10 Easy Things You Can Do To Save Money


I think it would be accurate to say the majority of us want to save money.  I think it would also be accurate to say most don't feel we have the time to implement new systems.  I began budgeting a few years ago because we both chose to work for small companies that pay about half of what our positions could make at larger companies.  I wish I had begun budgeting before we actually needed to budget.  I now see how much money we spent that we didn't really need to spend.

I'm not from a family who budgeted, struggled financially, or openly worked at saving money, so this concept was completely foreign to me.  Yes, I wish I had learned a few financial lessons prior to going out on my own, but through making my own mistakes I've made a lot of changes both in how I spend/save and my thought process regarding money.

Saving money is still extremely important to us since I am starting a home-based business, bringing us down to one income.  Whatever your reason for saving money, I'm hoping you find a few things here you hadn't thought of before or, through reading this article, it pushes you to maybe try a thing or two that you haven't yet tried. 

Of course, in addition to these items, simple changes such as packing your lunch, making your own coffee, making your own cleaning products, re-purposing items, cooking at home, meal planning, buying used books, shopping at thrift stores, etc. will only add to your savings.

Grocery Shopping
1. Shop According To Weekly Flyers.  Most of us are used to making a list of items we need, going to the grocery store to buy those items, and, while we're there, we'll pick up a few of the sale items.  Although this takes a small amount of time to implement, it's more a change in the way you think about planning meals.
     Shopping according to the weekly flyers will save you money as long as 1.  you only buy things your family will eat and 2.  you stock up on non-perishables but are careful on purchasing perishables.  In other words, it isn't a savings if you have to throw things away at the end of the week.  This may also mean you shop at more than one grocery store to purchase your groceries.  Before I implemented this I had to go to more than one grocery store anyway, because there's always one or two items either the store I'm shopping at is out of or just doesn't carry. 
     Remember that some stores will match other stores advertised prices so this may help cut down your shopping trips by bringing the ads with you.  Check out the stores website for their policies on price matching and coupon using.

2. Save Money On Fresh Produce.  How, you ask?  Purchase produce that's in-season and shop at farm stands, farmers' markets and/or grow your own.  Purchasing in-season guarantees a better tasting product that's more nutritious and less expensive.  If you have any farm stands in your area, they are a great way to save money.
     Tomatoes, summer squash, green beans, carrots and beets are very easy to grow and require not much time at all.  They can be planted in containers and/or existing flower beds.  Herbs are a great thing to add to the list as well - it's something that's expensive to purchase but so easy to grow.  If you plant herbs in flower beds, just make sure you know what the herb looks like so you don't confuse it with a plant that is potentially inedible.

3.  Follow A Local Deal Blogger.  These are people who blog about grocery store sales in their areas and match up coupons with sale flyers to point you in the right direction for grocery store savings.  This saves you the time of going through the flyers and matching it up with coupons.  How do I find this blogger, you ask?  Type into a search engine your local town + "coupon matchups".
     Always take a look at the item{s} once in the store to verify the price is correct and, if you are using coupons, that it matches your coupon.

4.  Shop At Aldi.  If you have an Aldi store in your area, they really do have some great deals.  Produce, if nothing else, is typically priced very low.  If you choose not to purchase produce at Aldi, at the very least you can take their ad to another grocery store that price matches and get the same prices.  Aldi also has a double back guarantee so it makes it worth trying their products.


Clothing Shopping
5.   Buy Only What You Like.  What?  Of course I only buy what I like, you're thinking.  Hear me out.  How many items in your closet have you either only worn once or {sigh} never that you purchased because they were really cheap?  Five dollars here and five dollars there adds up.  That's money, sitting in your closet, that could instead be in your checking account.  It didn't save you money if you only wore it once.
     Instead of shopping sales because it's a sale, it may be more cost effective to purchase items that either aren't on sale or aren't marked down as far as another item, but are things that fit you better and, therefore, you would wear more often.

6.  Shop Your Closet.  It sounds so easy, but how many times have you actually done this prior to going shopping?  Before you go shopping for more clothing, go through your closet to see what, if anything, you actually need.  Maybe you'll find something you didn't remember you had.  Also, you can re-fashion what's in your closet.  Easy changes such as switching out the buttons, adding ribbon trim, or dying the clothing with either natural dyes or clothing dye to change it up a bit may spruce it up enough to become a go-to piece of clothing.

In General
7.  Pay Cash.  This small change makes a huge difference in how much money you will spend.  When you give the cashier a credit card or debit card, it doesn't matter if you spend more than what you had anticipated.  But if you only use cash, not only are you more aware of what you are spending, but you are forcing yourself to stay within your budgeted amount.
     This technique was shared with me by a co-worker about 10 years ago and I've found that it really does work.  She was the only one working while her husband was in grad school.  One thing she found was that they would make a budget but, at the end of the month, they'd almost always gone over the budget.  Once they switched to cash only they stayed in the their budget every single month. 
     At the beginning of each week she would withdraw the amount needed for groceries, gas and misc. spending.  Once that money was gone, they didn't have any money to spend until the next week.  When they went grocery shopping, if they wanted something extra that wasn't budgeted for on their list, the money would come from their "spending" envelope which would then lessen how much they had to freely spend for the week.  She told me it was difficult for about the first month but after that, they didn't even think about it.  They were able to not only make it on one {small} income but save money too!

8.  Eliminate Things You Don't Use.  Not only does this de-clutter your life, but you can make money from your items.  How does this save money?  First, when you go through what you already own, it's a great reminder of what you have and what you need or don't need.  When you sell things, it's a great reminder that things don't, for the most part, hold their value so it only reiterates the importance on thinking about purchases prior to making them.
     Gather up all the things you simply don't use or want.  Now you've got a few options.  You can choose to donate some or all of the items to a thrift store.  You can have a garage sale.  If you have consignment shops in your area, you can bring items to the consignment shop where they do the work and you get a percentage.  You can list the items on Craigslist, Freecycle, Ebay, etc.  Did you know Amazon.com has a trade-in program?  It's limited to newer items, but you can sell them books, electronics, video games and movies in exchange for an Amazon.com gift card.  {they pay for the shipping - you just have to print the shipping label, box the items and mail them in}.

9.   Match Your Non-Essential Spending.  Whatever you're budgeting for non-essential spending in a given week, match that and put that amount in your savings account.  This not only brings to your attention how much you're spending on non-essentials, but it also limits the spending since you now must have double in order to save the same amount you're spending.

10.  Find Ways To Reward Yourself.  Saving money can take a toll on you and your family so it's important to plan your own rewards.  Having places you can eat out that don't cost a fortune, local places you can visit for day "vacations" that are inexpensive, and small things you want to buy that you can save for will make the budgeting a bit easier.  How does this save money?  By having a list or idea of things that are inexpensive for rewards, it will make it less likely you'll "splurge" on something expensive.  Splurging without the guilt!

What types of things do you do to save?


10 comments:

Our Neck of the Woods said...

Good tips! I write out our expenses each month and we have set limits for our ideal spending on groceries and usually manage to stick pretty close to the budgeted amount. It seems like with our animals we usually have unexpected things pop up, so we try to cut back in other areas when possible. And we each have a little bit of our own "fun money" for the month for entertainment and whatever we want. This way we don't feel too trapped by not being able to eat a meal out or buy a little something we like.

born ambitious. born imaginative. said...

We did Financial Peace University/ The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. (Google him). We follow many of his ideas. :)

Meg said...

I really need to get back into #7. We slipped out of that this summer and our budget has shown it. :( And I love #9!! That is an excellent way to stash some extra money!

Leslie said...

These are great ideas. I really like your thoughts on clothes shopping. So often I fall into that trap of buying something ugly and ill-fitting just because it's cheap. It would be better to have a few nice, wearable items rather than a bunch of stuff that I don't want to wear.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

You've given some great ideas and reminders--When Carl was furloughed, because of the Govt. shutdown, even though he was called back to work, he didn't get a paycheck, and I started using the fliers again from the grocery stores, well worth the time, and got me reacquainted with our grocery stores--I think I'm going to continue to do it. I didn't know that about Aldi's--I wish there was one close to us.

Thanks again for the tips!

Mary said...

Great ideas, Staci. That is so true about clothes shopping. I also find that buying something I love that fits well, when I see it, works much better for me. If I shop last minute for an outfit to wear to a specific event, I almost always end up with something I'm not crazy about and hardly ever wear. Also, way back in 1980 when we were married, we lived entirely on Mike's salary, and mine went straight to savings. We were able to save the downpayment on our first house, and when our son was born, and I decided to stay home, we knew how to get by with one income. May be harder to do these days, but we learned to save for things we really wanted.

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Thank you for all your great ideas!!

The Little Acre that Could said...

These are great ideas! One thing I do is on the day of my hair appointment I wash my hair and leave out the product. That way my hairdresser can cut it without having to wash it. She just spritzes. I saves me $7 plus taxes.

Nancy Wolff said...

Very good ideas, especially about spending cash! Thank you so much for sharing on the HomeAcre Hop! I am going to feature this post tomorrow! Stop by and pick up your "I was featured" button! Look forward to seeing what you share tomorrow! - Nancy HomeAcre Hop

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Thanks so much Nancy - I will definitely stop by!