’s a lot of toothpaste left in there. Simply roll to close.
Try making your own cleaning supplies. Seriously, do it now. It has saved my family so much money with minor effort to put them together. I also love how many fewer chemicals come into my home. Check out my recipes for DIY Laundry Detergent, and disinfectant wipes, even vinegar and baking soda can easily be used around the house to clean and disinfect.
Turn off the AC, heat, TV, and light before you leave the house. I know this seems like a no-brainer, but it is one of the easy ways to save money every single month. If you are a parent, teach your children young to turn things off when they leave the room. As a mom with 2 boys I know we could easily use a lot of electricity, but this one simple rule keeps our electric bill on track.
Closing the door to rooms you’re not in and the vents in the rooms you don’t use around the house will save you money. This little trick will help reduce the cost of heating and cooling your home. Don’t waste the energy, and the expense, to heat and cool rooms you simply are not using.
Have a magazine subscription you don’t really enjoy anymore? Cancel it, then pay any remaining portion of your bill immediately. You can easily read the highlights online instead. Not only are you reducing paper waste and clutter around your home, but you are saving yourself money in the long run.
Keep a loose change jar and drop your spare change into it at the end of every day. I’ve done this since I was a teenage, you will be surprised at how much you can accumulate over a month or two. Every now and then take it to the bank and get cold, hard cash! You’ll feel like you hit the jackpot. Don’t think it’s worth your time? Then think about this. There is a man in Indiana who bought a brand new truck with the pocket change he had saved, not once but twice!
Switch your bank. If you are still using one of those banks that charge you a maintenance fee for either your checking or savings account then it’s time to consider switching your bank. There are loads of online and offline banks to choose from. Don’t pay to maintain your accounts…ever.
Revisit your cell phone bill. You should be reevaluating your cell phone bill once a year and make sure your current plan is still meeting your needs. If you find you have unused data, minutes, or texts at the end of each month you should consider cutting it down. Keep in mind that a reduced plan isn’t ALWAYS best for your budget. So, take your time, do your research and then make an informed decision.
Pay off debt ASAP! If you have debt, you’re not building a secure future for yourself. Try using the snowball method to pay off your debt from smallest to largest, then when it’s paid off add that minimum payment to the next bill in line. You should quickly start to see your debts start falling away. Remember, interest paid to someone else is money you are just throwing away.
Don’t carry a balance on your credit card. The interest you are paying on the balance of your credit card is one of the most wasteful things you are doing with your money. According to Kiplingers, even carrying a small $1,000 balance at 18% (the average interest rate) costs you $180 every year on interest alone. That is $1,360 you could be putting to better use elsewhere.
Improve your credit score. The better your credit score, the more money you will save. Whether you are planning to take out a home or auto loan, the better your credit score the better your interest rate will be. As you pay off your debt, your credit to income ratio will shift and your credit score will improve. However, if you miss payments or are constantly late with them then you will hurt your credit score no matter how little debt you have.
Use calendar reminders to pay your bills on time. By creating a budget and using calendar reminders to get them in the mail on time, you can avoid having to double up on the bills you’re paying each week. Which can be a lot to shell out all at once, so do yourself a favor and schedule your payments.
Build an emergency fund. An emergency fund is just that, for emergencies. A flat tire, a broken window, or a short-term lay off. I know many people are living paycheck to paycheck and don’t feel they can save money so why even bother. However, if you can’t afford to stash large sums all at once, start small. Even $10 or $15 from each paycheck will eventually add up and you won’t even feel it. As it gets easier you can gradually increase how much you save each week.
Break bad spending habits by matched savings. If you have a habit of spending money you don’t have, or just simply shouldn’t try this great little trick. Commit to saving the same amount you are spending on that nonessential indulgence. For example: If you buy a new top, a DVD, or even a Starbucks coffee, you then must put the exact total into savings. If you can’t afford to do both, then you can’t afford to spend the money on that new item that probably wasn’t in your budget to begin with.
Take advantage of the tax credits you’re entitled to by reducing your home’s energy use. Did you buy new energy star kitchen appliances, or replace old leaky windows? Head over to energystar.gov and learn what qualifies for that deduction. Remember every little bit helps.
Try using your laptop instead of the desktop when at home. The laptop runs on a battery, which will save you money on the electric bill as it doesn’t have to be plugged in.
Cancel the paid-cable channels you aren’t watching. The extra expense of the paid-cable channels can add up quickly. Your provider may offer you a deal to sign up for one or more channels, but if you are not watching them then it is a waste of money. If you have an HBO, Starz, or Showtime original series you just have to see each week then subscribe for only as long as the season run. While it will still be expensive, it won’t cost as much as it would to keep the channels all year-long. A better option is to purchase an Amazon Fire and purchase an entire season of your favorite show. You can also download movies, many for free with Amazon Prime, and only pay for a movie you really want to see.
Compare prices on everything. Nothing is safe at our house from the chopping block, not our cable company, not the insurance company, and certainly not any brand. If you really want to save money then you need to start comparing prices on everything you are thinking of purchasing from a new cell phone to your car insurance. This one tip has saved us thousands of dollars over the years.
Take care of your clothes. This was common sense a generation ago, but with our hurried life and throw away mentality we have simply forgotten to take the time to care for our clothing. Follow the instructions and wash them properly, hang them up immediately or fold them instead of just tossing them on the floor, and get things repaired when they need it. What other depression era skills could you use to save you money?
Wash your laundry on cold. Today our washing machines do a great job of getting our clothing clean no matter the temperature is. By washing in cold not only are you doing your clothing a favor as it is gentler on them, but you are saving yourself to cost of the hot water. If you want to take it an extra step try drying your clothes on a the line. Fresh air always makes things smell better, and by nixing the dryer you can reduce the cost of your energy used to do the laundry by 60%.
Use Coconut Oil as an all natural moisturizer. Coconut oil has many health benefits from boosting brain power to healing dry cracked skin. This time of year if you’re cooped up inside the forced heat can really dry out your skin. Coconut oil works wonders at naturally moisturizing your skin and bringing it back to its natural glow. There are lots of wonderful recipes you can find on Pinterest to try and the best part is a large container of it will last a very long time.
Easy Ways To Save Money On The Go
Carry cash. Our debit and credit cards are a great convenience. However, they have also successfully disconnected us from our money. It is so easy to “swipe it” and “forget it” until that next monthly statement comes around. By carrying and using cash you are forced to think about what it is you are purchasing, and if it is worth trading your hard earned cash for. You become reconnected with your money, and hopefully with your budget.
Avoid paying ATM fees. This is another no-brainer but paying upwards of $5.00 to withdraw cash from an ATM that isn’t associated with your bank is just tossing money away. Yes I know, that’s why you just swipe your card to begin with. However, as I said above, by using cash and reconnecting to your money you will save money!
Have a “no-spend day”. By now I’m sure you have heard of people having no spend months and sometimes years. That, however, takes a lot of ambition. Instead start slow and commit to a no-spend day once a week and plan ahead to help make yourself successful.
Sign up for free reward programs. Save money by using free reward programs for things you use on a regular basis like gas and groceries. There are even free apps that can help you save or earn money by doing simple things. Two of my favorite are Receipt Hog and Receipt Pal.
Bring your lunch to work. I know it’s much easier to follow the crowd and order out everyday, but that can really cause havoc on your finances especially when you are already on a tight budget. Commit to bringing your lunch to work for two or three days a week and you will see a huge difference in your finances at the end of the month. Once you have gotten used to brown bagging it try adding additional days until you are bringing your lunch 5 days a week.
Keep healthy snacks at work. It can be tempting to run to the vending machine when hunger hits between meals. Instead keep healthy alternatives in your desk drawer or locker at work. That way the vending machine doesn’t get your card and you don’t get the unneeded extra calories.
Don’t pay for apps! Never pay to download an app if there is a free basic version that will work just as well. Quite often the light version of an app will meet all of your needs and it simply isn’t worth the expense to purchase the full version of it. If however, you find yourself using it regularly, and loving how it is working for you it may be worth considering paying for the full version.
DON’T MISS OUT ON ANY OF MY GREAT TIPS TO HELP YOUR FAMILY
SAVE MONEY, HAVE FRUGAL FUN AND ENJOY LIFE!
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