Saving money can feel overwhelming, and it can also feel like it takes awhile. And while it may take a bit to save up for that vacation or down payment, there are things you can immediately do to start saving money.
Saving money takes time and practice. It’s much easier to spend than it is to save, but
I became a cord cutter approximately 6 years ago, and I haven’t looked back since. With Hulu, Netflix, HBONow, and Amazon Prime TV available, plus a good digital antenna to get your local channels, it’s so easy to save money and pay significantly less than you do for cable.
Sell DVD’s and books you don’t use
Remember when we used to buy DVD’s? Long before Amazon Prime, Google Play, Netflix, Hulu…and on down the digital line. I had so many DVD’s and the truth is that when I finally sat down to go through them, I hadn’t watched 97% of them in years. I’ve used decluttr before and found the website so easy to use. You simply key in the items barcode (or scan it if you download their app), they tell you how much they’ll pay you, when you’re finished they send you a paid shipping label. Box up your items, ship them out and wait for your check!
BONUS: decluttr also will buy you old cell phones, kindles, iPads and other tech items. You may as well make a little money if you have these items laying around!
Check out books and DVD’s from your local library
One of the things on my wish list when we buy a house is to have a home library. But until that day comes I utilize the library for 90% of my reading. I adore my library and it saves me so much money, considering how many books I want to read. Another feature that your local library may offer is the option to check out DVD’s for free. It’s a great way to save money for a cozy Friday night in!
Sell gently used clothes you never wear
You likely have a shirt of two sitting in your closet that you haven’t wore in a long time. Maybe it still has the tags on it? We all have clothes that we keep around for one reason or another but if we were being honest with ourselves they need to go. If you don’t want to go full Marie Kondo than grab a few pieces that you know you can part with and sell them to make some quick money. From Poshmark online to a local thrift shop in your area, decide what works best for you and start selling!
Sign up for customer reward programs
One of the quickest way to earn cash, receive discounts or gift cards that you can use it to make sure you sign up for any customer reward programs available to you. Your credit card likely has rewards being saved for you that you can use on gift cards or convert into cash. Other free programs that I use are Cartwheel to get major Target discounts, Winestyles to earn points to use for money off my bill, United Mileage Plus to earn airline miles, Ulta to earn points that convert to cash on purchases, and more!
Make gifts instead of buying them
Buying gifts for other people adds up quickly. Between birthday’s and holiday’s there is a lot to buy throughout the year. And though making gifts isn’t probably realistic for every person or occasion, you can really save some money and tap into your creative side by DIYing some fun gifts. I love this list from A Beautiful Mess to get you started!
TIP: Commit to an experience instead of a gift if you’re not into DIY.
Plan your meals and stick to them. I firmly believe that when you don’t have a plan you end up buying more than you need or spending money on takeout. Make this a priority and meal prep so everything is ready to throw together after a busy day. And always keep your pantry stocked so you have what you need in a pinch.
Create lists (and stick to them)
Where it’s a grocery list, a shopping list, a to-do list, a packing list, or any other kind of list – stick to it. The quickest way to spend more money than you intend to is to go to a store without an intentional list. You’ll find yourself buying more than you intended to, quickly spending money you don’t need to spend.
TIP: Grab these watercolor to-do lists and get started making your lists.
Find free entertainment in your area
Saving money doesn’t mean sitting in your home all day with nothing to do. Take advantage of the free and low cost things to do in your area. From parks to museums to gardens to festivals, it’s likely your town or city has many things you can take advantage off that will cost you next to nothing.
Set a budget
Budgeting your money is one of the easiest ways to save money in both the short and the long term. You need to know what is coming in and what is going out, and if you want to pay off debt or save for something special than you need to budget. It’s truly as simple as that. You can get started budgeting with my free 7-page budgeting workbook; you’ll be saving money in no time!
Take cash with you when you go out
Ditch your credit and debit cards, grab some cash, and use that when you go out. Once it’s gone it’s gone. I can personally say that going out for drinks ends up costing me so much more money than I intended on spending every single time. Put limits on your spending and you’ll be saving money in no time.
Say no to fast food
Drive throughs add up. In calories and money. If you find yourself detouring through the fast food lane on even a semi annual basis than stop. It costs way too much money that you could be saving. Plus if you meal prep than you’ll have snacks and meals ready to go and don’t need to stop off for fast food.
Install energy efficient light bulbs
It may cost a lot of money to replace your appliances with energy efficient ones, but you can easily switch out your light bulbs to energy efficient, and you’ll start to see your electric bill go down!
TIP: Make sure you’re turning the lights off when you leave rooms, let natural light fill your space, and use lamps when possible to help cut down on your electric usage.
Delete shopping apps from your phone
Technology is such a blessing in so many ways, but sometimes having the ability to press 3 buttons and have a cute shirt or a new pair of shoes on the way can tempt us too much. If you find yourself being swayed by the ease of shopping from your phone than delete the shopping apps you have and save some money.
Unsubscribe from emails trying to sell you things
Your inbox is likely getting cluttered so it’s time to unsubscribe from the shopping newsletters. There will always be another 20% off sale waiting for you, but remove the temptation from spending money on things you don’t need by unsubscribing.
Cancel unused memberships
If you find yourself with some monthly or quarterly memberships that you’re not using it’s time to cancel them. You can always sign back up, but if you’re not using the thing you’ve subscribed to, think about the money you could be saving.
Shop for holiday essentials right after the holiday
Every Christmas I stock up on wrapping paper in the few days after the holiday and right before New Years. It’s all on discount for the taking, and I’m ready for the next year at a fraction of the price that you pay in late November/early December. Christmas isn’t the only holiday to stock up on items after the holiday, but you can score some great things after the 4th of July, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween and Thanksgiving!
Switch to generic
I cannot begin to tell you how much money we save buying the Market Pantry brand items at Target. And they’re quality items! Toliet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, mouthwash, body wash – all Target brand. And not a single person that has stayed with us has ever been able to tell a bit of difference.
Cook at home
If you’re a regular reader than you know I’m a big meal planner. There are so many advantages to grocery shopping each week and cooking at home, but a key one is how much money you save by not eating out multiple days per week. Say no to takeout, cook at home and save some money!
Track your savings
Know what you’re saving. Whether it’s for an emergency fun, a vacation, a down payment, or just a rainy day, it’s important to understand where you’re at with your savings. The progress you make will motivate and encourage you to save more. Saving is, and should be fun!
We always cook for four even though there are two of us. Dinner, then lunch the next day. I rarely purchase food from my work’s cafeteria because I eat leftovers, and I easily save $7-$12 a day by doing that.
Start a garden
A great way to save money is to start a garden. Even just a few herbs can go a long way, however there are so many ways to start a garden whether you have a home or an apartment. We’re growing lettuce, kale, zucchini, green peppers, red peppers, orange peppers, chives and basil all from our apartment patio this year!
Walk or bike
Save money and get exercise by walking or biking when you can.
Make your own coffee
You may like your local barista but if you want to save money than make your coffee at home in the morning and bring it with you in a travel mug. At $4-$7 a drink you’ll save money quick!
Download money saving apps
Apps like Honey, Rakuten and Ibotta are great ways to save money when you guy. Whether it’s an app like Ibotta that puts money right back in your account or an app like Honey that finds you the latest discount code to apply, you don’t even have to think twice and you’ll be saving money.
TELL ME: What are your tips and tricks to save money?