I know it sounds crazy, and it may or may not be related to my obsession with office supplies, but we try to evaluate our finances at least a few times a year. It gives us a good idea of where we are on our journey to financial freedom. But I didn’t always know how to save money. I had to learn the hard way!
We have to save money to accomplish our goals. And we have big goals, yall. We want to completely convert a van into a tiny home on wheels. Then we want to quit our jobs to travel full time for at least a year. That takes a lot of savings! Like $20,000+ worth of savings!
If someone had told me 4 years ago that I would be trying to save $20,000 today, I would have rolled my eyes. I have not always been financially intelligent, but I have learned some amazing tips on how to save money along the way!
In fact, my husband and I have been saving for van life for around 6 months. During this time we have purchased our van, started the conversion, all the while reaching the halfway mark to saving $20,000!
I am incredibly excited about our success thus far, and I want you to know that you can do it too! I have created a list of tricks we use to save money so that you can fill your bank account and crush that debt too! Let’s go!
Before you learn how to save money you will need to create a budget. To do this you will need to understand how much money is coming in, compared to how much money is going out.
Start with the basics. Calculate how much you make every month. Include your partner’s income if they are helping with bills. Make sure to account for commissions or bonuses the best you can.
Now that you have a number in mind, you need to add up all of your expenses. This includes your rent/mortgage, insurance, wifi, phone, electric, water, gas, Spotify, Netflix, etc, etc. Account for every bill you pay.
Once this is done think about your average day and how much you spend. This includes gas, eating out for lunch or dinner, your morning coffee, or snacks at the vending machine. Add this number to the total of your bill.
Now you have a firm idea of how much you make and how much you pay. If your bill’s number is higher than your income, you should consider making some adjustments.
Check our free budget worksheet here!
Declutter Your Expenses
One way to adjust your budget is to decide which monthly bills you can reduce or eliminate. If you haven’t used your Netflix account in 2 years, you don’t need to be paying for it every month. The same goes for your Audible membership and the Planet Fitness you haven’t seen in six months.
If your TV bill has crept up year after year, call them and tell them you are considering switching to another provider. Nine times out of ten they will reduce your price.
Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs and turn off the tap when you brush your teeth. It will reduce your monthly utility bills and help the planet.
If you work through your expenses and decrease everywhere you can, your budget will begin to balance. This is the easiest tip because you are getting rid of things you don’t need or use in the first place, but saving isn’t always easy. You’re learning how to save money already!
Abide by the 30 Day Rule
This one will be hard for those who LOVE instant gratification. If you are considering making a sizeable purchase, ( anywhere from $50-$100+) wait 30 days before you do it.
I know what you’re thinking.
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN WAIT 30 DAYS? THAT INCREDIBLE COACH BAG WILL BE GONE BY THEN?!?!?”
I know, but trust me. If you give yourself time to really think it through, you end up spending less money and saving more.
If you still want to make the purchase at the end of the 30 days, that means it will add value to your life, and by all means, get that Coach purse.
If you decide otherwise, then you can put that money in your savings account to help you reach your goal.
Restructure Your Banking
Speaking of bank accounts, you might want to shop around for a higher-yielding savings account. This simply means that you get the highest amount of interest possible for your savings.
While you are in the process of situating your savings account, consider opening a checking account for your bills. When you have an account dedicated to expenses, you can calculate how much of your paycheck goes towards bills. Then, transfer that amount when you’re paid.
Plus, it’s super easy to set up auto-pay this way and never miss a payment!
Improve Your Credit Score
This is more of an investment than an instant money saver, but it’s just as important. Having a good credit score ensures that you save as much on interest as possible when it comes to financing purchases.
Think of all the money you will save on interest with a good credit score when buying a car or a new house. Some companies even wave their deposit if your score is high enough.
An easy way to build your credit score would be to change some of your bills to your credit card on autopay and pay it off every month.
If you do this you can put your credit card in a drawer and never be tempted by an impulse purchase again!
Never missing a payment is crucial to your credit score, but it’s also important to keep an eye on how much of your limit you are using. The rule of thumb is to only use 30% of your limit a month.
Meal Prep & Make a Shopping List
Another of my favorite tips on how to save money is to meal prep. Plan out a week’s worth of meals and make a shopping list. Account for sides and snacks, of course, and stick to your list!
This one really helped us save. Especially since I tend to have a wandering eye in the cookie aisle. It’s crazy how unexpected items can add up at the check out counter and how much damage they can do to your bottom line.
Another advantage of meal prepping is that you won’t have to worry about buying your lunch. You can typically prep a meal for upwards of half the cost of a lunch at a restaurant. Plus, it’s super easy to grab something from the fridge and go!
The same goes for your morning coffee! Learn how to make what you like, and you will save hundreds by the end of the year!
To boost meal prepping money saving power, clip coupons for your local grocery store or shop at a farmers market!
Sell What You Don’t Need
I am super guilty of having things lying around the house that I never use or even think about. I probably have stuff in my closet that hasn’t seen the light of day in two years.
The easiest and most profitable way to deal with this is to sell all of that clutter. Do you know the saying “Another man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? That’s especially true with the Facebook market place!
Get on there and list your stuff for a reasonable price. If you’re anything like me, the items will add up quickly and before you know it, you’ve made some extra cash to put back.
Either way, you are decluttering and making money. That’s what I call killing two birds with one stone.
Collect Extra Change
Okay, I know. Who carries around change anymore? My husband. That’s who. I am always finding it the dryer, on the shelf next to the bathroom, on his nightstand, and even my kitchen counter.
Change is one of those things that seem to appear, disappear, and then reappear somewhere totally different. Why not put it back and see how much you can collect? I know change isn’t much, but it does add up.
Once when I was serving tables as a waitress, I saved up for a whole vacation by hoarding all of my quarters!
You can even decorate a jar with a reminder of your goal for the change you find lying around! That penny that you found on heads at the gas stations counts too!
Yes, I know that I am literally encouraging you to penny pinch, but you’ll thank me later!
Sometimes I get this crazy urge to buy myself a new outfit. I think this happens to every woman once and a while. I used to skip on over to Kholes or Marshalls to find the perfect look, but that was really eating away at the number in my bank account.
I work hard to control those impulses, but sometimes a girl wants what a girl wants. Now I head over to my local Good Will or Providence to find a new look!
I know some people can’t see themselves doing this, but you can find some really good deals out there, y’all. I’m talking $2 for a Ralph Lauren top. Sure, most items are gently used, but they are good as new after a wash!
Don’t knock it until you try it. There is no greater feeling than walking out of a store with an arm full of brand names for less than $20!
Buy in Bulk
You can find some major deals by buying in bulk. We literally have a Costco membership so that we can buy dog food and toilet paper in bulk.
No joke, we pay $15 for 6 months worth of toilet paper, and it is the best! Who wants to spend money on things like toilet paper, paper towels, dishwashing liquid, or laundry detergent?
You can even buy things like frozen chicken, canned goods, and olive oil in bulk for cheap!
This can cut your yearly cost of basic necessities in half (or more) just by buying in bulk. It pays for the cost of a Costco or Sams membership twice over!
Okay now that I’ve shared all of my money-saving wisdom with you, I’m sure you’re ready to restructure your finances to reach that goal!
For extra help, check out our FREE Budget Work Sheet. It’s designed to help you create a budget and stick with it! Did I mention it was free?
Saving money can seem tedious at first, but after a while, it becomes a habit. You will find yourself cutting off all the lights and prepping all of your meals before you know it, and your savings account will thank you!
Tell me some of your favorite tips on how to save money in the comments!