Often with a new year brings new goals and sentiments. For me, it’s getting myself in a better financial situation. In my 20s I was what you’d call somewhat frivolous with money. I bought on a whim and didn’t have any sort of “plan” in place for short term or long term financial goals. I was smart enough to pay for my masters as I went, but beyond that, I wouldn’t say I had any clue what I was doing… in my defense, personal finance was not a high school requirement in 2007!
Now that I’m a little older, and a little wiser, I’m taking great efforts to get in the best financial shape that I can. For starters, I am following the Dave Ramsey 5 baby steps. I have found his advice to be motivational and practical. My biggest advice is to find a savings structure that works for you and stick with it!
As I navigate these goals, I wanted to compile a list of simple ways I save money each month and share them with you!
1. Order groceries online
I save on average $30 by ordering groceries online for pick up. Not only is it incredibly easy to order online these days, but you are not tempted by pretty displays or “new/featured items” as you browse the aisles.
When I do go into the store, I mainly shop the parameters (produce, meat, and fridge/freezer). Not only is it budget friendly, but I’m not persuaded to buy the junk food found in the middle of the store.
Be sure to have a list (and take it with you). I create my grocery list in the note app on my phone so it is always with me. I’ve found that I’m less tempted to go rouge if I have a list and meal plan for the week.
2. Buy generic
Speaking of groceries, I try to buy the generic HyVee (my grocery story) brand as often as I can. It is cheaper than the brand name 95% of the time and I can’t usually tell a difference in taste or quality. Aldi is another great option!
3. Stock up during annual sales
Just recently I started implementing this into my lifestyle. The main sale I like to hit up is the Beauty Brands Liter Sale in July. I buy my shampoo and conditioner for the entire year. I spent $80 for three shampoos and two conditioners, compared to the $120 I would spend otherwise. I know it is a lot of money to spend at once, but it pays off in the long run. I try to wash my hair every other day so I’m not using as much product, which is also a great way to cut down on costs.
4. Pack your lunch
This one is SO simple. Eating out can be expensive, but I know how fun and enjoyable it can be. I always pack my lunch so I can enjoy happy hours or restaurants in the evening with friends and family.
5. Sell things you no longer have a use for
I like to take my old clothes to Plato’s closet (be sure the clothes are in season or they won’t take them) or sell on Poshmark. Garage sales are a good option too, they just require more work! Facebook Marketplace is another option to sell online, in your area.
I’ve recently purchased a few items on Poshmark. I don’t typically like pre-worn clothes, but you can find items with the tags still on!
6. Plan and save for your purchases
No buying on a whim! I’m preaching to the choir on this one. But really, try to make a list and stick to it. For example, at Christmas I like to making a google sheet for each person I plan to buy for and what I plan to spend. This keeps me on a budget and accountable! Do not spend money you don’t have!
7. Buy coffee you love that you can make at home
I love coffee and coffee shops more than anyone I know, but it can get costly stopping for coffee. I’m not saying to never indulge– please do, it’s a fun treat! But treat it like a treat— something you do once in a while! As for the everyday, find a coffee you truly enjoy and you will be less tempted.
8. Don’t buy things you don’t truly love or need
If the purchase you are about to make feels just “meh” put it down and walk away. Trust me, you will get it home and never wear/use it and it will probably get shoved to the back of your closet. I buy things I know I will USE and WEAR. If the dress is uncomfortable when I try it on, I don’t buy it. If I don’t really have a need for a new piece of furniture/home decor, I DON’T buy it.
Moral of the story… only buy things you love or need. No buyer’s remorse 🙂
9. Don’t make unnecessary trips
When I think about where I spend the bulk of my money, it comes down to groceries and gas. I have quite a commute to work, so I try to avoid extra trips to stores if I don’t need to.
10. Share subscriptions
This is probably a no-brainer, but split the cost of Netflix, Hulu, Wi-fi, virtual gyms… anything that you can stream.
I hope you found these tips helpful! I really try to be money conscious, as I’m on a teacher budget! I still buy quality items and hardly ever pass up happy hour 🙂 Life is meant to be enjoyed, which usually takes a little $$, but you also don’t want your spending habits to stress you out. Comment below with other money saving tips. I’d love to hear from you!