Is saving money is on your list of things to do in 2018?
If so, you aren’t alone. To save money makes the Top 10 list of New Year’s Resolutions every single year.
Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions:
- Be Fit and Healthy
- Lose Weight
- Enjoy Life
- Spend less, save more
- Get organized
- Travel more
- Read more
- Quit smoking
- Learn something new
The first order of business when it comes to saving money is to examine your spending habits. Once you figure out exactly where your money is going, then you can make adjustments to save more of your hard earned cash.
So, first take one month to write down everything you spend. Every day just jot down on a calendar what you spent or any money you received. At the end of the month add up the amount you spent. You might see a pattern and a place where you can save money.
Save Money – Cook
I just HATE to cook. Honestly the cooking gene in my family just skipped right over me.
When it comes to cooking all I can think:
- SO much time to plan
- SO much time to shop
- SO much time to cook
- EXACTLY 37 seconds to eat
It just seems like cooking is not an effective use of time! LOL!
But when I learned that the average American family spends over $3,000 a year on eating out I decided to take a closer look at my habits.
“Eating out everyday at lunch? By spending $10 per lunch you’ll spend a whopping $2500 a year. Suddenly peanut butter sandwiches don’t sound that bad!”
Save Money – Don’t Throw Food Away
Ok, shame on all of us for food waste. It really is a huge issue and Americans actually waste more food than any other country in the world. As much has 50% of all produce in the US is thrown away – $160 BILLION of food every single year. That equals about $1600 per family WASTED.
Let’s step away from that horrible statistic and move closer to eating that food and keep it out of the landfills AND keep that money in our wallets.
Save Money – How Not to Waste Food
- Plan Ahead – I won’t lie. I hate this part. I hate knowing that Thursday I have to cook chili. What if I don’t feel like cooking chili on Thursday? OK. I know that is super duper selfish of me. I’ll make myself grow up if you will!
So, plan the week’s menu. It helps me if I just think it terms of the week and then choose the day I end up cooking the chili.
Then, prepare: Count how many bananas you’ll need for school lunches. Go ahead and slice up the radishes for the dinner salad instead of waiting for them to rot in the refrigerator. (Don’t judge! Doesn’t everyone have something furry in the fridge?)
COMING SOON – help with menu planning
2. Stick to the plan!
If you bought enough bananas to put one in everyone ‘s lunch every day, then stick to the plan and put a banana in everyone’s lunch every day. Otherwise the bananas will rot and then be put into the black hole of the freezer purgatory where they’ll wait to become ……banana bread.
Banana bread, which you and I both know, you haven’t baked since 1992 back when your metabolism worked properly.
So, the slimy, but now frozen, bananas will take up freezer space for about 12 months till you toss them out to make room for newer, fresher, slimy rotten bananas for the banana bread you won’t be baking this year either.
So, let’s just skip all that nonsense and just give everyone a banana for lunch.
Save Money – Watch your Drinks.
I hate the ‘non’ water, don’t you? My kids hate the non-taste of water, don’t yours?
All the things you drink instead of plain, boring water is costing a fortune. Don’t believe me? Go back to month one where you wrote down all your spending to see how much of your hard earned money is going to drinks. I think you’ll be as surprised as I was!
Step 1 Coffee and Tea on the go.
Yes, we are talking about your Starbucks habit. I’m not saying that your morning ‘half-calf, tall, vegan latte with 2 pumps of caramel, 3 sprinkles of cinnamon and 1 ice cube” is not worth the money. Just be aware of how much money you are spending on it and make sure it is worth it!
Options to Save Money on your Tea/Coffee/Water habit:
Step 1 – BYOC – Bring Your own Cup – Sometimes places will give you a discount on coffee and tea if you bring your own cup. Einstein Bagel’s is one business that will!
Make your coffee and tea at home. Learn how to make your fancy schmancy coffee recipe at home and take it with you.
Cut back. Consider coffee purchased at a place like Starbucks as a treat and not an everyday thing.
Step 2 – Buy a refillable water bottle.
Refillable water bottles are everywhere. Buy your own to refill FREE from water fountains everywhere.
Step 3 – BYOF – Bring Your Own Flavor
Small packets of flavoring are cheap, lightweight and easy to carry around. These make super cheap drinks for the whole family. You can save a ton on drinks this way when you travel.
When we were in Turkey and only drinking bottled water, flavor packets I brought from home really made the kids happy!
Save Money – Look for Special Deals
When you do spend money to eat out, make it go as far as possible.
Step 1 – Watch the time.
Some menus have early bird specials. Lunch is usually less expensive than dinner, too.
Step 2 – Coupons
Watch your mailbox. You can get coupons through your snail mailbox and your email inbox. New restaurants often drum up business with coupons. See if your favorite restaurant has a loyalty program by checking out their Facebook page.
Groupon has some amazing deals, too!
Step 3 – Cash or Charge?
Carefully choose your payment method. Sometimes you get a discount with cash. Certain credit cards give points for purchases, too.
Save Money – Try a Plan
Watching your savings add up is fun because you can see yourself getting close and closer to your goal. Here are some great ways to watch those savings really add up!
Plan 1 – Save $1 a day. Each day add $1 to the amount.
Day 1 – $1
Day 2 – $2
Day 3 – $3
It gets harder at the end of the month when you are saving $30 a day.
Coming Soon – the Save $1 a day worksheet.
OR Save $1 a day – every day. You will be shocked at how this adds up!
Plan 2 – Save coins.
We have been saving coins for years and it really really adds up. We have two containers – one for pennies and one for everything else. Counting and helping with the rolling are great jobs for kiddos! Remember the phrase:
“See a penny, pick it up and all the day you’ll have good luck!”
Plan 3 – Pay yourself.
This is my favorite way to add money to my travel fund.
I do things myself instead of paying someone else to do it! You can learn to do anything by watching youtube videos and you can start there. If I manage to do something myself, I put the amount of money I would have paid someone else into the travel fund.
Sone things I’ve paid myself to do:
- repaired a trash compactor (Thank you Youtube!)
- painted a wrought iron fence (I learned not to wear sandals for this type of project. My feet were striped from the overspray floating down onto my feet.)
- Dog grooming – I bathe the little one because she is small and manageable at only 8.5 pounds. The bigger, fluffier one isn’t worth the mess after a bath. I trim their nails myself and pay my $5 each time.
Think about your strengths. What can you do and then pay yourself?
- Wash the car?
- Change oil?
- Clean the house?
- Mow the lawn?
Take control of YOUR finances to save for YOUR dreams!
We’d love to hear what you do to keep control of your savings. Give us your tips in the comments.