Use these 6 easy ways to save money to free up your budget by over $2000 each year. They’re small, painless ways to spend less each week and month.
Growing our savings account and paying off debt has been my goal for 2018, but we knew we would need to find easy ways to save more money in order to succeed.
My husband is in the military and his job provides a fixed monthly income. I’m a freelance wedding and family photographer whose income can vary by hundreds and even thousands each month. We wanted to find ways to be smarter about our spending habits in small ways while we work on tackling the big stuff.
As we sat down and looked at our finances, one thing that struck us was the literally hundreds of dollars that whittled away each month on eating out, convenience beverages and frivolous spending. It’s one of those things that can leave you scratching your head at the end of the month wondering where your budget went.
Creating a savings nest egg and a budget you can actually stick to is a win-win. You’ll have the comfort of knowing you’ve planned for your future, and you’ll have money available when those unexpected expenses arise. And they will.
It was important to us that saving money didn’t feel like we were always pinching pennies so our easy tips for cutting out a few small expenses can help you build up your savings (or stick to a budget) quickly and painlessly.
6 Easy Ways To More Money
1. Skip the Morning Latte … Except on Saturdays
My husband and I each have our caffeinated vices. For me, it’s fountain sodas from a local convenience store. For him, it was overpriced lattes from that famous coffee shop everyone knows about.
His were expensive, over $6 a pop. While mine was more of a frequency issue.
Did you know if you’re paying $4 or more a day every weekday, this habit can add up to more than $1,000 a year? Now, he gets coffee on Saturdays before soccer games and I grab a fountain soda on Saturday on my way to photograph weddings.
Bonus: We’re drinking more water and it’s healthier too.
Check out our delicious Bulletproof coffee recipe to make at home.
2. Eat Out Less
We used to live in a rural town in Michigan. Eating out wasn’t very exciting, options were limited and it was a 30-minute drive to a decent restaurant. Then we moved to a large city where the dining options are endless, delivery is available in an app and food is everywhere.
For foodies like us, this quickly presented a problem. Dinner at a local restaurant can easily cost $15 and up per person. For a family of four, it was adding up quickly. Now we do family dinners on Sunday and limit ordering into our busiest night of the week.
Guess what? If you’ve followed these two tips, by the end of a year, you’ll have already saved atleast $2,000!
3. Hit Up The Lending Library
This was a “huge” area of minor spending for me. eBooks aren’t the savings anyone projected they would be and it’s a habit that added up quick. Factor that into my compulsory habit of purchasing children books and it was adding up! Instead, I opted for using Amazon’s Lending Library for access to thousands of free books. I also take advantage of Amazon Prime’s First Reads for a free new release each month.
4. Change Your Movie Viewing Habits
We don’t see movies in theaters often, but one trip to the theater can easily run upwards of $50. Now we’ve signed up for our theater’s reward program, which sends us coupons frequently. Plus, we skip weekend movies for matinees or Tuesday specials. An added plus? Less competition for seats!
5. Bottle Your Own Water
Unfortunately, we live on an old Military base and the water here is pretty gross. We were going through bottled water by the case when we first moved here. Recently we switched over to a water filter system and reusable water bottles. My Tervis Stainless Steel Tumbler is so much cuter to carry around and it keeps my beverages cold in this Florida heat.
According to ABC News, if you purchase water at a gallon a day (roughly $1.27 a bottle), you’re spending 400 times more than you would if you used the tap so skipping the gallon can save you over $400 a year – even after you purchase new tumblers and the filter.
6. Create a Babysitting Co-Op with Friends
While living in Michigan, we had family close by so childcare was never something we had to pay for. So you can imagine the sticker shock when we moved away from them and added another child to the family. These days childcare for date night or errands runs us anywhere from $10 – $15 an hour. A few hours of alone time can run us $30 – $45, and that’s before the cost of dinner and a movie. Instead, we partnered up with friends to swap childcare nights so everyone saves money.
All of these seemingly small expenditures were adding up to thousands of dollars each year. I look forward to seeing how we do throughout the year and what kind of success we will see as we pay off debt and grow our savings!