Thinking how much weekly spending can save you over the course of the year will really help motivate you to save on a weekly basis. If you can cut it by $20 a week, then you’re saving over $1,000 for the year! (Invest that in a high-interest account, and after several years of grocery saving it can really pay off!) Of course, if you’re already at $35 or $20 a week, you may not be able to cut back quite much.
2. Don’t pay for cable or TV services. (at least $250/year)
3. Don’t buy beverages for everyday drinking. ($5/week = ~$250annual savings)
I love juice, so this has been hard to do, but we’ve been doing it successfully since April! If I can get it for free/almost free/at CVS, then I do; but for the most part we avoid purchasing drinks. I’ve gotten some carbonated beverages and Kool-Aid for free that we keep on hand for parties or guests. But for now, this is an area we can cut back on. Plus it’s healthier! It does take time to get used to this, though!
We mix up enough powdered milk for cereal and keep it in the fridge. Milk can also be frozen.
*If you do buy milk, buy whole milk and add water; it’s usually the same price and this will allow you to stretch it without noticing a difference (if you’re already used to drinking skim milk).*
4. Do small repair/fix-up projects yourself. (ranges)
Wives can be a huge encouragement to their husbands in this area. Many men are afraid to try because their wives are afraid to “let” them, Of course, don’t do something that would in the long run cause damage, but with a little research you can learn to do a lot of things yourself!
My husband recently purchased and installed a fence for under $500 that would have cost more like $2,000 had we hired someone to do it for us. He had never done this type of work before, but was able to find instructions on the internet and in brochures from the store.
5. Try to go for an entire week without spending money on…anything (pay your bills, of course)! Then do this for several weeks out of the year. (~$100 or more a year, depending on what you normally buy)
Just make sure to fill the car up with gas ahead of time, and don’t buy anything! Consider challenging yourself to make do with what you have in your pantry for the week, and stick with it. Most people could live for quite a while off what is in their pantries/freezers–especially couponers! Sometimes we’ve done this “just for fun,” and it has been neat to see what we can come up with or even how God provides something we weren’t expecting.
6. Grow a garden. (at least $50 a year)
Even with our many dog attacks, droughts, and brown-thumbs, we’ve had enough to put food on the table for several meals.
7. Learn to cut your own hair/have someone in your family learn how to cut hair. ($100/year or more)
My husband has been cutting hair for some time, and even used to cut hair in the dorms to raise money. He even gives haircuts and haircutting lessons, still! I have cut my own hair since I was a teenager; but I think that one of these days, though, I’m going to go back and just see what can be done!
8. Learn to coupon, stockpile, and CVS/drugstore shop. (thousands–our receipts indicate that we’ve saved over $6,000 doing this over the course of the year…just at CVS!)
9. Realize that if you are patient and able to wait, these days there is almost always a way to do things less expensively than what the average person is paying.
Don’t buy something just because you think you need it. Wait a while, and try to plan ahead if possible. A few years back, Daniel’s job strongly recommended taking a long weekend getaway twice a year. With some praying and looking around, we were able to find a nice condo in Hilton Head for just under $20 a day!
10. Learn to be content with what you have. (priceless 🙂 )
This is probably the biggest way to save money, but it’s probably also the hardest! For example, there have been several times where I wished I could buy certain pieces of baby equipment. However, a car seat can do just about the same thing as a baby bouncer. A towel on the floor works just as well as changing table (though we were given one), and our daughter survived her newborn days without a swing. I know there may be a time in the future where I can have certain things I think would be really helpful, but learning contentment while waiting is priceless.
There are many more ways; and of course, the best way to save money is not to spend money! 🙂 Saving money isn’t everything, but if you’re in a pinch, paying off school loans, or saving towards a particular goal, these are some great ways to get started. Not all of these will work for everyone, but hopefully there’s something you can put to use!