4 Things I’m Doing to Save Money Right Now

save moneyMy income has slowly increased over the last three or four months. So, you’d think that I’d have saved those extra few hundred dollars, right? Wrong. I haven’t actually put any money in my savings account for a while.

I feel like something has come up every single month. In February there was a death in the family so I ate out all month long. In April I threw an Easter party for the kids in my family. And last weekend we celebrated Ava’s fourth birthday.

Plus, we’ve been eating out on a pretty consistent basis – which is in turn eating up all of my extra money!

In an effort to save more money (and possibly save for a house) I’ve got to get my bad habits back under control. Here are the 4 things I’m doing right now to save money.

# 1 – No More Eating Out

I’m going cold turkey. I’m not a foodie. I don’t care about food – so why am I spending all of my money on takeout? For convenience.

It’s no secret that I’m no Betty Croker. I don’t enjoy cooking (I don’t hate it I just don’t enjoy it.) Plus I really hate cleaning up the mess that cooking creates. (With a 4 and 5 year old I have enough messes to clean up.)So I’ve been looking for solutions to my food problem.

Here’s what I’m doing:

  • Cooking similar items in batches. For example, I just made a pudding pie and cheesecake for deserts for the next few days and a big batch of banana nut muffins for breakfasts over the next several days.
  • Using my crockpot like there’s no tomorrow. I love crockpots. They make my life so much easier. And since I still have a freezer full of beef there’s no excuse for me not using one. I’ve been assembling freezer bags full of crockpot meals. For instance putting a roast, marinade, and vegetables in a freezer bag together and then just dumping it in the crockpot in the morning.
  • Buying big bags of chicken. Chicken is pretty easy to cook and can be used for so many different types of meals. (This is one of our favorite ways to prepare it.) Plus three pound bags of chicken for around $8 is relatively cheap.
  • Sandwiches for Lunch – Not every meal needs to be three courses. Am I right? I stocked up on lunch meat and cheese. Now lunches are sandwiches and either sliced apples or bananas on the side.
  • Buying Two Liters of Pop – While this isn’t directly related to eating out, it is a problem I have. If I don’t drink something with caffeine in it in the morning I get a headache. I don’t drink any coffee but I drink my fair share of Pepsi. The problem seems to be that when I buy cans I end up dumping out a lot of wasted pop. I converted to two liters about a month ago and it’s definitely been saving me money and also limiting my Pepsi intake.

I’m also planning a trip to Sam’s Club this weekend so that I can stock up on the stuff we use on a regular basis. No eating out this month – at all. This is my number one mission!!

# 2 – Going Back to the Library

Ever since I purchased my Kindle more than a year ago I’ve been spending far too much money on eBooks. When I see something that I want to read it’s just so easy to hop over to Amazon, buy it, and dig in.

I haven’t visited the library in almost two years.

The next time I get the urge to buy a book I’m going to visit the library’s website and see if they have it for download. If they don’t, I’m going to make myself wait at least 24 hours before making the purchase.

When I make myself wait to make purchases I usually talk myself out of it. No more eBooks.

# 3 – Paying Off My Only Loan this Month

When I bought the trailer in 2012 I took out a $10,000 loan to do so. I got the loan on a four year term and my payment was $226 a month.

About a month and a half ago my dad gave me $6,000 after receiving an inheritance. I applied that entire amount to the loan. Now I’m down to my last payment.

I just sent in the payment for this month. I need to send in around $200 more and this loan will be gone forever. And I’ll have an extra $226 floating around in my budget.

Hallelujah!

# 4 – Selling All My Junk

While this last one isn’t about cutting expenses it is about adding to my savings account. You see, I’ve been saving yard sale items for the past two years and my pile has become quite massive.

I’ve got bikes, toddler beds, home décor, toys, coffee makers, shoes, and a mountain of clothes the girls have outgrown to get rid of.

Instead of having a regular yard sale, which I hate doing, I’m going to list all of my items on the Facebook Yard Sale. If that doesn’t work I may talk my mom into having a joint yard sale with me so that I have someone to talk to all weekend.

If I can sell all my junk I think I can make at least $300.

Your Turn

Those are my plans to get my savings rate back up there again. Give me some more ideas please…….

What are you doing right now to save money?

Comments

  1. says

    Seems like May is when every happens. We have been busy with mother’s day, birthdays, family events, graduations and wedding planning. This mean our budget is out for this month. Eating out, buying gifts, hosting birthday parties for our parents has taken a toll not only financially but emotionally. I don’t recall being so busy! I think next month I’m going to do a financial challenge to keep me focus again and I can save more. Did I mention I have picked up babysitting jobs and fiance has been working overtime but because of everything going on this month we are just spending like maniacs! Come on June!! :)

    • Alexa says

      I know the feeling! I have one more birthday party coming up in the beginning of June and then I’ll be good until September! It’s awesome that you’re earning extra money though – hopefully it’ll pay off next month. I’m kind of trying to do a no spend challenge myself!

  2. says

    I’m going to try to save more money by simply doing more activities around the house with the kids. Now that the weather is getting nicer, we really don’t need to go to a mall or anywhere like that for something to do. We can go play tennis or throw a basketball around in the driveway.

    • Alexa says

      I’ve been outside a lot since the weather has gotten nicer. I bought both of the girls a new bike so right now all they care about is riding.

  3. says

    I’m doing a lot of these things, though our Student Loans are a big drag on our finances. With two incomes it makes them a little more manageable but it’s tough with so much going out the door each month. With that being said I save money by bringing a lunch to work instead of buying one, always eating breakfast at home, and getting groceries using coupons and taking advantage of deals (i.e. buying the fruit/veggies that is on sale that week instead of always just choosing which fruit/veggies I want).

    • Alexa says

      I need to start using coupons and looking for deals more too. I actually have a family member who gives me a huge stack of coupons every time I see her but they’ve been sitting on my desk untouched forever.

  4. says

    I am so busy right now that I barely have any time left for reading. I too used to spend too much on my Kindle books and completely ignored the library. Now that the good weather is here, I decided to cancel my gym membership and I started jogging, twice per day so far and doing great. A great money saver!

    • Alexa says

      I’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors too which has cut into my reading time. My problem with the Kindle is every time I hear of a book I might be interested in I get the urge to go and buy it regardless of whether I have time to read it or not. It’s kind of like a bad addiction.

  5. says

    I just got a Kindle and since I have Prime I get to borrow certain books for free. I’m making myself choose books from the free list!

    • Alexa says

      I do that sometimes too. The thing that I hate though is only being able to borrow one book per month. Luckily there are tons of free books though.

  6. says

    I agree dinner doesn’t have to be 3 courses. Sometimes we do, what we call a picnic, cheese and crackers and all kinds of leftovers. We cut back on meat to a couple times a week and that saves lots. Plus I get more veggies in my kid. I am planning for a surprise party for my mom so pinterest has been great with homemade decorations, and my daughter gets involved so it becomes an activity.

    • Alexa says

      I have just now got into Pinterest and I am finding all kinds of crockpot ideas to try out. My girls love having picnics too. They’re pretty happy just to take a PB&J and eat it on the back porch.

  7. says

    Eating out is a biggie for us. It’s so easy to just say screw cooking and go to a restaurant. But that’s not good for our budget or our waistlines, so it’s definitely something we need to work on!

    • Alexa says

      Yeah I’m definitely the type to say screw cooking. But again it’s been terrible for my budget so I’ve gotta overcome my laziness in that area.

  8. scooby says

    I don’t have much to add but Love when you talk about your finances. I don’t have children so i rarely read the kids stuff but i make about similar to what you make and have a lot of similar goals so i really enjoy seeing how you are doing financially. so thank you for that! You actually are in a better position than me though. Where i live housing is expensive and on my income i can’t afford much. I envy you having your own place and being able to live so cheaply with it!

    i think you have some great ides for saving especially the food. eating out costs a fortune! I think going to a cash system helps too a lot! i LOVE my credit card i pay off monthly but i always spend more than with cash. :(

    • Alexa says

      Thanks for that! I’ve thought about talking more about my finances, like my new budget and goals but I never know if people like hearing about that kind of stuff or not. Personally, I do like to read about peoples budgets – especially when they make close to what I do so maybe I’ll post a little more details about where I’m at now in the near future!

      • Liz S says

        I love love love hearing about your finances, and that is actually what drew me to your blog in the first place…it was a long time ago when I saw your sidebars that had your savings goals and whatnot. I also have 2 young children, so I do love hearing stories about frugal things you are doing with them, or frugal gift ideas for them. But seeing a breakdown of your income and where every cent is going is definitely the funnest post to read!

  9. says

    Eating out and food in general is my vice. We do cook a lot at home and I really enjoy being in the kitchen and trying new things, but I also enjoy taking the family out to eat. A nice random Sunday morning breakfast at the diner or a date-night dinner out is important to us. But there has to be a balance and you can’t go overboard.

    PS – a belated Happy Birthday to Ava! My son is 4 1/2, it’s such a fun age!

    • Alexa says

      Eating out is my vice too. Not because I enjoy eating out it’s just because I don’t fee like cooking most of them. That sounds kind of bad but it’s the truth.

      Thanks for the birthday wishes!

  10. says

    Good job on the not eating out goal! I have had NO motivation to cook lately but I really need to. I think my problem is I need to cook on Sunday for the week which will then enable me to get through the weekdays without having to plan dinner.

    • Alexa says

      I think I need to batch cook more often too. Every once in a while I get in the mood to cook so making a weeks worth of meals when I’m in the mood would definitely help.

  11. Brian @ Luke1428 says

    That’s great you are so close to paying off that loan! I know that’s going to feel great, especially to have that extra breathing room in the budget…as long as it doesn’t go to eating out. :)

    • Alexa says

      Yes – exactly! The extra money each month will be awesome as long as I don’t blow it on something meaningless!

  12. says

    I totally get the Kindle making you buy more. I actually stopped using my Nook altogether because of how easy it was for me to click on over to the store and buy it! Now I use the library for everything. If there’s an eBook, I download it on my iPad where it is harder for me to find the purchase link.

    • Alexa says

      I’m glad I’m not the only one with the eBook problem. When you have ereader it is just way too easy to click on over and buy something – especially when boredom kicks in. I might have to retire my Kindle to my kids so that I’m not tempted to buy more books.

  13. says

    I wish you all the best on your goals to save money, Alexa. Having followed your blog for sometime now, (which looks new, by the way) I have no doubt that your plans pan out well. I put away $10 a month towards my savings (this is a significant amount here, trust me ;) ) and plan to add $10 more starting next month. I wish myself luck. :) Wish with me?

  14. Christie says

    Paying off the loan ?! Party on!
    Can’t wait to read about the facebook yardsale thing. I’ve looked in to it a bit and haven’t found an active local group … yet.
    Lunch: sandwitches or canned soup and crackers or yogurt and granola …. PB&J is just so quick! ;)
    ~ Christie

  15. says

    Congrats on the last loan payment! I’ve been using our library to download ebooks for a while now. It’s surprising how many they have available. Good luck with your goals!

  16. says

    Eating out has always been terrible for our budget. I do it for the same reason as you do- convenience. It’s okay in moderation but I have to be careful not to take it too far.

  17. says

    Unfortunately I can’t really help you with the eating out thing. I suffer from it too! It’s just so convenient. When you’re hustling who wants to cook, eat, AND do dishes? Blah. I struggle with that every month. Can you save money on gas? Entertainment? Go to the library and get movies and books. Do a food swap or clothing swap with people in your neighborhood, Congrats on growing your income. You are such an inspiration! And Happy Birthday to Ava.

  18. says

    Congrats on the loan payoff! I eat out and drink too much coke, but I need the caffeine like you do. Wen you sell your junk, it’s a great feeling. Getting the money and getting rid of it.

  19. says

    We are totally craigslisting it up this summer, too. I have issues with pop lately, too. I don’t get headaches, but I don’t sleep enough and I need the caffeine to make it through the day. Not a coffee person either. One thing that’s really helped us is not spending coins when we get change. It sounds silly, but we put them in a jar and the savings adds up to large amounts surprisingly quickly.

  20. says

    Single Moms Income,

    I like it! The going out to eat is a killer = convenient, but can be unhealthy and expensive at times. The crockpot method is awesome – setting it and forget it. Plus = the taste of what you end up making is usually pretty darn good. This will save you the most I am sure.

    I recently have tried to ween off my coffee kick, which usually I just brew it at home, make espresso or use a K-Cup, but I think if I slow my intake down, that I should save money. Additionally, we have what we call – Frugal Weekends – where a group of us will do a social night where we either have bonfires or stay in and watch a movie = something that usually costs a very minimum amount to do, but a great way to entertain, bring people together and have fun. I am going to institute a new idea in my house where it’ll be Go Green once per month = no a/c, no electronics, nothing plugged in (except refrigerator) and reduce our usage of water for the day. I think this gets you out of the house, you go for a walk, a run, you talk to people more effectively this way – as it becomes alarming how often we think we need our electronics.

    Nice article, good luck to saving $! And congrats on paying that loan off.

    -Lanny

  21. says

    I recently have tried few of these above tips like cooking at home and buying in bulk using coupons. Though everything is going well, sometimes I feel the urge to indulge. Buying online too helps you compare prices of stores so you can purchase the cheapest option. As you have mentioned magazine subscriptions aren’t necessary. You can read them at the library or borrow them from a friend.

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