You don’t need to cut coupons or stop going out to eat in order to save money. While those are all good ideas, there may be other ways to cut your monthly expenses while still enjoying some of the things you like. Some of these ideas might actually surprise you!
Shop Your Insurance
You can change your insurance carrier (in most cases) any time you want. There is no contract with insurance so shop your rate! I didn’t realize I was paying too much, until we decided to get other quotes and we were accepted by one of the very best auto insurances out there, and our premium was half of what we were paying. That is a big savings! You could be leaving money on the table by not shopping your rates. Shop your car insurance rates, homeowners insurance rates, life insurance rates and any other policies that you may have out there.
Once upon a time, we purchased a pergola for our outdoor patio. We found one we loved and we didn’t even look around. We had found our one and only and we paid for it and anxiously awaited it’s arrival. Fast forward a year, and we see an identical pergola at an outdoor show. For $3,000 less. We spent thousands that we didn’t need to, by not shopping prices and getting quotes. We are usually more savvy than that, so it took us both by surprise. We blew it and it cost us thousands. Don’t get impulsive and purchase based on emotion. You will always pay more by going with the first option you find or not shopping around. This goes for home decor, contractors (landscaping, plumbing, electrical, drywall, etc) and even purchases that you may not expect. I am continually surprised to find out (thank you, husband!) that you can negotiate prices on many things that you wouldn’t expect. Also, read reviews and be sure you are comparing apples with apples.
Cut the beauty budget! I love getting my eyebrows waxed and tinted (I am a super blondie.) It is expensive and a recurring cost. One trip to the beauty supply store, some Youtube videos and a few experimental eyebrows later… I do it at home, on my own time and it saves me money and time. The few times I paid for it, it was $40+ and it took time, planning, babysitter for the kids, and it was a hassle. Pedicures are an extra expense that some may spend that can easily be cut out and done at home.
Sometimes those 10$ a month subscriptions sneak up on you and add up. I am not saying to cancel everything, but look over your expenses and see if there are subscriptions you can do without. Magazines, gun clubs, Pandora (do the free version?) car wash passes, etc. If you are trying to save money, it may be time to reduce the extras or see if you can do without things you are used to paying for.
Save money by making your own homemade products! You can do DIY soap, shaving cream, lotions, etc. Not only do you get customized products to your liking, but you also save money by making them at home. Usually, these products are made with things you have at your home already.
This may be hard for you, but just imagine how much money you’re spending on coffee everyday. Let’s say you buy a cup of coffee for $4 at your local coffee store 5 days a week. That’s over $1,000 a year just on coffee! Cut coffee out (or at least partially) and you’ll see some extra cash coming in. *Dodging virtual tomatoes that are being thrown my way by the coffee addicts of the world.*
If you’re trying to find fun activities to do while also saving money, then turn to your community calendar. There are so many fun things in the community that are free. Also, take advantage of “kids eat free on Tuesday” type of events or festivals that are free and entertaining. Saving money doesn’t have to be a drag. In fact, if you get creative you will probably go places and do things you wouldn’t have normally known about. It is an adventure!
Treat yourself (sparingly)
We all get that itch to spend money. While saving money is a good thing, and we should all be doing it, be careful about still allowing yourself to splurge once in a while. Treat yourself every now and then so you don’t explode! Give yourself a small monthly allowance or implement another system so you spend money while still saying within budget. If you budget for extras as much as possible, it will prevent binge spending and it will keep you from really blowing the budget after working hard to save.
Keep Utility Bills Lower
I don’t know what it is about children, but they are almost incapable of shutting a door (is this just my kids?) and we finally changed the hinges to our exterior doors to self-closing hinges. This has helped a bunch with our AC bill in the summer. You would be surprised how much money you can actually save if you use energy efficient bulbs in your home, keep doors closed and open windows to cool things off if you can. Also, unplug unnecessary appliances or power cords, keep lights off, etc. If you are consious about saving energy, you are doing not only the world a favor, but your pocketbook. Don’t run unneccsary water and keep your blinds closed on hot days. All of these things will help you keep your utilities lower and help you save money.
Instead of buying every book that you like, (thanks a lot, Amazon Prime) get a library card so you can read the books for free! Yes, Libraries are still out there and they are great! How often do you go back and read the same books? Almost never.
You can find a lot of the things you “want” or even “need” that are slightly used or in pretty good shape on the classifieds. This can help satisfy the needs you have, while not costing a fortune.
Make Goals, Budget and Keep Focused
Ultimately, if you don’t make goals, you won’t know where you are headed. If I can emphasize one thing on Flipping Pennies is that the most important thing in changing your financial situation is to set goals. Be clear, specific and outline a path to get there. Be realistic, but give yourself a reason to push you out of your comfort zone. There is great strength and confidence that comes from self-control, working hard and reaching your milestones.