Back to school shopping season is officially over, which means the holidays are coming up on us fast. And you know what that means: you're going to need cash soon. But if you're broke right now, is there really any hope of saving enough money to make the holidays jolly?
Here's the short answer: yes. How about the long one? You can save money, if you really want to. It's more or less that simple, because really wanting to save some cash each month should be enough motivation to actually commit to a saving plan. And committing is actually more important than how you save, because there are a ton of good ways to keep the cash from flowing out of your account every month:
1. Make a coin jar (a big Mason jar works best). Yes, this is a bit like having a piggybank when you were a kid, but it worked then, didn't it? When you come in at the end of the day, empty all your spare change into the jar. When it's full, you'll be surprised by how much you collect when you aren't losing your loose change or being tempted to spend "just 50 cents" here and there. Now the key is to actually put it in the bank!
2. Make a grocery list ... then take it with you when you shop. I make lists all the time, but remembering to actually put them in my pocket is the real key. When you aren't buying "this and that," you tend to spend less on splurges you don't really need.
3. Buy a reusable water bottle and fill it yourself. Every time you buy a 20-ounce soda or grab a 16-ounce bottle of water from the convenience store, you're spending at least $1.50. If you're doing that every day or even several times a day, you're killing your wallet. Fill a big bottle with water at home or from the office sink or buy a bigger bottle of your favorite soda or juice and fill your reusable one to save.
4. Shop when you're in a hurry. You won't be tempted to overspend if you only have time to get a few quick things.
5. Make your own coffee. Really, this is common sense people!
6. Make your own lunch. Ditto!
7. Plan out big purchases. The longer time you wait between deciding to buy and actually doing it, the more time you have to realize you probably don't really need it.
8. DIY anything you can. Challenge yourself to stop buying things that can easily be made at home for less. You'll save on the actual item. You'll also potentially save because you are devoting time to mixing up a container of your own laundry detergent instead of being tempted to shop.
9. Hit the library. This isn't just for people who traditionally buy books. This is for EVERYONE. Reading library books is a cheap and fulfilling hobby, one that can keep you from stress shopping.
10. Exercise. Another cheap hobby that will keep you from stress shopping, this one will also help you cut down on your medical bills.
What are your best "save money now" tips?
by amonkeymomSeptember 5, 2012 at 4:10 PM
I already do 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 9. Need to exercise more and I don't drink coffee or make things.
September 5, 2012 at 4:42 PM
I don't use cash much so I don't do 1
2 I do to an extent but both 2 and 4 are not really practical to me. I live so far from grocery stores that it's just worthwhile to stock up on non-perishables while I'm there. I can fill in produce at the more expensive store, the farmer's market, or at my own garden :)
3 I do. Don't drink 5. Am usually home for lunch so of course 6. Duh to 7 and 8. 9 well, I just read free books on my kindle. The local library doesn't have convenient hours for my family.
I would add gardening :) cheap, productive, and healthy! It relieves stress and there are great health benefits. Plus it's yummy!
September 6, 2012 at 5:59 AMI agree with most of those and I do or at least attempt them. However 4 I find to be only partially true. While it is true that I may not have time to grab all the extras if I'm in a hurry it may also mean I might miss more deals because I'm in a hurry.
Cook from scratch.
Limit all convenience foods.
We use a gallon relish jar for our change.
I transfer a small amount of money from our checking into our savings account each month.
by cemcnairSeptember 6, 2012 at 7:43 AMI do most of these, but I don't rush when shopping.
We have 3 coin jars, one for dollar coins, one for silver change, and one for pennies :)
by FloridaGurl4September 6, 2012 at 7:53 AM
thanks for the info
by Miranda1127September 7, 2012 at 12:49 AM
I do most of what is on the list.
I also use credit cards, pay the balance monthly, and use their rewards for entertainment/household purposes. I just purchased the kids stainless steel bento boxes off of amazon w/ our discover cash back. $0 out of pocket spending. I also signed up at recyclebank.com and earn points through recycling. I cash the points in for gift cards and entertainment stuff. Over the summer I had enough points to take the kids to the please touch museum for $0 out of pocket money. I also cashed points in for home depot gc's and was able to build my garden for 1/4 of the cost.
by bloomsrSeptember 7, 2012 at 12:52 AMOne thing that has been a HUGE $ saver for us is using cloth napkins and having a small trash can in our kitchen. We use plastic shopping bags for the trash liners (never buy trash bags) and never buy paper towels or napkins.
by mommaGof3September 7, 2012 at 9:50 AMWe do pretty much all of that. Lol.
Also making your own cleaners and laundry soaps, become a paperless household, grow your own food, dont eat out