Since most of us are stuck at home practicing social distancing, it’s the perfect time to look at your budget! I know, it’s not the most exciting thing to do but I promise it’s worth it. While it can be easy to cut back on spending when you’re at home (unless you’re an online shopper like me), once we’re free to roam in the real world, those old money habits may come back quick! If you’re looking for quick, easy ways that help save money over time, I’ve got you covered.
Write down all of your expenses
I talked about this in last week’s post, but getting clear on where you’re spending your money can help you find ways to save. And I mean ALL your expenses. That $6.99 Disney+ subscription counts!
Cut back on those Starbucks coffees
Now I will NEVER tell anyone to deprive themselves of anything. I absolutely LOVE Starbucks and do partake in a coffee about 2-3 a month. But I noticed that as soon as I started making coffee at home, I saved A LOT of money. It wasn’t so much the tall latte every day (which still adds up to almost $4 a day), but I also stopped buying the extras like bagels and danishes. So not only am I saving upwards of $60 a month, I’m eating better too!
Buy the store brand
I actually buy the store brand for most of our grocery purchases. We like to shop primarily at Wegmans and I’ve found that their store brand is always on par (or sometimes better) than the name brands. We also do Subscribe and Save through Amazon and get some of their store brands as well. While there are some items that we also get name brands, for the most part, buying the store brand will save you over the long run.
Bring your lunch to work
This goes hand in hand with buying those coffees. Once I realized that I was spending $12 a day on those delicious Chop’t salads, I knew I had to start bringing my own food into the office. I’ve found that by planning my lunches and bringing them to work, I’m saving money AND eating better. I believe everything in moderation though so I allow myself at least once a week of an out-and-about lunch.
Pay for things with cash only
I rarely carry cash because I never need it. But when I wanted to be more mindful with my money, I realized that cash was going to be the better option. I take out $75 every week and that’s my spending money. By having physical dollar bills, I’m forced to decide if I really want to buy that coffee or that shirt I don’t need.
Get rid of cable
The hubs and I haven’t had cable for YEARS. We realized that our bill was creeping up and we weren’t watching that much TV. Now we do all streaming (Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+) and we’ve got all our channels covered. It’s considerably less than what we were spending on a cable bill and we don’t feel like we’re missing out on anything.
Buy your groceries online
One of the ways grocery stores get you to spend more is with those impulse purchases. Even if you make a list, you’re still more likely to pick up something you didn’t plan to while walking down the aisles. I’ve found that when I use services like Instacart, I end up saving money because I’m getting EXACTLY what I need and not buying anything extra.
Finding ways to cut expenses can sometimes seem like a daunting task, especially when we feel like we have a good handle on our spending or don’t want to give up buying the things we love. But these small steps can help you be more mindful of your spending so you can actually see where your money is going and how to keep more of it in your pocket.