If you are a member of this newly college-graduated, just married, young parents generation, then you’re like me. And if you’re like me, you’re realizing that life costs a lot more than it used to a couple years ago. No more paying for your meal plan upfront and swiping that i.d. for an extra helping without another thought. College loans want to be paid back and your home has utility costs, repairs and has to be heated in the five month long winter. Now add on the cost of raising kids: diapers, food, gear, daycare…life has all of a sudden become VERY expensive.
Now most of these costs are necessities. Of course there are always ways to pare down and save money, but if you aren’t a minimalist and ready to harvest your own food and recycle your toilet paper, there are just some things that you’re going to have to spend money on.
My husband and I are always looking for ways to save money and cut down on our spending (we just bought a home this past fall, so our budget has shifted quite a bit from our renting days). Bear reads about a lot of financial tips on Reddit, I’m always checking Pinterest and Facebook groups for hot deals or info on giveaways. We’ve developed quite a few methods of ways that we save money in our home and I thought I’d jot them down so you can see how easy it is to save a few bucks every week (it adds up!)
The biggest idea to keep in mind is that every little bit helps. Also, the sacrifices are worth it. Now, our family definitely splurges on things sometimes, but that is very rare compared to our normal living. This post is in regard to everyday spending.
First, we do not follow a Dave Ramsey budget. My parents and sister are totally on board with his method and I am so proud of them. However, we have discovered that our time of life can be easily supplemented by credit card rewards. WARNING!!! This can be a dangerous path if you are a big shopper or have little self control with credit cards. We never carry a balance and use our cards as if they are debit cards. We simply take advantage of the rewards that our cards offer. For instance, if a credit card is offering free airline miles with a minimum purchase amount and we know that we will be taking a trip this year, we may use that card for our major purchases and everyday purchases to meet the requirements for free miles. We do NOT, however, go on a shopping spree to meet the minimum purchase requirement. There is so much more to this topic that I probably should not have included it, but some companies offer ridiculously good rewards and it can be very worthwhile if you manage your finances well. This is an area of finance that my husband has spent many hours researching and we feel comfortable with it. Please, please, please do your research and be confident of your financial situation before your pursue this.
Second, we use apps such as Ibotta and Checkout51 for rebates on grocery purchases. I also coupon and my shopping planning involves clipping coupons, looking at the ads for the store discounts, and checking the apps for rebates on items I plan to buy. As with anything, you aren’t saving money if you buy what you don’t need. Use the coupons and rebates on things you already buy and you will be shocked at how much you can save. There are also online “apps” such as eBates and Swagbucks that will help you save money or earn money for online purchases.
Third, I shop for clothes almost exclusively at thrift stores, but sometimes I splurge on clearance items. I cannot tell you the last time I bought something full price. I’m especially proud of my purchase last spring of my winter coat for this year: a Levi’s faux fur hooded parka that was originally over $150 at JCP, but was marked down in their end of season sale and then I used a coupon for $10 off $25. I got that coat for $12! The smartest thing you can do when clothes shopping (especially for kids) is shop for the next year during the end of season sales.
Fourth, sell what you aren’t using. My husband just recently went through his stuff and sold a ton of it on eBay. He didn’t make lots of money, but he recouped some of what he had spent on that stuff that was just sitting around for years. My latest desire has been to turn my love of thrifting into a profitable business by flipping things I find. You wouldn’t believe how many brand name items I find with tags still on! My problem is that I like the clothes I find too much and keep them for myself.
Fifth, when we do know that we will be eating out or need to do some extra shopping, we buy discounted gift cards through Raise.com or Cardpool.com We do it often and seem to always find good deals. Remember that when you use coupons and store discounts as well, you can come out with some great deals!
These are a few ways that we have found to save us money on daily purchases. What are some ways you have found to help your financial situation? I’m curious to know what helps others!