These money saving tips will show you how to save $1k MORE every year! They’ve worked for our family for years!
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Our family tries to be pretty thrifty and save as much as we can. We have found several things that work great for us to save money, so I decided to share some of them with you all today. Some are money saving ideas, others are things that have helped us in handling our finances so far. All of these things might not work for every family, but you might find some things that could help you pinch some pennies.
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1. Make a monthly budget – It is really not as hard as you might think, and you can get as detailed as you want, or leave it simple with just bills/food/gas money on there. Budgeting things out on paper helps to keep you accountable to what you are spending and where, and it can give you lots of peace of mind knowing that you do have money for each bill, or food for the rest of the month etc.
2. No tv – We don’t even own one, but we aren’t really missing out on anything (other than the bill). I often go to our local library and pick up movies or even full seasons of shows on DVD for FREE. We then watch those on our laptop. Sure, we may be “behind” a little on all the shows, but it is worth it to us to save the money! To keep up with more recent shows we mainly use hulu.com, though I know that there are other websites that do it(nbc.com and other channels’ websites). Hulu is free and 100% legal and you can watch the most recent episodes of most shows, they usually go on the site the day after the show airs on TV. So all you have to do is wait 1 day and then you can catch up on the show! More recently we’ve purchased a Hulu plus membership for $8 a month, still a LARGE savings! If you sign up through that link you will get 2 free weeks!
Average monthly saving – $30 (depending on what you bundle etc.)
Savings over 1 year – $360
3. Baking bread – My husband and my baby LOVE bread. So they end up eating it a lot. Hubby will just walk into the kitchen and grab a couple slices of bread to snack on. We were easily spending $15 on bread a month with just 3 of us at home! When I evaluated our food bill I saw that this was one area that could easily bring in some savings. Now I bake my own bread for around 35 cents a loaf. (my husband calculated it out one day, but I don’t remember his exact total) I use this recipe right now and it is SO simple! I usually bake 3 loaves at a time and then freeze two. So I end up baking twice a month usually. Not only do you save money, but you know exactly what you are feeding your family, and can even pronounce all the ingredients! The recipe I use only has four.
Average monthly savings $13
Average savings over one year – $156 (can you believe it? it is like being paid $156 to bake bread for my family!!!)
4. Breakfast for Dinner – this one is simple and kinda fun! Once a week or so I make breakfast tacos for dinner instead of a “normal” meal. eggs are SO cheap, and tortillas aren’t too expensive either. I can feed all three of us for approximately $1.50 Doing a super cheap meal like this once a week or so can really cut back on your dinner spending and save a few extra pennies. You could even do this more often by incorporating other cheap things like 40 cent frozen pot pies etc. How much you will save doing this depends on how much an average dinner at your house costs. But let’s just say it’s a normal meal is around $5 and you do this 4 times a month…
Average monthly savings $ 14
Average savings over 1 year -$168
5. Make your own laundry soap – There are so many recipes for laundry soap floating around the internet, I found one and was really surprised at how easy it was! We were spending a LOT on laundry soap each month because of cloth diapers and having to wash them with “special” expensive soap. I switched to making my own, and it has been great! If you visit this site you can see the recipe I use, and also all of her calculations about how much money it saves. Making your own soap equals out to costing a PENNY a load. or 71 cents for 2 gallons vs. $12 or so for 2 gallons of store bought
Average savings per month – $11
Average savings over 1 year – $132
6. Once a month cooking – This is something new I just started this month, so I am still working out the kinks. The basic idea behind it is to prepare your dinner meal plan for the entire month ahead of time, then go shopping, buy all the ingredients and then take 1 day to cook and freeze ALL the meals. I am loving the convenience of this method, but also the savings! it is amazing how many extra things you will grab every time you are at the store because something is on sale, or looks yummy etc. Using this method you end up going to the store WAY less so you cut back on those extra purchases, and you always have meals in the freezer so you don’t end up stopping for fast food or ordering take out because you forgot to buy anything for dinner. You can save a lot of time and money this way if you can find a way to make it work for your family. I have heard of some people doing it weekly instead of monthly, but the same idea is in place, less shopping = less spending!
Average savings varies family to family
7. Unplug – Such a simple concept, remembering to do it is the trick! Simply unplug the things you are not using. Phone chargers, laptops, microwaves even! Statistics show that 10% or more of your electric bill is from appliances that are plugged in but not in use. That’s crazy!!! So simply turn lights off when you leave the room, and unplug what you are not using and you can slice your electric bill down by 10% – obviously a lot of appliances cannot be unplugged, but go ahead and make the extra effort to unplug the rest and you can save a lot over a year. And really, all it is costing you is minor inconvenience to bend down and unplug something, or having to replug it when you want to use it. At first it is irritating, but eventually you get used to it.
Average savings varies depending on your home and electricity prices in your area but for us:
Average monthly savings $8
Average savings over 1 year $ 96
8. Date night – I know that dates are typically looked at as expensive, but it is possible to do fun cheap dates! We work it in to our budget so that we are sure to have good intentional time together! There are several ways to have a cheap date night. For starters, you could try doing something at home instead of going out. I created a list of 10 home-dates that don’t involve the TV.
If you are able to go on a date outside of the home there are several ways to save money that way too. Share your meal, don’t order drinks, or consider going to a deli instead of a fancy restaurant! Swap babysitting nights with a friend to get free childcare when you go out… With a little effort and creativity you could have an affordable date night several times a month!
9. “Fun money” – have a special ‘savings’ areas with the labels “wifey fun money” and “hubby fun money”. We started doing this a couple months ago and so far it has worked great. At the end of each month I will set aside a small percentage of whatever extra money we have left over to each of our “fun” savings’. Knowing that I have that fund keeps me from buying things on a whim because I know it will come out of my “fun” money. It also is great because then I can choose what I want from my area and he can choose what he wants. When we want bigger things we can put our money together and get it, or we can keep buying things that we each want. (I usually buy clothes and decorations, while he is more interested in books & games).
Average savings varies…
But it has helped me save TONS because I don’t buy things on a whim anymore, I really have to think through my purchases because I know they are coming from “my” fun money.
***Bonus!*** A fun way to get extra spending money is using Swagbucks! You can earn points by watching videos, searching the web, answering surveys and more! I’ve used them for a couple years now and love changing my points in for gift cards for a bit of extra spending money!
10. Evaluate your spending – I think this is important to do every so often with your spouse. Sit down together and really look at where your money is going each month and discuss together what changes need to be made if any. It is amazing what you can figure out when you put your heads together! It can also serve to relieve the stress of the spouse who does not handle the finances. I handle the finances in our family, but every so often hubby and I will talk through our budget together, or I will just update him that “everything is good” or what corners I’m cutting this month to make things work etc. I think it helps relieve stress on his end to know what is going on, without having to figure it out himself. communication can solve so many problems, even problems that have not surfaced yet!
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Adding together the things that I could calculate the average monthly savings:
$76 saved per month or
$912 per year!
Add in the date night savings, monthly meal savings and cutting back those spur of the moment purchases this will be well over $1k savings every year!
There is so much that could be done with that money. We originally had to implement some of these things so I could quit my job and stay home with our kids, but then kept it up and added in a few things to buy a house!
Some ideas of what to do with the extra money you could save… Start saving for something you will need soon (car repairs/new car), paying off debt, college funds for the kids, or even support missions organizations. For example 2 children from compassion international could be supported for just $78 a month.
So, what about you? what are some things your family does to save money?