There are so many different ways to save money out there, either by reducing the amount you spend in your budget, or just forcing yourself save more money. Since saving more is one of my financial goals every year, here are some of the things I’m doing this year to save more of the money I earn.
Cleaning out the pantry and freezer on a regular basis.
My goal is to clean out the pantry and freezer every other week. This will help keep it clean and remind me what I still have to eat.
I think a lot of people are like me and just end up putting a lot of stuff in the pantry and freezer, but don’t regularly take an inventory of what’s actually in there before buying and making more food. Then we either end up buying things we already have and didn’t need, or throwing away things that are old because we forgot they were there.
I hate wasting food! Therefore, my goal is to keep the freezer and pantry clean, and always check what I have before making a list for the grocery store. This has already helped me reduce my food spending this year by using up what I already had. My grocery budget for the first 4 months this year averaged about $150 per month. However, the last 4 months I’ve averaged less than $100 per month. Woo hoo! Paying attention to what I have and what I’m buying can make a big impact.
Note that the average monthly grocery spending for a family of 2 in America is $550 per month.
Question myself before making a purchase.
Before purchasing anything I ask myself – Is this something a really need? And if so, how often will I use it? Do I really need it? For example, I love to read and often read ebooks on my phone or ipad (a hand me down from my mom, by the way). So, I considered buying a kindle, especially since they have been on sale a few times over the past couple of months. But do I really NEED a Kindle? I researched and read reviews, and finally determined that I am actually happy with reading books on my smartphone or ipad with the Kindle or Overdrive (library books) app. Although my phone has a small screen to read from and the ipad is a little cumbersome to carry around everywhere, I can still easily read a book on both of them.
It definitely pays to question your purchases before you click that button or hit the register at the store. One method that I’ve put in place for online purchases is to put the items in your “cart” and then wait 24 hours before you make the purchase. Sometimes the retailer will even send you a coupon or discount to entice you in to going back and making that purchase.
Alternatively, if I’m at a store and put something in my cart that wasn’t on my list, I’ll take an extra walk around the store debating whether I really need it. Half the time I end up putting the item back, and the other half of the time I determine I really do need it or I figure it’s a special treat for myself.
Stay positive and celebrate small victories.
Over the last year, I’ve canceled several of my subscriptions or memberships and I haven’t missed them at all. I canceled my Massage Envy membership ($75/month), I canceled my Directv ($85/month), and I switched cell phone carriers to a low-cost provider (save $40/month). That’s $200 per month or $2,400 per year in savings. I can find so many more things to do with that money. I’ve also come to the conclusion that eliminating these costs from my budget has not had an impact on my lifestyle, AND made me appreciate little luxuries so much more.
I will continue to find ways to save money this year and every year. I have made it fun to find ways to save, and it really does make me happy. When I treat myself with the occasional massage or dining out, I find I enjoy it so much more.
I am grateful to have ability to treat myself to small luxuries occasionally. I’ve now trimmed my budget enough to not only enjoy financial freedom, but also live a life I love. Find your own freedom!