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Save Money by Making Small Lifestyle Changes
Is your lifestyle keeping you from saving money?
Knowing where your money is going is the key to financial freedom.
While you make think that your lifestyle choices are not extravagant, small changes can help you save big!
This is why creating a budget is so important! Creating a budget means you will have to look at what you’re spending (yikes!).
When you look at your expenses and see all of the bills you’re paying every month and even more surprising all the little lifestyle choices you spend money on, it can be shocking.
It’s easy to dismiss cutting back on the little expenses. You may think a few dollars here and a few dollars there won’t make a significant difference in the big picture.
But a few dollars here and a few dollars there adds up to a few more dollars and can be money that would otherwise be saved for your more important financial goals (like paying off debt or saving for a home).
When you cut back on what you consider small expenses, you could end up with a lot more money at the end of the month.
So where should you begin to cut back?
One thing we can do that is good for the budget is to stop wasting so much. Wasting can apply to many areas in our lives. From eating to home heating and lighting.
Waste equals money going down the drain unnecessarily.
Cooking for the family instead of eating takeout or dining out is a great way to save money. But if you’re throwing food out because you bought too much or didn’t plan and it went bad, the benefit is reduced.
So if you have leftovers, don’t let them end up in the trash and keep track of what you have in your refrigerator and pantry.
Have a meal plan for the week BEFORE you go shopping and use up what’s in your home first.
If you find yourself not having a ton of time for meal planning or just the thought of it overwhelms you, check out the $5 Meal Plan which can save you a ton of money and time!
Like to buy in bulk? That’s fine because lots of dishes freeze well, and this makes for easy dinners when you don’t have time to cook.
You could also eat dinner leftovers for lunch the following day so make larger portions with this in mind. Plan your meals with this in mind to make the most of your grocery budget.
If you want to find out more about freezer meals you should really check out MyFreezeEasy where Erin the $5 Dinner Mom shows you how you can create 10 freezer meals in under 1 hour!
Another easy way to save money is to look at your energy costs.
If your home is not well insulated, you’re probably wasting lots of money on home heating and cooling. Insulating will cost some money upfront, but it will pay for itself quickly.
If you have drafts around windows and doors, weather-stripping can help maintain the temperature of your home. Some energy companies offer incentives and free home energy assessments that you can take advantage of so make sure you look into all of the options in your area to see what you can get for free or at a steep discount.
Most households waste an unbelievable amount of electricity. We can prevent this in part by using energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs.
Turn lights, televisions, computers and other devices off when you’re not using them, and open blinds to take advantage of the sun’s light during the day. These seem like common sense things to do, but we often get comfortable and tend not to pay attention to the little money wasters.
Get more tips on saving money on your electric bill.
Do It or Make It Yourself
Any time you pay someone else to do something that you could do yourself, you’re spending money unnecessarily. This can apply to little things like buying coffee instead of making your own, as well as to larger expenses such as home or auto repairs.
Many of us buy coffee or a soft drink from a convenience store or coffee shop on the way to work in the morning. This can add up over time.
Instead, make your coffee, or buy soda in 2-liter bottles and pour some into a smaller bottle or cup to take with you.
The same applies to lunches. Instead of springing for fast food, take a sandwich or something microwavable to work. Start slowly by maybe taking lunch three days a week so that you won’t feel like you are depriving yourself. After a while, you won’t even miss going out to eat.
While we’re not all good at all types of repairs and maintenance, most of us can do some things for ourselves. Maybe you could change your oil instead of paying someone else to do it. You can check out the article I wrote on DIY Car Maintenance. You may think $30 to $60 isn’t a lot every few months but it adds up and not to mention all the other things the car shop will try and sell you while you’re there.
If the walls need painting or minor repairs, consider getting friends and family to help you do it instead of hiring a painter. Things like these can save us a noticeable amount of money right away. Keep in mind you rather be safe than sorry so when dealing with gas or electric and other potentially dangerous home repairs you will want to hire a professional.
Do you have your clothes dry cleaned? Consider dry cleaning them yourself at home using the tips I suggest in how to wash dry clean only clothes at home.
Take Advantage of Free Events or Stay In
If you find after going over your budget that you’re spending too much on activities then this is an easy lifestyle change to make to save money.
There are so many free and fun family activities that won’t break the bank. Try doing a game night or movie night at home. Opt to do girls night in or a potluck BBQ.
Be creative! There are so many ways to save when it comes to entertainment so just start making small adjustments and you will save a lot of money.
Use Coupons and Coupon Apps
Use coupons whenever you can for things you’re buying anyway. Coupons are an easy way to save money quickly. There are many coupon apps out there that take very little work to use and can save you hundreds over time.
New to couponing? You can check out my free coupon e-course to learn more about using coupons.
My favorite apps involve just simply scanning your grocery receipts! See my article on how to turn your receipts into money!
When you add up the savings, little things can make a big difference in the budget. So take a close look at your budget and see what small expenses are lurking there. If you can eliminate or reduce them, it could positively impact your bottom line.
What little expenses have you discovered taking up money in your budget? Is there anything you can cut out?
If making cuts scares you then set a nice reward at the end of the month, quarter or year. Put a portion of the money you save into a vacation or fun money account. Whatever you can do to get yourself motivated will only be good because its money you weren’t saving to begin with.