Money

21 Practical Ways to Save Money & Live Well

woman's open hand clutch, save money

Are you looking for ways to save money this year? 

 

Grocery prices are rising, gas prices change daily, and if you rent you may have received a not so welcome letter informing you that the rent is going up.

 

You may be wondering how all your expenses are increasing while your income remains the same.

 

If you are like me, you even wonder why February rents and mortgages aren’t lowered since there are always fewer days. I have yet to get a prorated discount on anything with this logic but I have put together a list of 21 money saving tips that may help you and me save a few more dollars this year.

 

Here we go.

 

21 Ways to Save More Money 

 

1. Have a Monthly Budget

Now, you may be shaking your head but lots of people don’t have a monthly budget.

 

Having a written or electronic budget is the first step to saving money. It serves two important purposes.

1. You know exactly how much money is coming in, therefore you can control how much goes out.

2. Budgets give you a record of spending habits and patterns that help indicate where you can make improvements.

 

The app we love to use is this one, it’s FREE.

 

When I first started budgeting, I learned that a significant percentage of my money was going towards food. I was eating out frequently, and grocery shopping more often than I needed.

 

2. Eat Out Less

Some people will suggest not eating out at all; however, if you are like me you enjoy the occasional restaurant meal.

 

I usually opt for food I do not cook at home, like Thai food and sushi.

Pad Thai from Thaiphoon Bistro Raleigh NC

If you plan to eat out, consider these tips:

1. Eat out during lunch hours. You can often get the same food for less.

2. Find Groupons.

3. Use coupons for restaurants, if it’s a chain restaurant you can sign up the restaurant’s reward program. If it’s a local restaurant, many have coupons in local newspapers or coupon books.

 

3. Meal Plan

How many times have you gone grocery shopping just to come home and still not have what you needed to make food for the week? It happens.

 

Try planning meals for each day of the week and shopping for those meals and healthy in-between meal snacks. Your wallet will thank you.

 

Below is a helpful weekly meal plan printable.

Meal Planning Grocery List PictureDownload the printable now by clicking on the photo.

 

4. Take Your Lunch to Work

You probably know someone who never brings their lunch to work. Each day they buy food at a restaurant.

  • Consider this. if this person works 5 days a week or 20x/month and spends $6-$10 each of these days that can add up easily. 
  • That is $120-$200 each month; each year that is approximately $1440-$2400.  (Some months have fewer days, vacation days, and he/she may spend more or less than values in the example) –but you get the point.

 

5. When Shopping Use Coupons

If you are grocery shopping, there are apps like Ibotta(affiliate link) that help you save money. It’s even been helping us save money on baby formula!

 

If you are shopping for other items, check The Coupons App, or go directly to the website of the place you are shopping.

 

We saved 20% at Old Navy (in-store) just by sharing a promo code, we had found online, with the cashier!

 

6. Shop Designer Wear at Consignment Shops

There are quality consignment shops that offer second-hand gear for much less than retail price. 

There are also places online to get quality designer wear:

  • Poshmark This company’s app and website allows you to buy and sell used and new products. Use it to sell your gently used clothes, handbags, and accessories.
  • Tradesy If you love designer products and have some designer digs to sell, this is the site for you! Get great prices for your authentic designer goods!

 

7.  Ignore Fashion Labels

If you can get a similar item with the same quality without the name brand, buy the item without the label. You save money and still look good.

 

8. Downsize Your Wardrobe

Capsule wardrobes have proven to be perfect for reducing the amount of clothing you need to store while helping you maintain beautiful style. Explore how the same piece can be worn lots of different ways.

How to build a capsule wardrobe | Style essentials, outfits and staples that will last! | www.flipandstyle.com

Photo: Via Pinterest

If you adopt this method, you are likely to shop less for clothing and focus more on quality and not quantity.

 

9. Buy Clothing Out of Season

I learned this tip from my mom!

 

Even before becoming a mom, I’d buy summer dresses in the winter and sweaters in the summer. Plus, I’m not above wearing sweaters in the summer.

 

Now that I’m a parent I’ll be using this tip for baby.

 

10. Get Rid of Cable

This was a long time coming for us, but we finally gave it up in 2016. We held on longer than we should have because of sports.

 

Since giving up cable we have tried two streaming services:

  • PlayStation Vue (more features)
  • DirectTV Now (best value): We got a Free Apple TV and 1 year of free HBO when we signed up!

 

We also use an antenna for basic channels and a fire-stick for access to Amazon features.

 

11. Window Shop

Window shopping is great! I ‘window’ shop online frequently. It gives me time to think about my purchase before deciding.

 

If you are in a store, take a picture of the item, compare prices online, and if you still want it in a week, then consider buying.

 

12. Try DIY (Do-It-Yourself)

I offer this tip with caution.

 

Services: When I first tried to DIY my eyebrows, the results were horrific. I’ve since gotten much better but there was a learning curve. 

 

Furniture: My husband and I searched for weeks for a nursery dresser. Everything I wanted was super expensive. Instead of splurging on a temporary storage item, I made my own.

 

I purchased two $35 Ikea dressers, added a bit of white paint and some legs and voila! I created a nursery dresser. It’s not Ethan Allen but it works. See photo below.

 

13. Try Homemade

This is similar to the above step but here I’m thinking more about beauty products and cleaning products. Many can be homemade with more wholesome ingredients.

 

I once bought a coffee scrub but later learned I had all the ingredients to make my own.

 

Coffee Scrub Ingredients:

  • Coffee grounds
  • Sugar or salt
  • Coconut oil
  • Vanilla Extract

 Get a full recipe here. You are four ingredients away from super silky feeling legs!

 

14. Upcycle

Find ways to reuse items you already have.

 

For example, I often save glass jars to use for flower vases. We reuse the plastic grocery store bags. Also, I’ve been saving baby formula containers to help organize the drawers in the nursery. They fit perfectly.

 

Resource: 50 Creative Ways to Repurpose, Reuse and Upcycle Old Things

 

15. Exercise at Home

I’m going through a yoga phase and trips to a yoga studio each week can be costly. Instead, I watch free videos and practice at home.

 

Find a workout program that is approved by your physician and find ways to do it at home.

 

16. Take advantage of free trials

Free trials are great opportunities to try a service without commitment.

 

I am the queen of trials. I’ve done a kickboxing trial, silks trial, and a yoga trial, just to name a few.

 

Most recently, we had the opportunity to try a 6-month Tidal subscription for FREE, with a purchase of a $7 CD. The service is around $10/mo. My husband bought me the Whitney Houston Hits CD, he knows my heart!!

 

Tip: Set a phone alarm for when to cancel free trial or evaluate if you want to keep the service.

 

 

17. Limit Hair Salon Visits

If you visit the hair salon every week or biweekly, consider dropping that number to one time each month.

 

This may give you the opportunity to learn how to style your own hair. YouTube videos are a great resource.

 

18. Use Cash

There is scientific data that suggests people spend less money when using cash only.

 

My husband and I have used the envelope system for a while and it works. Limiting yourself to the money in an envelope every month forces creativity and is great for people new to budgeting.

 

*We skip this tip occasionally when we are earning miles for travel.

 

19. Do Free Activities and Attend Free Events

Free events are perfect for getting out the house without spending money. Search free events in Indy newsletters and check with your community websites.

 

If you live in a large city, you’ll probably have more options. If you live in a small or rural area, consider parks, local universities, and walking trails.

 

20. Try Telecommuting

If you have the option to work from home, try it out.

 

Working from home one or more days a week can help you save money on gas. Plus, you get to skip the time in traffic.

 

21. Bike to Work

Many people don’t live close enough to work to bike. However, if you have this option, you kill two birds with one stone.

Bird 1.      You get your daily exercise. 

Bird 2.     You get to work without using fuel.

 

Alright, you made it to the end of the list. I hope you can use some of these to reduce your spending and save more money. 

 

What do you think?

How many of these tips do you think you could apply to your life, to save money this year? 

Tiffany

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