Who doesn’t want to save money? No one, that’s who! We all want to get more for less. It feels better to buy something if you have a coupon, or if it’s on sale, and something for free is a thrill. In an effort to save more money in 2015, I recently researched ways spend less. All the “new” tips I came across seamed like things I didn’t want to do. For example:
- cut my husbands hair (Pretty sure he would run and hide if I suggested this.)
- get rid of cable (C’mon!)
- create your own preschool with friends at home (I’m not that smart.)
Yeah, I’m not doing any of those things. Then there was the things we already do:
- turn the thermostat down in the winter (68°) and up in the summer (76°),
- meal plan
- collect loose change. (Isn’t it fun when you turn your loose change in? It’s sorta like free money!)
There were also good reminders:
- turn off the lights when you’re not in the room
- unplug appliances when you’re not using them
- use the dryer in the AM in the summer and the PM in the winter
Those are easy things I definitely need to get better at. I also need a reminder every now and then to follow my own program. It’s an effective and fairly easy one to follow, but it does take a little extra effort and sometimes I’m in a rush or forgetful or too lazy to do certain things.
I cut my weekly spending in half about 5 years ago, I’m going to tell you how I did it so you can save money in 2015.
I’ve already talked about how I like to save money with coupons, how I save money at CVS, and how I save money at Target. Here’s how I cut my weekly spending in half, hopefully this info will help you save money in 2015. After we had sweet Lyla and I became a stay at home mom, my husband and I were having a financial discussion and he showed me the number I was spending, on average, every week. I was shocked! Let me clarify that this money does not go to our mortgage, preschool fees, gas, or other monthly bills. This money is for groceries, household items, clothes, entertainment, gifts (excluding Christmas)… you get the idea. In those days I wasn’t clipping coupons, tracking my spending, or researching ways to save money.
My shock was like a call to action. The first thing I did was promise to cut my spending by 25%. After a month of getting used to that, I cut an additional 25%. For a total of 1/2 of my original spending amount. That new number became my *self-imposed* weekly budget. How was I able to do this? By using CASH ONLY. Similar to the envelope system, you choose the amount of cash that you want to spend that week (in my case 1/2 of the shocking number I was originally spending), pull it out at the beginning of the week, and when it’s done, you’re done. It really made me focus on quality over quantity and needs vs wants. Plus, it helped not acquire a barrage of useless crap we really don’t need.
That’s exactly how it all started, but since then it’s gotten a little more complicated. An exception to the “cash only” rule, is the Red card from Target because it helps me save an additional 5% and it donates money to my daughter’s school. I typically do all my Target and grocery shopping on a Monday. I make a plan to stop at Target first then I’ll pull out the difference in cash before I go to the grocery store. The other exception is online shopping. I actually rarely buy things online, but sometimes they can be so much cheaper, or a store will only carry a specific item online, and some places don’t have an actual storefront to buy from. In these cases, I’ll take the cash I spent online and put it away for the next week’s budget.
That’s all, that’s it. It’s pretty cut and dry. I know each household is different and each of us spend different amounts – that’s what makes budgeting so difficult. There’s really no blanket rule to spending less. If you don’t think you can’t start by cutting out 25% of your spending, then start with 10%. But that amount aside (in cash, out of the bank) and give yourself one week’s worth as a prize for cutting 10% for an entire month.
This is totally not a perfect system and some weeks I am better at it than others. But the fact is that I’m trying. As a SAHM, there are times when I feel really bad about doing all the money spending and none of the money making. I talk about this with my husband all the time and he tries to help me understand that this is just an issue for me (being the spender that is) and that I’m guilting myself. He completely understands it’s something I have to do, I’m the meal planner, the house manager, and the one that needs to meet the kids needs on a all day everyday basis. So trying to save money by spending less makes me feel like I’m contributing to our financial success not sabotaging it.
OK, this clearly is not the most fun thing ever. But you know what is? Being proud of yourself for saving your family some money. It really makes rationalizing those fab new shoes that much easier.
How do you save money? No, I really want to know.