Here are my top ten favorite money saving tips. I am not a financial guru–I just know what works for my family. Tell me in a comment what you do to save money!
- Meal planning – This is a popular tip, but it works! I plan our family menu a week in advance and make my grocery list according. This does two things. First, it keeps us from getting takeout because we don’t have enough food on hand, and second, it eliminates the need to hit the grocery store several days a week because we don’t have the right ingredients in our pantry. Shopping at Aldi is great for helping us save money too. If you’ve been an Aldi hold out, check it out!
- Have a budget (and stick to it!) – I discussed in a previous post my love for YNAB, which is my budgeting program of choice. Seriously though, no matter how you do it, put your money to work for you. Budget every dollar, and stick to your budget. That doesn’t mean your budget can’t be flexible, but that does mean you shouldn’t overspend on your budget just because there’s a clothing sale. Part of your budget should include an adequate savings that will buffer you from the unexpected. Your financial health will thank you for this one.
- Resist instant gratification – This one is hard! When you want something, add it to a “want” list and wait 30 days to see if you still want it instead of buying it immediately. If you still want it after 30 days, go ahead and get it if it’s in your budget. You’ll find that after 30 days, a lot of the stuff you thought you wanted falls off the list.
- Find good deals – Keep an email account dedicated to coupons and store promotions. Once it’s time to go shopping, dig through the emails to find the best deals! Whatever your method, make sure you’re not paying full price for something unless you have to. If you’re a fan of Amazon, check out my Facebook group dedicated to Amazon deals.
- Cut the cord – You can save a bunch of money each year canceling your cable television. We saved $60/month when we got rid of ours. Instead, we use Netflix and Amazon Prime. The kids love it, and so do we.
- Maintain your big ticket items – Have a car? Furnace? Central A/C? If you don’t maintain your big ticket items, a small issue could quickly turn into a big (read: expensive) issue. Spend the time and money maintaining your possessions. It will save you money in the long run!
- Enjoy cheap entertainment – Not all entertainment needs to cost money, especially when you have kids. Go for a hike, enjoy a picnic, or ride your bikes. The only limit is your imagination.
- Holiday shop all year long – We don’t do huge Christmases, but I still shop year-round for Christmas and birthday gifts. If something is on sale that I know a loved one will appreciate, I buy it and store it. I keep a list of purchases I’ve made early, that way I don’t forget about anything. Boxing day sales are great for holiday-themed gifts!
- Capitalize on credit card rewards (but only if you have the discipline) – I know recommending credit cards isn’t always popular advice, but we earn over $1,000 each year from our cash back credit cards. The trick is to pay them off in full every single month. If you don’t have the discipline to pay them off in full, then stay far away from credit cards. If you have the discipline, my favorite cards are all through Chase. We use: Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited, and Chase Amazon Prime. The card we use depends on the purchase–whichever will give us the most points!
- Save for your future – You need to pay yourself first, and that means investing in your future. It’s never too late to start investing. Whether it’s a 401k, an IRA, or another investment account, make saving for your future a priority. It’s worth it, because you’re worth it.