We have all been there. We go into the store for a few items and leave the store with a buggy full! What happened? Did you really need all of that stuff? Whether you are barely making it every month or you just want to save a whole paycheck every month, these kind of shopping trips can really kill your budget. So how do you prevent it from happening? I have a list of 9 fool proof ways to cut spending. Stick to these and you are sure to save some serious cash.
1. Planning is going to be your best friend.
And if you are the wild child who doesn’t like planning, you need to make it think you like it. Nurture that relationship. It is THE way that you are going to save money.
So, I know what you are thinking. What am I planning for? The answer: EVERYTHING! Use the envelope system to plan for irregular expenses and staying on budget, use a meal plan to avoid the drive-thru pit-fall of not planning, and plan a monthly budget to stay the course. Big or small purchase, no matter, just plan it!
There are a lot of great services out there that can help you make a meal plan, blogs that do the same, or you can follow my simple trick for easy meal planning.
2. Make a list.
This one coincides with the last tip. You will need to make a list of everything that you need to purchase. I always have a running list for Costco, Target, and the grocery store. If I am In need of anything, I write it down so I don’t forget. Grocery list is a given to most people. But you can also make a toiletry list, a list of clothing you need/want, items for the house, and more. Making a list will help you stay focused on the items that you do need and not all of the shiny objects that you like!
Don’t forget to ONLY buy what is on the list!
3. Do not go into the shop unless you need something (and that something is on a well curated list!).
Gone are the casual shopping mall strolls of our teenage years. It is far too tempting to see an item that we like and stay on budget. The cure is simple, just don’t go in the shops! Matter of fact, do not go near them unless you have a list!
4. Cut down on the amount of times you visit necessary stores.
This one actually took me a while to figure out myself. I was still going to Target 2-3 times a month and not really sure why I was spending so much money. Now I go to Costco (a discount bulk buying store) and Target once monthly and the grocery store is a weekly trip. I cannot remember the last time I visited a mall as I just don’t buy mainstream/big box store clothing.
5. Know your budget like the back of your hand.
This one is so key to your survival on a budget. You will need to know exactly what you have left to spend for the month every time you go to spend money. You need to revisit it every other day for a while until you get use to it, then once weekly. This is where the envelope system is super helpful. You can just look in your envelopes when you need to purchase. Not enough in the envelope? Wait until next month!
6. Do not accept invitations to events that will for sure cost you money.
Let me just be really hard and real for a minute. If you invite me to a birthday party and give me a list of what your kid likes, I will not come. I am not a big believer in consumerism (go figure), but also, I just don’t have the money to be spending on your kid.
A gathering of gal pals at a restaurant at dinner time? Nope, sorry. I have had to turn down so many of these because I didn’t have any fun money left over. Suggest a later or earlier time if you really want to go. Then order water. Yep, you are the boring one, but you will make it up with your smile ?
7. Pay for everything with cash!
The envelope system is seriously life changing. Once you get on it, you will never want to turn back. Check out my envelope system here.
8. Shop sales and use coupons.
I mean this, but I rarely do grocery coupons for myself. Since we eat mostly REAL foods (not processed/boxed) and mostly organic there are not many coupon options for us. Fortunately, you can buy almost anything at a discount.
9. Give yourself a grace period for big purchases.
Sure, you know that you need a new couch. And you have saved like crazy! But, you run across a couch that you LOVE and it is a few dollars more than you saved OR you LOVE the price, but you don’t LOVE the couch. Sit on it…not literally. Wait a day or two and think it over. The buying endorphins will have time to wear off and you can make a logical decision.
How about those 9 fool proof ways to cut spending? They seem doable, right? Just add one at a time to your routine and I assure you that you will be noticing a big difference in your spending in no time!
Do you already do any of these in order to save money?