I’ll be honest. When my husband and I got married and began managing our joint finances, I cringed every time he said the word budget. I had always been responsible with money but hadn’t ever had to manage money, pay bills, etc. The idea of bills
scared terrified me. On the flip side of those initial budget conversations, I can gladly say, making and sticking to a budget makes a world of difference, but if you are like me and don’t really know where to start, you might want to try some basics initially. By making some simple changes to things you do each week, you’ll be able to save a little green, and again, if you are anything like me, once you see the savings start piling up, you’ll be more willing to consider the big “b word.”
1. Make a Shopping List
While it may seem like making a list for shopping has nothing to do with saving money, if you stick to your shopping list, I promise, you’ll see your grocery bill dwindle. We are all prone to impulse purchases, but when you make a list and commit to only buying what’s on your list, you’ll not spend money on nonessentials.
2. Save a Trip (and Some Gas)
Most of us are close enough to our favorite shops, grocery stores, etc. that we just run out when we find we need something, but what if you planned your trips? Planning and combining your trips is another way to save yourself a little money each week that will add up. Instead of just making a grocery run, try going to the store after work when you’ve already been out. Or, combine a family outing and a stop at the store. Not only will you save on gas, you’ll also maximize your time – and we all know how valuable time is.
3. Look for (and Use) Specials
Some of us (or maybe it’s just me) like the idea of using coupons but just can’t commit to spending hours at a time scouring the internet and local paper for coupons. What I can do, though, is find local and store specials. One of my favorites is planning our weekly date night (I know, we’re taking advantage of this time sans kids while we can) based on a special offered by a local restaurant. Just last week, we were able to do a pizza date night for less than $5! Look in your local paper or classifieds for local deals or visit websites of your favorite stores or restaurants to find online deals – focus on ways you can save money on items or activities that you’d be spending money on anyway. (Avoid just using a deal because it’s a deal unless it’s something you really need.)
A little piece of me just died typing that because I am a coffee lover, but what I don’t love is the high price tag that comes with a store-bought coffee. Just think about it, if you skip just one store-bought coffee a week that is close to $5 a week, $20 a month, and $240 a year. That is savings I can live with. (If you can’t fathom not getting your weekly cup of java, look for deals or specials to use to achieve some savings anyway – refer to #3 for suggestions.)
5. Adjust the Thermostat
We all like to be comfortable, but adjusting your thermostat is one of the easiest ways to save money. According to the Department of Energy by turning back your thermostat by just one degree, you can save as much as 1% on your heating and cooling bill. While that may be just dollars and cents, even small savings add up over time.
I’d love to hear what you do to save money each week. Leave a comment with your favorite money saving tips!