I love to daydream. Don’t you? Let’s have fun. What would YOU do if you had $12,000? Would it be time to take that vacation? Or perhaps you would finally be able to really tackle your debt. It might even be the perfect way for you to build up your emergency fund.
Whatever you would do with it really doesn’t matter at this moment as you don’t have that kind of money just lying around….or do you? What would you say if I told you that there are ten changes you can make to your lifestyle which could actually turn that dream into reality? It is true!
I’ve put together a list of my TOP TEN tips to help you drastically reduce your spending. I’ve even included ideas to bring in a little more money to beef up your budget. There may be some sacrifices to make, but in the end, it will be worth it. You just have to be willing to commit to the changes and follow through.
1. Cut cable
This is one area that can be simple to cut. The best idea is to cut cable completely. This may be scary, especially if you have some favorite television series to watch. You can actually cut out service from your cable company and replace it with online streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, etc. Read more about How to Cut Cable.
Monthly Cable Cost: $100
Replace with streaming services: $30
Monthly savings: $70
Annual savings: $840
2. Use rebate sites/services
If using coupons is not your thing, you can still save/get paid when you shop at your favorite store. Sites such as Coupons.com, Checkout 51, and Ibotta will pay you when you make purchases at your favorite store. Just review their site and select the offers you want to claim. Once you purchase, snap a photo of your receipt and upload it to the site and they will give you cash back.
Average monthly savings: $20
Annual savings: $240
3. Eat at home
The average family eats dinner out 3 times per week. The average cost is around $10 per person, per meal. That makes the cost around $40 per meal for a family of 4 — or as much as $120 a week!!
I’m not saying to completely cut it out (but you can if you want to really save). Even by dining out just once a week or once every two weeks and learning about meal planning and cooking at home, you can save a LOT of money!!
Average monthly savings (based upon family of 4): $320
Annual savings: $3,840
4. Learn to coupon
This is the reason so many of you are on my website. You know we help people with finding the in-store deals and how to save on your groceries. You’ll want to read all of our helpful articles on couponing.
If you learn how to be wise and save on every single visit to your store, you really can rack up the savings. For our family, we usually save around 35% each week at the store (which may be very conservative, as we don’t have double coupon offers here). For us, that is around $45 a week! Your total may be much higher than ours (which means even more savings)!
Average monthly savings (35% of $130): $180
Annual savings: $2,160
5. Visit Aldi
This is one of my absolute FAVORITE saving tips! I love shopping at Aldi and find that when I do, I easily save $50 on every trip! There are still some items we can’t find at our store, so I do have to supplement at the grocery store. However, I get the majority of our items at Aldi now and it has a dramatic impact on our monthly budget. Read How to Shop at Aldi to learn more!
Average monthly savings: $200
Annual savings: $2,400
6. Shop using discounted gift cards
This is a little known secret. The simplest way to put money back into your own pocket is to save money before you even walk out the door! You can purchase discounted gift cards to use at grocery stores, restaurants and even your favorite discount store such as Target!
One of the best places to find discounted gift cards is Ebay. You can find them for just about everything and everything you need! Most cards are at least $5 off, so buying even just two a month puts $10 back into your pocket.
Average monthly savings: $10
Annual savings: $240
7. Skip the speciality services
This one may be scary to think about, but it can very easily save you a LOT of money every year.
Take a look at the people or place you pay to do different things you might be able to do yourself. Perhaps you could mow your own lawn. You may also want to do research and watch videos to make simple repairs around the house yourself (we did this and instantly save $200 on a service call).
You can even go as far as to barter or swap time with others. If you need a date night, why not talk to a friend and take turns watching one another’s kids. If your child needs help in school, maybe you could barter with a teacher to get tutoring and you might be able to do yardwork or housecleaning to help them out. The ideas are endless, as is the savings.
Average monthly savings: $100
Annual savings; $1,200
8. Supplement your income
You might want to take a look at what more you could do to bring in more money. You might find a sales company and host parties (referred to as multi-level marketing). Perhaps you are great at photography and could sell photography services for parties or other events. You can check out our list of 75+ ways that you can make money for awesome ideas.
If you find you are really struggling to make ends meet, it may be time to pick up an additional weekend or evening job. That doesn’t mean it will be permanent, but it might help bridge that missing income gap for sometime, until you are back on your feet.
If you find that working from home or an additional job aren’t for you, check out different ways that you can make money online using sites such as Swagbucks or even Inbox Dollars. You can even sign up at Harris Poll and earn rewards for taking surveys.
Average monthly income: $50
Annual income: $600
9. Skip Entertainment
Sure, heading out to see a movie is fun. However, if you have a family of four and visit the theater even once a month, that will run $28 – $35 (depending up where you live). If you happen to pick up snacks as the concession stand, that can tack on another $20! Why not stop by Redbox and get TWO movies for $3. Pick up a few snacks for $10, which you can make at home.
You can even skip that idea completely and find things which are free. Set up a family game night. Go for a hiking adventure. Create your own video game tournament. Sometimes, the best ideas in life are free! You just have to think outside of the box (or sometimes, go to Pinterest to get some inspiration).
Average monthly savings: $50
Annual savings: $600
10. Try a no spend month
This can be a tough one for many. When I say no spend, that doesn’t mean groceries. That means dinners out. Runs to the coffee shop. Stops for snacks. Skipping the latest sale on kids clothes. It means purchasing only food and fuel. That’s it.
This would be a good time to find other things to do. Set up some family events. Make coffee and snacks at home and take them with you. You can declutter and organize your house (check out 21 Days to a More Organized Home). You will just need to redirect your desire to go to the store into doing something else!
This is something you could try to do 3 – 4 times a year. As an added incentive, you might set a goal for yourself to use a bit of your savings!! That always works! 😉
Average monthly savings: $150 – $200
Annual savings: $600 – $800
I’m not sure if you have added up the savings, but here is how much you could potentially save in just ONE year!!
|Eat at Home
|Shop at Aldi
|Skip Special Services
|No spend month
One final way to save money – and build your savings account – is to use automated savings through your bank. Just round up every single purchase to the next dollar and move the extra into savings. For example, when you spend $9.07, transfer $0.93 into savings.
Since it can be a hassle for you to do this on your own, you may want to find a bank that does this for you automatically. If your bank doesn’t you may want to look into Chime.
They round every purchase and transfer the extra into savings for you.
So there you’ve got it! Easy things you can do to save $12,000 (or more) in just ONE year! What else do you have to this to our list?