How full is your piggy bank?
If you’re looking to save up for a vacation, put some extra money away for the future, or just cut down on costs generally, one of the best the best ways to do this is to first of all analyze how much you spend. Put together a spreadsheet, write it in a notebook, or use an online budgeting site! Calculate your monthly transportation and/or gasoline costs, how much you’re spending on groceries, eating out, etc. Sometimes it can be a shock to see how much you spend vs. how much you really should be spending, but in order to be more financially savvy, you’ll have to face the reality and look at all of the numbers in order to know what needs to be cut back and come up with a game plan!
Some expenses are frivolous. Did you really need to go out to dinner 4 times that week? Or perhaps you could’ve waited for a sale before grabbing those expensive shoes? Each family is completely different when it comes to the extra expenses and how they work them out. If eating out is important to your family, don’t stop it entirely! Perhaps just opt for less expensive restaurants, share large dishes, or cut down a bit on the number of times you go.
Other costs are just plain necessary (like gasoline, groceries, etc.) but there are obviously ways that you can cut back on them, too! For example… Carpool, take the bus, meal plan before grocery shopping, use coupons… etc etc etc.
Those are just a few tips – here are a few more!
1. To save money on utilities, disconnect all the electronic household appliances when they are not being used. The microwave, televisions, and even computers that are turned off but still connected to a charger in the wall can still be using up electricity. Even though it’s a small amount, it adds up!
2. Also, you can reduce gas consumption and electricity by turning off the thermostat in winter season and using the fireplace instead (depending on the type of fireplace you have). Or just opt to not have the heat on as high at night and layer everyone up with a few extra blankets and warmer pajamas. As long as everyone is still comfortable, changing the temperature by just a few degrees can make a big difference!
3. When it comes to furnishing your home, buying clothes or household items, try to purchase second-hand whenever possible. Many people sell their objects and furniture online or at yard sales, and you can usually find quite a few pieces are are in almost-new condition! (I once bought barstool chairs for super cheap, and they hadn’t even been used! The previous owner bought too many a while back, and just stored them in her garage.)
4. Or, instead of buying anything at all, do some research and figure out how to restore or even just repaint your current furniture, or learn to properly clean your old shoes or patch up worn-out clothing for cheap.
5. As mentioned before, to cut back on gasoline costs, try to find someone that may want to carpool – whether that’s a carpool buddy for work, or perhaps a group of parents that trade off taking everyone’s kids to school. Not only are you spening less on gas, you’re also helping the environment as well! Woohoo!
6. And, also as mentioned before, try to find ways to cut back on food expenses as well. Simply look for ways to not to leave each day to eat in restaurants – packing lunches for work, taking turns with cooking to lessen the meal-making burden, and simply setting a limit for how many meals can be take-out or eaten at a restaurant.
7. When grocery shopping, check the supermarket ads before you go to see what is on sale. Also, learning how to use coupons can help you save so much! Plus, never go to the store hungry, and try to have recipes already planned out so that you don’t end up wasting money on items you don’t even need.
Those are just a few specific tips that have personally helped me to save money. Each family is different, with different expenses being more important, so be sure to take some time to see what would really help you best!
If you have any tips on saving more money each month, leave them in the comments! I’d love to hear what you do, and I’m sure other readers would as well!
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