My family is always on the lookout for ways to save money and some variation on that theme always makes it to my list of new year’s resolutions. If your goal is to save some money this year too, then take a look at this list of a few small, and some big, changes you can make today that can have a major impact on your budget.
Meals and Snacks:
- Take your own lunch to work, even bring your own water (in a refillable bottle of course) and coffee if they’re not readily available for free at the office.
- Bring snacks and drinks for the kids, and for yourself, when you’re out and about so you don’t have to pay extra for these convenience items.
- Once or twice a week plan a meal where you can double the recipe and put the extra in the freezer for a quick (and cheap) meal the next week.
- Keep some quick and easy frozen entrees on hand like lasagna or pizza for those nights that you’re just too tired too cook, to keep from having to go out for dinner or order delivery.
- Stock up on products you use while they are on sale so you never have to pay full price for them.
- Watch for sales cycles so you can plan ahead what to buy – for example, stock up on BBQ sauce during the summer months when its on sale and baking products during the winter holidays.
- Use coupons – even $.25 and $.35 coupons can really add up! (see Couponing 101 for tips and tricks)
- Instead of buying several smaller packages of meat during a weekly grocery trip, buy one larger value pack of something that is on sale this week and divide it into smaller meal sized portions to store in the freezer for future meals.
- Plan ahead and only shop for the things you need.
- Always research and comparison shop, especially for more expensive items like coats and shoes.
- Wait and buy things slightly out of season. For example, buy a new bathing suit in summer instead of spring, or a new jacket in winter instead of fall. Better yet – wait until the end of the season and buy on clearance for the next year.
- Don’t be afraid to pay slightly more for higher quality items that will last longer.
- Calculate the actual cost of your purchases. For instance, a $200 coat you can wear all winter will cost $2.22 per wear ($200 / 90 days), or a $100 pair of boots you wear twice a week during the winter will cost $4.17 per wear ($100 / 24).
- Shop at consignment stores and thrift shops, or online at Craigslist or eBay, where you can usually get a lot for very little. I shop at a local Mom2Mom consignment sale each year for school uniforms for the kids and save a bundle!
- Learn to do clothing alterations so you can hem your family’s pants and skirts, or take in and let out waistlines, to make your clothing last longer. If that’s just not your thing, find a local tailor to help you since even paying for alterations is cheaper than buying new clothes.
- If your family has more than vehicle, figure out which is more fuel efficient and try to use it whenever possible.
- If you drive your children to school, see if any other parents in your neighborhood would be interested in taking turns driving all the kids to school.
- Check with co-workers to see if any are willing to carpool to work.
- Whenever possible, walk or ride a bike instead of taking the car. For example, if you drive to work, try walking to lunch and back. Better yet, bring your lunch and walk to the park to eat.
- Plan your trips ahead of time so that they’re both fuel and time efficient. Make a weekly trip to the grocery store instead of stopping for just a few items two or three times a week.
Around the House:
- Shop around for quotes on life, auto and home insurance. Life expectancy tables have changed over the last few years so you may be pleasantly
surprised if you haven’t changed your life insurance in awhile.
- Consider raising the deductible on your auto and home insurance, which will reduce your rates. DON’T make the deductible more than you could afford to
pay if necessary.
- Have your cell phone company analyze your plan – they will do this for free if you call and help you adjust your plan to the most economical plan for
- Use dimmer switches on lights and fans around your house and always turn them off when no one is in the room.
- Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs – they’re more expensive than standard incandescent bulbs, but they last longer and are much less expensive to
- Invest in a programmable thermostat so you can easily set the temperature differently for when you are sleeping or away from the house.
- Invest in a timer for your water heater so that it runs for an hour before you normally take a shower and wash the dishes. Insulate the water heater
to save even more on your bill.
- Cancel any premium television channels that you don’t watch and instead rent movies from Netflix, Blockbuster or RedBox. Better yet, check them out for FREE from your local library!
Select a few, or most of these strategies you’ll be able to increase your bank account and improve your quality of life at the same time!
I LOVE to hear about shopper strategies that work for my readers – please tell me about yours using the comment box below