New Year Resolutions to Save Money
Yes, it’s that time of the year again when we search for the best money saving tips the internet has to offer. This time every year, I sit down look at my finances and think about my goals for the year. Then I get organized and ready to save money. This is literally my favorite thing to do. Whether it’s finding new ways to save energy or ways to save gas, I just love finding new ways to being more efficient. These last couple of years after some serious roommate troubles, I’ve found some awesome solutions for my money troubles. I’m passing along my favorite money saving tips, so maybe I can save you these troubles down the line.
Lifestyle Money Saving Tips
Frugality is really a lifestyle choice. You have to make it a priority and think about the future when making choices in the present.
Make Savings Automatic
This is the first and most important money saving tip. Designate a set amount to automatically go into savings. When you get a raise or any extra money start putting that into savings as well. Set it and forget it will build your savings.
Have a wedding or birthday party coming up? Learn to say no to those money spending pits. Foster those relationships in other ways.
Consider downsizing your home or vehicle to a less expensive one.
Whether it’s bank fees or late fees, avoid them at all costs. There’s just no reason for wasting money on these when there are free options. Get creative and think outside the box to find alternatives to paying fees. Pay your bills on time and avoid unnecessary costs that will hurt your financial situation more down the road.
Take Preventative Measures
Planning ahead and taking care of your stuff is a great way to save money in the long run.
Do Maintenance and Preventative Care on Your Home/Car
Clean and change filters, get fluids checked, do yearly maintenance check ups, put equipment away to prevent wear and tear.
Get Yearly Doctor Checkups
Taking care of yourself and getting yearly checkups important! Most health plans will include a free preventative care visit because they know the sooner you catch something the less they will have to pay in the future.
Knowing what you want, making plans is a good way to stay focused and spend money responsibility. Re-evaluate these goals from time to time to make sure you stay on track.
Money Saving Tips for Home
Making homemade cleaners is the latest adjustment I’ve made to save money. I thought it would be more difficult or time consuming (and we all know time is money), but it’s SOOOOO easy! Most just take two or three ingredients that I already had at my house. It’s one of the easiest money saving tips I can offer.
Make a Packed Lunch
There’s tons of packed lunch ideas out there, but the best thing you can do is take leftovers. Make a little extra for dinner or have a cook-a-thon day once a week to make enough meals for the week. It’s the same amount of prep and clean up time, but you only have to do it once instead of throughout the week.
Stop Buying Single-Use Products
Shwew, I don’t even want to get into how much money I save not buying single-use products. Napkins, paper plates, Styrofoam cups, not only waste money, but they waste space. Plus, in a large family, you might even pay for an extra dumpster to throw them away each day.
Instead buy real plates, glassware, silverware, or water bottles. You can also make your own unpaper towels or napkins. or paper towels. Getting rid of single-use products will benefit many areas of your life.
Use your own bags
Some grocery stores charge per bag, usually around 6 cents, but those cents add up. Bringing your own bag saves money, not just for you but for cities that often pay for clean-up littered bags. Also, it reduces clutter in the house.
In addition, you can save money and make bags from old t-shirts. This is the best option ultimately because you reuse what you already have, instead of buying new. Reusable bags need quite a long life to offset the energy used to make them. Using t-shirts or other materials you already have is the best choice.
Money Saving Tips for Food
Bring your own jars
Although not everyone has access to bulk bins, but if you do buying in bulk is a great way to save money. I have started doing preliminary research because this is one of my personal money saving tips I’m trying to implement this year. Every ingredient for my pantry available at the bulk bins is cheaper than buying in a package. Several cents per pound will certainly add up over the year.
Cut down on food waste
These money saving tips help cut down on household waste, which is great for any budget.
If nothing else, eliminating food waste is a great goal to have. It’s one of the best money saving tips because it makes up about 25 percent of our household waste. But the good news is with just a few small changes we can make a huge dent in that number.
More than 40 percent of the food produced for human consumption in the U.S. will never be eaten. Food waste is still rising, having almost doubled since 1974. We are wasting more than 1,400 calories per person per day. That’s almost enough to feed an entire person!
Food waste is another benefit of buying from bulk bins. It’s much easier to get just the amount of food you need.
Again, not everyone has access to bulk bins, but there’s still plenty of other ways to cut down on food waste. Learn more about how to cut down food waste with these meal planning printables.
Check “Best By” Dates
This is one of those things that aren’t really rules, but merely suggestions. These are voluntary labels. The only items required by federal law to be labeled for expiration are infant formula and some baby foods; some states also mandate pulling dairy from store shelves on the expiration date.
Make sure you’re not going by the “Sell by” date, which is a suggestion for the stores to follow. The food is still good for long after this. That being said, the “best by” date is an indicator of quality, not safety.
Use your nose, eyes and lastly taste buds to decide if something is safe to eat.
Compost Food Scraps
Although you can meal plan all day long, sometimes food waste will still happen. Composting is a great solution for food waste because it also helps rebuild the soil. Composting often seems overwhelming but no matter how much space you have, even if you live in an apartment, you can compost.
Learn how to compost in any space.
Make Your Bone Broth or Vegetable Stock
If learning to compost is just too much, another great food waste solution is making bone broth or vegetable stock with food scraps.
During times like the holidays when you don’t have time to make bone broth or vegetable stock, you can save your food scraps until you can get to it later. Making your own bone broth is one of the money saving tips that is also great for your health. Nothing is better than homemade bone broth!
Reuse Coffee Grounds
Finding ways to reuse those things we can’t live without is a great way to save money and the Earth. Coffee might be one of those things for you, but you can use them to save money in other ways. Coffee grounds work great as fertilizer, pest repellent, adding to compost, tenderizing meat, deodorizing, exfoliating, staining wood or as a natural abrasive.
Saving bacon grease
I know this might be offensive to so many groups, but if you’re still in the fan club, this tip is for you. It might seem like a small thing, but every penny counts and there are many benefits for reusing bacon grease. Each time you reuse bacon grease, you’re saving yourself from using other (less yummy) options. It’s a great replacement for butter, coconut oil or other less healthy oils. Just strain it and put it in a jar for later use.
Grow Your Own Food
Every meal you eat has to travel up to 3,000 miles to reach your plate. That is a huge strain on our planet and resources, especially considering that farmer might not have the most sustainable practices. Growing your own food allows you to have more control over what you eat.
If you’re like me, living in a small space, you might think it’s impossible to grow your own food. But even growing little herbs or vegetables here and there is a great start. Growing your own food doesn’t take as much space as you’d think. To get started, check out this post on growing food in small spaces. It takes a bit of money up front, but you can reuse plastic containers and grow from food scraps to save money in the short term.
Change the Thermostat
Having it two degrees warmer or cooler, based on the seasons, is a great way to save some cash without having to sacrifice comfort. Give it a try and see if you can feel a difference. Check out these other great ways to save money on electricity, even if you rent.
Money Saving Tips for Shopping
I generally try to follow these guidelines when I go out shopping. It helps me stay focused on my most important financial goals instead of bringing in more clutter.
Buy second hand
I know everyone talks about buying second hand when it comes to saving money. But seriously, it’s probably still super underrated. Many people still don’t consider the potential thrift store shopping has. You can literally find anything you’ve ever needed at a thrift store. There are some things you’d never have to buy new again such as dishes, seasonal decorations (especially Christmas), home decor and so much more. There are other things like a new favorite pair of pants that you might have to look a little harder for, but I promise it’s there!
Here are some tips to make your thrift shopping a success.
Passing that Sale
Yes, finding sale items or buying second hand are great ways to save money, but that being said, nothing saves more money than not buying at all. This is also the case when buying in bulk or buying more to save money. If there is a shirt sale and you only need one, but there is a 2 for 1 sale, just get the one. This is especially important for perishable food. I repeat, the best way to save money is not buying anything, especially if you don’t need these items. If you see a sale sign, just keep walking unless you really need those items.
Create a Price Book
Create a price book to keep track of sale cycles and stock up prices. Sales are usually in cycles and once you learn the cycles you will save more.
Find ways to reuse what you have
Upcycling is one of my favorite green initiatives of all times. Not only is it fun, but one of those money saving tips that just keeps giving. Upcycling has given me a new beginning, and I do my best to pass this passion along so other people can experience the same. There is nothing more liberating than to see you have everything you already need. Some minor adjustments here and there are nothing when it comes to saving money and living free.
My favorite upcycling projects include fruit net dish scrubbers, reusable t-shirt bags, making plarn from plastic bags, making light bulb ornaments, and using food scraps as fertilizer. We have unlimited potential in the things we already have around our home, we just have to see it.
Invest in Quality Items
The technology industry and places like Wal-mart have killed our value of money. We buy cheap products that are made to break so we rush out to get the next best thing to replace it. Buying quality products and passing up on this round of the latest gadget is a great way to save money in the long run.
Stop buying things you don’t need
This is probably one of the harder ways to stay money because at times there an emotional or psychological component to spending. In order to fix some of our spending problems, we must address some of the underlying issues that cause us to spend.
Sometimes it just helps to get organized to reduce spending. But to take it to the next step, we need to figure out why we’re spending and buying things we don’t need. Check out these 10 reasons we buy things we don’t need and tips to stop.
Find things for free
They’re all around if just take the time to look.
- Water (instead of paying for bottled water use a water bottle and fill up at a water fountain or get filters for your home)
- Borrowing books, movies, and magazines from the library
- Free books from sites like Bookbub.com, Glutenberg.org, and Paperbackswap, or start a book swap with your friends.
- Free meals (birthday freebies, coupons)
- Clothing (free clothing through clothing swaps, borrowing clothing from friends/ family)
- Entertainment (free museum days, farmer’s markets, free community sports games, etc.)
- Perks or benefits through your workplace. Free coffee for instance? Get to know all the perks and benefits you get at your workplace. For example, some people in the hotel industry receive free meals and dry cleaning)
- Guilty of tossing out leftovers? Those are free meals!
Make your own
This will vary from person to person because some people need to save money and some need to save time. For me, I’d rather save money, so I make a lot of my own products such as reusable bags, toothpaste, Christmas gifts, furniture, toiletries and pretty much anything else you can dream.
Stop eating out
Sure, it’s hard to replicate your favorite Italian dish at home, but eating out too often could be taking a huge dent out of your budget.
Even that $5-$10 you spend each day eating out for lunch can cost you $1,200-$2,400 per year. Instead cut it down to just once or twice per week. This can save you up to $1,400 per year. That’s huge.
One of my favorite saving money tips is saving gas. Gas is literally burning through money. Saving gas is also good for your health. I try to walk or bike anywhere within a mile of my house. I also plan my errands so I cover all the places on the same side of town at the same time. If there are two places in the same shopping center than I just walk over instead of fighting to find another parking space.
I also drive with car repairs in mind. I never slam on the brakes or rush to speed up. Most people can’t stand to ride with me, but I have saved thousands on car repairs because my brakes or other car parts last longer than they would otherwise.
Finding free things to do at home is a great way to save money. You don’t have to worry about gas or impulse shopping. It’s also a good way to get creative, finish projects around the house and enjoy the things you already have instead of buying something new.
We’d love to hear your money saving tips for the new year!