Sometimes saving can seem so impossible, especially if you have a family or are trying to adjust to a new income. But we all have short and long-term goals, and having a weekly and monthly budget can help you reach them. So in this post, we’re going to look at some of the best ways to save money so that you hit your goals every month.
1. Get rid of the “junk”
One person’s “junk”, is another person’s treasure. Take a look at your jewelry box, garage storage items, furniture, appliances, and wardrobe to see if there are any items you don’t like, use, or need anymore. eBay is a great way to make a little extra money.
2. Cut the cable television
Let’s face it, most people are streaming these days instead of paying for cable television. You can save up to $150 per month by getting rid of cable TV. You can save a lot of money by getting rid of the cable box.
3. Skip the lunch with co-workers
You’d be surprised at how quickly a 10 to $15 lunch tab can add up over the week. And combine this with any breakfast or coffee run that you make in the morning, and you’ll find one of the most unsuspecting ways that you are ruining your budget.
So consider taking your lunch and breakfast to work. Stead, make your own coffee at home and took one or two meals on Sunday so that you can have your lunch prepared each week. Double the recipe to save time and money. This will allow you to make two meals from one recipe and reduce waste.
4. Save your loose change
You can save $500 a year if you put aside $1.40 each day. There are also apps, banks, and credit unions that offer programs that allow you to round up your purchases to the nearest dollar in order for you to save money–don’t forget to check out any cashback rewards that your debit or credit cards may offer.
5. Bring your own water
Ballparks, office cafes, and take-out restaurants are known to mark up water prices by three to fivefold. You can cut down on weekly spending by simply bringing your own H20 whenever you go outside the house.
6. Shop by the unit price
Many grocery stores will list the cost per unit for each item. This could be as low as $0.01 per ounce. These stickers can be used to compare prices for the exact same product in a different size.
So when you are buying a pound of meat are a few packs of crackers, be sure to look at the total weight or number of items in each packet. Sometimes it’s better to buy in bulk, and other times it may be better to buy multiple packages to get the best deal.
7. Be careful when buying bulk
Speaking of bulk. It’s cheaper to buy bulk items, such as crackers, cereal, toothpaste, and shampoo. Some people simply can’t resist the temptation to have a 35-count package of cookies in their home and end up spending too much on food they don’t eat as quickly. Only buy bulk items if you are confident that you will be able to store them in your home.
8. Register for your free loyalty card
You can get additional savings by signing up for loyalty cards at grocery stores and local shops. You don’t have to carry extra cards around with you if you’ve never used a loyalty card. For example, Key Ring, a smartphone app that allows you to carry your loyalty cards with you wherever you go, makes it easy to do so without the need to remember another card number.
9. Use those leftovers
Want to save money on food? Never toss your leftovers. These great recipes can help you make sure that you have enough food left over when you’re meal planning. Quiche, for example, is an easy and delicious meal that can be made with any kind of meat or vegetable– Today’s quiche can be tomorrow’s omelet or scrambled eggs.
You can also use the leftover green beans from Tuesday and Thursday’s meat by making stews or casseroles. Also, consider food-saving apps to get the latest discounts at your local grocery stores. Here are some of the best food apps to check out:
- Checkout 51
- Coupon Sherpa
10. Improve your gas usage
Unless you drive an electric car, you’re likely spending a pretty penny on gas every month. And if you’re looking to save money, one of the best ways you can do it a spy reducing your gas expenditure every week.
Keep extra and heavy items out of your car (as extra weight makes your engine work harder), plan your route each week, clean your air filter regularly and always drive the speed limit–remember that fast revving and braking can cause your car to guzzle gas faster.
11. Drop the collision and comprehensive insurance
If your car is less than $2000, you can get rid of this type of coverage. Driving an older vehicle has one advantage: you don’t need this type of coverage. If you find that your car is eating up the bulk of your budget every month, it may be time to trade it in for a less expensive model.
Keep in mind that a car that is 5-6 years old can still be in great condition and able to go another 5-6 years with no or minimal issues (especially foreign cars such as Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai).
12. Install a low-flow showerhead
You won’t notice a difference in water pressure and your shower will be more efficient. This is a quick weekend project. Low-flow showerheads can save as much as a gallon per minute. Typical showerheads use 2.5 gallons of water per minute. These savings can add up to significant annual savings in water consumption.
13. Request an energy audit
Utility companies often offer energy audits for free to customers in order to conserve energy. This audit will reveal where you have energy leaks so you can make improvements to those areas that offer the greatest return.
14. You can downgrade your internet or phone plan
These two services cost a lot of money every month for most families. You can monitor your usage over the course of a month and determine what you really need and what you could reduce. Is your landline more than a wasteful piece of equipment? What speed do you really need the internet to work if you only check Facebook and email?
15. Build a home gym
A gym membership costs around $50-100 per month. And if you don’t use it, you’ll be wasting money that can go towards your budget. Consider canceling your gym membership and building your own home gym. Need workout ideas? Subscribe to YouTube’s free workout channels, such as PopSugar Fitness or BeFit. Need equipment?
You can find a ton of cheap new or used equipment online on sites such as Amazon, eBay, and Craigslist. And you actually don’t need a lot of equipment for a good home gym, just your basic weights, dumbbells, and a bench or two.
16. Unplug high-energy appliances
Your television, sound system, coffee maker, microwave, as well as other appliances, are all drawing energy that can raise your monthly electric/gas bill. You can turn them all off by plugging these items into a power strip or only plugging them in when you use them. These types of “Smart Surge” power strips can even turn off electronics when they’re not in use–so you won’t have to.
17. Install a low flow toilet
Installing a low-flow toilet can help you save a lot of water. You can cut down on water usage even if you don’t have the money to buy a new toilet. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that these toilets can save you as much as $100 or more ever year on your water bill. Also, these toilets can last about 25-30 years before being replaced. And don’t forget low-flow shower heads! Learn about low-flow and WaterSense products here.
18. Examine your current streaming services
This should be done at least once per year. Do have subscriptions to multiple services? Perhaps you should do an overhaul to see which ones you use the most. Consider limiting yourself to one or two services, or switch them up throughout the year according to your favorite shows.
19. Reduce impulse spending
This is why budgeting and planning ahead are so important. It is often the smallest purchases that land us in serious trouble when we get to the cash register. We buy things when we are tired, hungry, or because we see in the aisle at checkout (which is why stores place them there).
Reduce impulse purchases to save money and you’ll see savings. Just keep your monthly budget in mind when you’re in the checkout lane!
20. Charge ONLY what you can afford to
Never put on a credit card anything you cannot pay in cash. The harshest truth about credit protection is that if you require a credit card to buy something, you won’t be able to afford it. It’s hard to break this habit–but it’s possible. Train yourself to make cash your default payment option for most of your purchases.
21. Pause retirement contributions
Having a 401K or IRA is always a good idea–especially if your job matches the contribution. But what if you need money right now for an emergency fund or other purchase? If so, consider, pausing your retirement contributions and focus on building a six-month expense plan.
22. Use common household goods
While you may not use them for a long time, disposable items such as ziplock bags and tin foil can be reused for other reasons. You can also reuse containers for food storage. Find new ways to reuse things that you’re going to throw away.
Refurbish furniture instead of throwing it out. Use your sewing machine to turn old jeans into a new pair of shorts. Turn used candle jars into plant pots or office pen holders. The ideas are endless when it comes to repurposing.
23. Learn how to DIY
Although there might be certain professionals then you need to call for specific repairs or issues in your home or in your life, there are also many things that you can complete yourself. These days, there are many resources available that can help you with your home improvement, legal, financial, business writing/marketing, and other everyday life needs.
24. Start a side hustle
Starting a side hustle can be one of the best ways that you can increase your monthly budget. And though this can sometimes seem impossible, especially when you have a large family, there are ways to make money without leaving the house are clocking in for a job.
For example, you can sell gently-worn clothing on sites like Poshmark, or start a YouTubing channel (or Instagram page) about your favorite topic. Social medial platforms let you recommend products and earn via commission or through likes and views.