Are you constantly trying to save money but keep living paycheck to paycheck? Do you think you couldn’t possibly save money with your current wage or salary? If any of this resonates with you then you are in the right place. Sometimes we think we don’t have any extra money to save, or we can’t hang on to our savings long enough. I am here to tell you that it is possible! I have shifted through multiple wages or salaries and each time I was able to save a lot of money!
Our spending habits can start to form at a young age. We were either surrounded by people who were financially stable or those who were not. We were introduced to savings and investing, or we weren’t. No matter what you were exposed to when it comes to finances you can always create your own financial path.
One sure strategy to save money is by working on your spending habits. I have listed 10 habits that you can address in your life and adjust. Pick a few that ring true to your life and see how much money you can save by changing those habits.
1. Eat out Less
This one is a hard one for me personally. Cooking can take a lot of time and energy. Eating out is so much more convenient. However, eating out is SO much more expensive. Imagine all the groceries and meals you can eat with the same amount you spend at a restaurant. This doesn’t mean you have to stop eating out altogether, it just means cutting back. Try packing a lunch instead of buying. Stick to eating out only twice a week. Create a meal plan or binder full of recipes to help you stay on track with eating more at home.
2. Stop buying name brand clothes
I grew up always wanting the latest styles, electronics, shoes you name it. Luckily, once I reached high school, I realized I only had a limited amount of funds for living. I had to make choices with my money. I had to decide between movies, eating with friends, a cellphone, new clothes, new shoes, new bags, field trips, birthday parties, dances, gas money etc. Since I worked for most of my spending money, I knew I had to make wiser choices. I decided at this time in my life experiences were more important to me than the popular brands of clothing. I gave up on Hollister, Abercrombie, Nike, and Adidas in high school. Today I still don’t worry about the brand names of clothes. I am not saying I never buy any brand name clothes, in fact I do buy certain brands of shoes for comfort. You can however scale back on the amount of clothes you buy and really ask yourself if the brand truly serves you in any way. Instead of always buying clothes to keep up with the latest fashions I choose to save my money or spend it on experiences that I’ll remember instead.
3. Get a pre-paid cell phone plan
A few years ago, I was introduced to a ton of new pre-paid cellphone plans available today. There are some cellphone carriers out there that use the same towers the big companies use like T-Mobile and Sprint. For example, Mint Mobile uses the same towers as T-Mobile and therefore you get great service, or the same service as you would being with T-mobile. For Mint Mobile you only pay $15/month! Another company I have used is Boost Mobile. You can buy your phone outright and only pay $35 a month. The only thing with using these prepaid plans is the limited data. For myself it’s not a problem since I have wifi at home. Also, wifi is available most places you go now. If you need extra data one month for a trip or event, then you can pay $5 for more data for just that month. This is a great way to save money and not be tied to a phone contract.
4. Stop buying bottled water
I am in shock when I see people who still purchase bottled water as a regular house staple. We have access to clean water here in the states and there is no reason to buy plastic water bottles. However, I do understand that some of the houses we live in have extremely old pipes that can taint our water a bit. Or some states have better tasting water than others. If you have these concerns, then consider buying a filtering system like a Brita or a PUR pitcher. You can also install a filter on your faucet. There are many options that are cheaper for you and healthier for the planet than buying bottled water.
5. Stop paying for cable
At this point in time I am pretty sure cable subscriptions have decreased immensely. If you are still paying for cable, then please…STOP! It is not worth it to pay for a subscription that is overpriced and makes you watch commercials. Instead sign up for a Netflix account or Disney Plus package with Hulu and ESPN. These subscriptions are much more affordable and have more TV and movies available then you can imagine.
6. Reduce going to stores in person or online
One habit that saves me a ton of money is I resist going to stores in person or online. Once you start browsing in a store there is no doubt that you will pick something up and purchase it. Why? Because it’s on sale! I’ve never seen that price before! I’ve always wanted to buy that. It’s best to avoid stores if you can. For groceries I use the pickup services that most major grocery stores offer. You order your groceries online, drive up, they load your car and your off! No need to go inside and buy unnecessary items. The same concept applies to online shopping.
7. Unplug things you are not using
This one I struggle with. It may seem minimal, but unplugging your coffee maker, toaster, and chargers can save you money on your electric bill! Try it out one month and see the difference. We decided to split the responsibility of unplugging by assigning each room to someone and making it their responsibility to unplug everything in that room. Next, turn your lights off when you’re not in the room.
8. Get energy efficient lightbulbs
We have switched all our light bulbs to LED. These light bulbs not only save you money with your energy bill, but they can last up to 25 years! No need to keep replacing light bulbs every year. Christmas time is a great time to start using LED lights as well to save money on your energy bill. Now, we didn’t just buy a bunch of LED lights an replace all of them at once. We were on the look out for deals and sales for LED light bulbs and LED Christmas lights. Keep an eye out for those sales and switch your bulbs out slowly (especially if you have over 50 to change like me!).
9. Buy used Instead of New
This sounds vague but can be applied to almost everything! You can buy a used car instead of a new one, buy used clothing, buy used home décor. There is no need to pay full price for things when buying used is an option. Furniture is a great example of buying used. There are a ton of apps and websites where people are selling really great things for a much lower price. When I bought my house, I wanted this dining table from Ashley’s furniture, but it was over $1000! I couldn’t and wouldn’t get myself to spend that money on a dining table. I decided to look on OfferUp for a comparable dining table. Low and behold a few months later someone posted the exact table I wanted on offer up for $400! Now I’ll admit this doesn’t happen often, but it was so sweet that it did. I also bought a coffee table, end table, and guest bed frame on OfferUp. I spent so much less than I would’ve in stores. I also go to thrift stores to buy clothes or trade with friends.
10. Cut your own hair/Stop coloring your hair
There are a ton of YouTube videos to teach you how to cut your own hair. We have saved hundreds by cutting our own hair, going to a school, or going somewhere super inexpensive. I also cut my dogs hair as well!! The key here is to invest in good clippers and maintain them. You don’t want to buy mediocre clippers then need to replace them a few months later.