Simple ideas to cut spending and save money.
We live on one income. I’m sure I don’t have to to say much more than that, haha. Living on one income is not always easy and it means sacrifice as well as being creative with how you save money. My husband and I are just average Americans, making average wages. We try to live simply and not above our means in our little 1950s ranch home. We certainly don’t live extravagantly, but we have more than what we could even ask for and we are grateful. I remember that feeling in my stomach when I first quit my job 8 years ago. It was a leap and even though we crunched numbers we knew there would be things we would have to live without. I still get that butterfly feeling sometimes when an unexpected bill pops up or I feel like we’ve over-spent and should have saved our money instead. I tend to be a penny pincher and I dread large purchases. I’m totally that “let’s fill my cart and abandon it” person, haha. Today I want to share a few ways I’ve been able to cut back on spending.
Unsubscribe from emails | This is actually so effective. I don’t know about you, but those emails totally draw me in. I click to the website and find myself wanting all the pretty new inventory and sale items. I realized years ago, it’s better to just not even see whats new, then I’m not tempted to buy absentmindedly.
Keep a running list of NEED items | I like to keep a list going of things I need. Then when I’m out and about and come across a deal or shopping online I can take advantage of a sale. Having a running list of actual needs keeps me focused and helps to keep me from buying things I don’t need.
Grocery pickup | I’ve been doing grocery pickup for over a year now and I love it so much. First, I’m not a fan of grocery shopping in general. I do love picking out my fresh produce, so often times in the summer the boys and I do like going to local markets and farm stands, but generally I feel as though the supermarkets pick good quality produce for the grocery pickup and I’ve rarely had any issues. For me this keeps me from buying foods and snacks that we don’t need and just sticking to my list. Shopping while hungry is a real thing, haha and it can be dangerous!
Buy secondhand | You can save so much money buying secondhand. It does usually require patience, however it’s worth it in my opinion. I’ve also found over the years that often times things I think I “need” right away I really don’t and more often than not, there is no harm in waiting until I come across something at a thrift store rather than running and buying brand new.
Have a no spend weekend once a month | This is something I’ve done in the past, but not faithfully every month. I’ve also done a no spend month and that was challenging, but really felt good to be more intentional. I love the idea of doing it one weekend a month and I’m definitely thinking this is something I need to do to try to save a little bit more each month.
Cook at home | I honestly don’t love eating out. Don’t get me wrong every once in a while I get a hankering for something different, but generally I never find it’s worth the money. For this reason I choose to cook 99% of our meals at home. One thing I’ve done if I’m in the mood for something different or maybe a junk food type treat I try to find “knock off” recipes on Pinterest. It’s fun to play around in the kitchen and try a new recipe and even if you’re buying frozen french fries and making your own chicken nuggets it’s fulfilling that craving at a fraction of the cost of take out. I especially love making Chinese food at home for a “take out at home meal”
Have a meatless meal once a week | This isn’t something I necessarily do every week, but we do it pretty often. Typically We’ll have a big pasta type meal with a veggie or salad and buttered bread, or I’ll make a beans and rice style meal.
Eat leftovers | I’m actually a leftover lover, my husband is not. I typically just eat what is left from the night before for lunch. Or I’ll try to get creative and use a bunch of leftovers to create a “new” meal.
Cancel cable and unnecessary subscriptions | We canceled our cable about 8 years ago and honestly have never missed it. We did have Netflix for a while, but canceled that last year. I also had the Frndly app over the winter, but canceled that as well. Currently we don’t have any subscriptions aside from our Little Pilgrims Theology. We try to watch movies on our DVD player. We have Amazon Prime mostly for the free shipping, but this past year we really don’t even order much from Amazon and we’ve considered canceling that subscription as well. It’s amazing how all those little subscriptions add up in a months time. Regularly asking yourself if you’re even using it doesn’t hurt, and nowadays it’s really just a click away if you’d like to start it back up for a short time.
Use cash | Using a charge card or debit card makes spending way to easy and very mindless until the bill comes. We try to use cash when we can and then we think more about the purchases we’re making when we can see that money in our hands.
Shop around | I use to hate doing this. My husband is very much into shopping around and waiting for sales at different stores. Over the years I’ve found he’s totally right and it definitely pays to compare prices.
Wait before making a purchase | Despite being a penny pincher, I also have a tendency to be an impulse buyer…well at least in the thrift stores and Home Goods. I have had to train myself over the years to really stop and ask myself, is this a want or a need. Again having those need lists are helpful, but also just stepping away and waiting before making a purchase. Often times I’ve realized the next day or days later that I don’t really need said item and I have been glad I took the time to really wait and think about it.
Use your local library | We love books and buying books is definitely my weak spot. I try to only buy our absolute favorites and ones we read over and over. For everything else, we go to the library. They will often times even purchase books that they don’t have if you request it. Plus our library offers discount passes and lots of free resources. We recently went to the museum two times for free using a library pass.
I’m sure there are other tips I’m forgetting, but I think this is a sweet little list to get you started. I hope you have found this post helpful. Thanks for stopping by friends!