Start Saving this Month
Are you looking for ways to save money this month (and every month)? If you don’t stay focused, it’s easy to spend more money than you realize.
Saving money is not easy (for this article we will be saving money by reducing expenses to increase your resources). It takes discipline and planning.
Some expenses we have are fixed like our mortgage or rent payment, car payment, insurance, utilities (water, electricity, gas) and we have limited options to change them (sell your house or car, refinance your mortgage).
With conservation measures, you may be able to reduce your utility bills, but you will always have a water, gas and electricity bill. Some expenses are more controllable like cable, food, and clothing.
Let’s consider 5 areas we can control and reduce our costs.
5 Ways to Reduce Your Expenses and Save Money Today
Reduce your food budget by planning your meals in advance and only shopping once a week.
Planning your meals in advance will help you determine what food and ingredients you have available. When you have a menu plan, you will decide ahead of time what food you need for the week. Then when you grocery shop, you will have a set list and only purchase the items you need.
Only grocery shop once a week. Multiple visits to the grocery store each week will increase your food expenses. Impulse buys add up.
Bonus idea: one week a month try to make meal plans with food you have at home (i.e. don’t grocery shop), use only what you have. You will reduce your grocery budget and clean out your pantry once a month.
If you download the Smart Mom Mini-Planner, a monthly and weekly menu planner is included.
Reduce your cable expense or cut the cord.
A few years ago my family decided it was time to cut the cord and end our cable subscription. Making this change was a challenge for me, but once we did make the change I don’t miss cable TV at all. Read about how we cut the cable cord and save $1,200 every year.
If you are not ready to cut the cable cord, review your cable bill and see what you can save. Are you paying for DVR’s and premium channels? Could you eliminate or reduce those costs? Could you renegotiate your current monthly rate? Are many of the shows you record with your DVR available in Netflix and Hulu? These services cost much less than the monthly DVR box and recording fees and you get many season’s available to watch whenever you want to watch them.
Reduce your cell phone bill.
What extra expenses do you have on your cell phone bill? Are you paying for too much data? Do you go over your data plan every month and pay extra fees? When was the last time you updated your service agreement? Are you receiving the best monthly price (cell phone companies are always changing their prices)? If you have multiple cell phones, are you using you family plan?
These are just a few questions to consider when you review your cell phone bill. It’s always a good idea to call your cell phone supplier once a year, review your services and see if better prices are available.
Reduce your eating out for lunch and Starbucks coffee treats
If you work outside the home, it’s easy to just go out for lunch every day. The cost of eating lunch out can range from $5-$10 per day or more. You are spending $25-$50 a week eating out (plus the portion sizes are too large and you will probably gain weight from eating too much too).
Do you have a Starbucks coffee addiction? Do you stop at your favorite Starbucks on the way to work every day? Every time you stop, it probably costs between $3.00 and $7.00. That’s $15.00 to $21.00 a week or up to $80.00 a month at Starbucks!
To keep these expenses controlled, try to eat out one time a week and choose one day a week for your Starbucks coffee treat. Also, only purchase these items with cash or gift cards (don’t use your credit or debit card), then you will have to think ahead on your purchases.
For a change in scenery, eat your lunch outside or go to a park.
Reduce your ATM fees
Don’t use your ATM card unless you must at an ATM machine or only use machines that don’t charge you a fee. ATM fees can easily add up to $20-$25 per month.
Limit the number of times you withdraw cash from your bank account. Determine a set amount of cash for the month for the month as a spending/free money. If you run out of cash, you are out until the first of the next month. This system forces me to think about how I spend my cash and what is important. Remember, you can carry small amounts with you so you don’t overspend.
If you are trying to save money this month, consider planning your meals in advance and shopping from a list, cutting your cable bills, reducing cell phone expenses, bring your lunch from home and only visit Starbucks once a week, and reduce your ATM fees. If you were able to apply all these ideas this month, you could save $300-$500 starting this month.
How do you save money every month? What is your best money saving tip?