3 Simple Ways to Save Money This Month
I’ve read so many blogs and articles about how to save money right now. The advice they give is really good for sure – stop buying coffee from coffee shops, stop paying for magazines you never read or other subscription services that you don’t need, etc. But there are some things that never make these lists. And there are 3 ways that have been particularly helpful in keeping our budget on track.
Sounds simple enough, right? And yet so many people spend SO MUCH MONEY on eating out all.the.time. My husband and I used to do the same thing.
Now don’t get me wrong, I really like to go out and eat at my favorite restaurants or a restaurant that I’ve never tried before. But we’ve found that when we make this the exception instead of the rule, we see a big difference in how much money we are spending on food each month.
Eating at home more can be summed up in a 2-step process:
- Buy groceries
- Plan your meals
Going to the grocery store used to be something I really enjoyed doing. But these days, not so much. Still, the grocery store (or farmer’s market) is a key player to have on your team as you work towards spending your money intentionally.
We shop at both a large, local grocery store chain and a health food store. We buy almost all of our produce and household products at the local place, and then I buy our chicken, beef, and fish at the health food store. I only buy meat when it is on sale, and usually get really great prices!
We also receive the sale and exclusive sale emails from both stores, and I try to structure our meals (loosely) around what is on sale there as well.
It took me about a month to get the hang of matching sale items with dishes that we would enjoy both cooking and eating, but once we found our groove we were good!
Plan Your Meals
Ok, here’s the deal. Yes, meal planning takes, well, planning. It also takes time to sit down and focus on your week ahead. But it pays off big time!! It’s another key player to add to your Intentional Spending team.
I typically plan our meals on Saturday or Sunday, before we make our weekly grocery trip. Here’s what the normal rundown looks like:
- Step 1: take inventory of what’s already in our pantry, fridge, and freezer. Write it down.
- Step 2: take that list with me to the computer or use my iPhone and pull up both the regular grocery store emails and the health food store emails.
- Step 3: see if I can match what we already have on hand with items that are on sale to form delicious and healthy meals. Add those items to your list. *I am also trying to be more conscious of what produce is currently in season as I plan our meals.
- Step 4: If there aren’t enough items on sale to form some good meals, then I look at what’s still an affordable option even without being on sale.
The other component to this is to #packyourlunch. This can also significantly cut down on your food budget and is an intentional way to eat healthy.
Before my husband and I started using this process, we were spending nearly a mortgage payment on food each month. Now, we spend less than a third of that original amount! When you learn to #eatathome more, it’s a game changer!
#2. Set a Personal Budget
The title of this blog is “3 Simple Ways to Save Money This Month”. Not forever, not for a year or two. We’re talking a small but well thought out step of just 30 days. You can do anything for 30 days.
And one of those things is to set some guardrails up for how much stuff you buy yourself. Yes, self care is real, but do you really need to buy new music every week and new sunglasses and a new shirt and that lipstick…
No, ya don’t.
Not this month at least. Test it out. See how much you save by setting a specific amount for yourself and not going over that amount NO MATTER WHAT. Or, see if you can pay off that small credit card debt that you’ve been avoiding. $1 here, $5 there, it adds up fast!
It helps if you have some accountability. Tell your significant other. Tell your sister. Tell a co-worker. Do whatever you need to do to hold yourself accountable.
It’s only 30 days.
#3. Sell Stuff On OfferUp
Have you heard of this site? It’s awesome (I am not being paid to say that or write this. Seriously, it’s a great site!). And our stuff has always sold in a couple of hours or at most a couple of days.
Here’s a list of some items we sold on OfferUp in the last 12 months:
- Text books
- Pots and pans
And most of these items were given to us in the first place, so 100% profit! Woo hoo!
But here’s the deal.
Don’t just sell your stuff to buy more stuff.
Consider what the best use for that extra money would be.
If you’re in debt, put that money towards your debt. If you’re trying to build an emergency fund, put the money into your emergency fund account.
Or maybe this money could be what you use for your personal budget this month. Whatever you choose to do, think through some intentional spending options!
These simple tips aren’t necessarily easy right away. But they are worth it. Don’t float through this month the way you’ve spent every month before it. Take a few minutes to think about how you want this month to look and feel. And then make it happen as much as you can!
Keep going, be courageous, and choose to spend your money, time and life intentionally.