No matter where you are in life, very rarely will anyone ever say "no" to a little extra cash, am I right? With online shopping and delivery subscriptions, it's easy to spend a little out of your budget each month. In this blog post, we're going to cover some easy ways to save some extra cash!
Stop Eating Out
This may seem like an obvious one, but residents in Wisconsin spend an average of $190 per month (!!!) dining out (source: Business Insider). Eating out isn't just going out to a fancy dinner with your hubby, or grabbing some nuggets from MacDon's at lunch. Eating out is also grabbing a $2 tea before dinner, or that $5 Kwik Trip fruit snack pack. We all obviously love Kwik Trip, but those little snacks and beverages add up quick! Even spending $10 on beverages or snacks per week is an extra $520 a year!
Instead of grabbing a quick snack every time you get gas, try bringing some from home. I almost always keep a yummy protein bar in my glove box for snacking emergencies. It's also cheaper to buy 2 liters or packs or soda or tea and keep them at home. You even could the option to make your own sweet drinks like lemonade and iced tea!
As far as meals go, try to eat at home the majority of the time. My fiance and I are trying to save for our wedding right now. What was a fancy meal once a week and lunch on the weekends, is now Arby's night with coupons and making a meal together. I've honestly enjoyed learning to cook some inexpensive meals, plus cooking together is a great bonding experience. On top of that there are some awesome resources like Hello Fresh (which sends entire meal kits to your front door) and $5 Meal Plan (Sends you recipes each month for super inexpensive meals your family will love!) that can make the switch from eating out easy and stress free.
2. Drink More Water
No this is not a health blog, but hear me out! Drinking a gallon of water a day has numerous health benefits, but it can also save you a ton of cash! For starters, let's talk about coffee. I am someone who cannot function in the morning without a cup of coffee. Though I love getting fancy coffee from Moka or Starbucks, I save so much by limiting that. Even getting that $2 coffee from the gas station by your house everyday is over $700 a year! Then add in teas, soda, juice, and let's not even get started on alcohol! In short, by cutting out some of those sugary beverages, not only will your health improve, but you'll save some cash!
Invest in a water bottle. Don't buy tons of bottled water, that's another big spending spot for people. Invest in a good water bottle (Walmart has them starting at just $5), and fill it at gas stations and coffee shops instead of buying drinks. When you do eat out, bring it with you! I was a waitress and we never minded when people brought their own water. Plus, by using a reusable water bottle, you help the environment. It's a win, win, win!
3. Cut Back on Going to the Movies
I love going to the movies. Like I absolutely love it, but it definitely can be super expensive and eat up a lot of your money. One big way to save is to look into your theater's deals! Most theater's will have a $5 movie night, $2 Kids movies, or I've even seen $20 a month to see 5 movies of your choosing. On top of that, try to eat beforehand. I am one of 4 kids, so our movie nights would often cost my parents almost $100 after tickets, popcorn, candy, and soda. By eating beforehand, or just not buying snacks, it can take a $25 trip down to the price of just your ticket. Plus this is a great opportunity to use that water bottle we just talked about (elbow nudge)! The last tip with this, is go less often. With Redbox, you can have a movie night at home for literally $1. By going to the movies less often, you not only save money, but that opens up more movies you can rent later on once they hit Redbox!
4. Get Rid of Cable
But what about sports and the bachelor?? I know, sounds crazy, but cable is expensive and there are so many more inexpensive options available that still even include live TV. For starters, get an antenna. No not one of those old bunny ear antenna! They make them super sleek and stylish now, and you can pick up about 29 channels for free including NBC, FOX, and ABC. On top of that, there are tons of inexpensive ways to get live channels. Roku's are super popular and have ton's of add on's. You can also get Amazon Prime Video (Comes with the regular Amazon Prime, so you may actually already have this and not realize it!) or Hulu, both of which have live television options and add-ons! Hulu even has a deal for Hulu, Disney +, and ESPN for $12.99 a month! Way cheaper than cable!
5. Dye your Own Hair
Once again, might sound totally crazy, but hear me out. I have only ever gotten professional highlights once, and I think it cost me $50, even with a discount. Believe me I love my hairdresser, but dying my own hair saves me over $100 a month, and it's actually so easy. With so many free resources like Youtube, DIY hair coloring is totally a viable option. I even mix my own dye just like at the salon (no unhealthy box dye for me). It's honestly so easy and convenient, and costs me about $10 each time. Also a little off topic... drugstore makeup is fantastic. Look into some cheaper brands for your makeup and skin routine, you might be pleasantly surprised!
6. Cancel Unneeded Monthly Subscriptions
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a couple of monthly subscriptions, especially if you use them! For me, I use Netflix or Hulu almost everyday. On the other hand, I'd had a monthly makeup subscription that I didn't really need. Cancelling it saved me over $100 a year.
If you go through your bank statement, you will probably find a lot of charges for services or subscriptions you may not even realize you're still paying for! Think though streaming services, magazine subscriptions, loot boxes, audio or electronic books, clothing, makeup, wine, and food subscriptions, and think through if they're things you really need and actually use. If the answer is no, you're probably safe to cancel it, and your wallet will thank you!
Another one is your gym membership. There's tons of free resources and ways to work out at home if you wanted to cancel all together. A second option is to shop around. Some gyms have lots of amenities like free classes, a pool, basketball court, etc that you might be paying for as part of your membership. See if there are gyms that maybe don't offer as many bells and whistles, but have everything you need to get a good workout. Don't pay extra for things you aren't really using.
7. Don't Put things on Credit Cards
Putting something on a credit card just means you have to pay for it later, and probably with added interest. I try to avoid credit cards, but even I can admit to putting something on a credit card, forgetting to pay it, and then paying a late fee and interest on top of the original price. Though there are definite pros to using credit cards (rewards, cash back, miles etc), but make sure you aren't thinking of it as free money. If I use one of my credit cards, I make it a priority to pay it off immediately. The amount of people in credit card debt is astronomical. We could probably do an entire blog post just about credit cards (and I'm sure we will!), but for now, feel free to check out this blog by Dave Ramsey to learn more about common misconceptions about credit cards.
Another point (and this can play into loans as a whole, but specifically smaller loans for things like cars), this keeps you from buying things you can't afford. Instead of putting it on a credit card, using these tips, save up and pay for more expensive things with cash, or pay with your card and then pay it off right away. This way you don't find yourself in crazy debt and buried in interest and late fees!
8. Grocery Saving Tips
There are tons of ways to save on groceries! One of the biggest ones is to stop buying name brand! It might not seem like saving $0.50 on off brand cheese-it's is worth it, but if you do that with all your groceries, you will save money. Even saving $5-10 per grocery trip will add up and be so worth it! Another option is to try shopping at other grocery stores. Here in the La Crosse, we have several options from local places to bigger name stores. There are some that are definitely less expensive than others, which doesn't always mean there's a lack in quality. Plus each store runs different sales and coupons on different items. When I was younger my mom would go through all the ads for all the grocery stores. She'd end up going to 3-4 different stores to shop coupons and sales. It ended up saving us a ton of money especially being a bigger family!
Another great option during the summer is to hit up a local farmer's market. Not only will you save money, but you may even find the produce is more fresh and has less preservatives and hormones. Plus you can help support local farmers and businesses!
9. Do some DIY
Thank God for Pinterest. There are so many ideas and how-to's for life hacks, decor, and even cleaning supplies. The biggest key to Pinterest is actually doing the things you pin! Don't just like the idea and never look at it again. Pull up the article, read about it and put some things on your grocery list! There's so many simple DIY projects that will save you so much money! Feel free to check out our Pinterest for some of our favorite ideas!
This is just the beginning of all the ways you can save money! Seriously consider making some of these changes. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by how much money you can save just by doing these simple things! As always, call us if you have any questions regarding these things or anything else! We are always here to help!
PKC 3 LLC