Time to tackle that monthly budget! I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for ways to help me save money. There are so many little changes you could make or small expenses you could get rid of that all add up to make a huge difference in your bank account. You’re going to love these 11 surefire ways to save money each and every month!
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Create a Budget and Monitor Spending
When it comes to tackling your monthly spending and saving money, I think the first step is always to make a monthly budget. If you’ve never made a budget for yourself, the first step is to go back through your expenses over the last few months and write down what you’ve been spending monthly for each category (do this for set expenses, such as rent/mortgage, insurance, etc. as well as for variable expenses such as groceries and eating out).
Figuring out what you’ve been spending gives you a good starting point for setting a monthly budget for each category. It can also be a bit of a wake-up call if you’ve been spending way too much in one area than you should be.
I just keep a spreadsheet of all my monthly expenses and what I hope to spend in each category, then I add columns for each month so I can fill in my actual expenses and see how close I’m getting to my goal.
Monitoring your spending regularly allows you to keep track of how you’re doing and whether you’re reaching your budget goals. If not, it’s time to reevaluate!
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Pay Yourself First
For a lot of people, putting money in savings is something they do if they have money left over at the end of the money. However, for years now, I’ve made sure it’s the first thing that happens when I get paid each month. On the first of every month, I have an automatic withdrawal from my checking account to my savings account. That way, no matter what other financial priorities pop up throughout the month, saving is always priority #1 and not something I have to think about.
I still try to move more money to savings at the end of the month if I can, but that withdrawal on the first of the month is non-negotiable.
It’s time to stop assuming that the first price you see is the best one you’re going to find. This applies to one-off purchases such as home goods and clothing. But even more so, it applies to monthly expenses such as internet, insurance, and your cell phone. Take some time to shop around and find a lower price, and consider switching companies. If you really love your current provider, you might be able to use those results to negotiate and get them to lower your monthly price!
Get Rid of Cable TV
Cable tends to be one of those things that most of us just factor into our money spending without giving much thought to just how much of a necessity it is. I’ve always had cable in the past, but when I got divorced last year and moved out on my own (for the first time), I needed to make some serious changes to my budget. I decided that cable was one of those monthly expenses that would have to go, and I honestly haven’t missed it since!
I have both Netflix and Hulu (which allows me to watch the new episodes of the same shows I would be watching on cable), so I’m still able to watch all the shows I want. I think most people would be surprised how easy cable is to give up once you decide to do it!
Sign Up For Ebates
For those of you who don’t know what Ebates is, it’s just a site that gives you cash back for online purchases. When you’re going to buy something online, search for the site on Ebates, and they’ll send you to the website you want to shop on, with the cash back offer activated. It’s not going to make you a ton of money, usually just a few percent here and there depending on the retailer. But if you’re using it for items that you’re purchasing anyways, then that little extra money is a great perk!
Even easier than going through their website, I’ve started using their Google Chrome extension so anytime I go to purchase something online, a button pops up in the upper right-hand corner allowing me to activate the cash back offer.
Hint: If you sign up through this link, you’ll get an extra $10 cash back after spending $25!
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Look For Coupons and Shop Sales
I almost never make a purchase without checking to see if I can get a better deal. It’s super easy to find coupons online or wait for an item to go on sale. I also use Ibotta, which is a free app that gives you cash back for buying grocery items. All you do is snap a picture of your receipt. I’ve gotten as much as a few dollars back for certain items, so it’s definitely worth the amount of time it takes to upload a picture of your receipt.
Sites like RetailMeNot offer coupon codes for just about every retailer. You can also use retailer-specific apps such as the Cartwheel app for Target to find coupons for items at their store.
Cut Back on Eating Out
When it comes to expenses that add up quickly, eating out is one of the biggest offenders, but also one of the most avoidable. I used to have a really bad habit of ordering takeout or swinging through a fast food drive through after work if I was tired and didn’t feel like cooking. And that expense added up quickly.
Now I allow myself to eat out, but as a planned ahead treat when I’m meeting up with a friend rather than as a backup plan when I don’t feel like cooking. It’s more enjoyable because it’s more of a treat, and I also save a ton of money.
I also have almost completely eliminated buying lunch. I bring my lunch to work every day, except on the rare occasion (maybe once per month) that I go out with coworkers. It may seem like a small expense but if you’re buying lunch daily, it adds up super quickly.
For most of us, groceries make up one of the biggest variable expenses in our budget every month. And if you’re not careful, it’s easy to spend a ton of money grocery shopping! Planning my meals each week and being a bit more conscious of what I’m buying has made a big difference in my grocery bill. Every week I plan out everything I’m going to be eating that week, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. I always aim to make meals that I can have plenty of leftovers for later in the week or ingredients I can easily reuse in a different meal. Planning my meals ahead of time also gives me a chance to see what’s on sale at the nearby grocery stores and what items I can find a coupon for.
When I’m planning my meals, I make sure to plan a couple of super easy no-effort dinners that I can eat on the nights I don’t feel like cooking. This helps make sure I don’t order something instead!
Check out this meal planning notepad to help you write your weekly meal plan!
Cancel Unused Subscriptions
One of the benefits of monitoring your spending more closely is realizing the things you’re spending money on each month that aren’t necessary. With all of the monthly subscriptions available these days, there’s a good chance there’s one or two that you’re paying for each month but aren’t using, and therefore could eliminate that monthly cost.
It might be a streaming service that you don’t really use, or a gym membership when you never find yourself going to the gym. It might also be for a monthly subscription box that you still receive but aren’t really enjoying anymore. Whatever it is, eliminating the subscriptions you don’t really need can be a great way to save money every month!
Cut Unnecessary Expenses
I think it’s safe to say that just about all of us (or most of us) are spending money on things each month that we really don’t need to be. For a lot of people, this is a daily cup of coffee that’s costing them $5, rather than just making coffee at home.
I’m not saying you need to cut these expenses entirely. We’ve all got something we spend unnecessary money on that we’ve decided we’re okay with. But cutting back just a little can make a big difference. For instance, cutting back to 2 trips to Starbucks per week instead of 7 could save you $25 per week – that’s $1,300 per year!
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Use a Credit Card
Many people have one of two relationships with credit cards. Either they use them to excess, digging themselves into a credit card hole they then can’t get out of, or they avoid credit cards like the plague to avoid a situation like the one I just described. But there is an alternative!
As long as you’re diligent about paying off your credit card monthly (and using it for purchases you would have been making regardless), then using credit cards can help you save some money. There are so many credit cards out there that offer cash back, meaning you get a certain percentage back based on how much you’re spending. Mine offers a few percent cash back on all purchases, and that money goes to either pay my credit card bill or put right back into my bank account!
There are so many ways to save money every month and these are just a few. Give these money saving tips a shot and see how much money you can save each month!
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