- 5 years ago
We do the “Save Every $5 Bill” that
We do the “Save Every $5 Bill” that
I know you mention you’ve already cut your grocery bill by a lot, but I’ll just throw it out there that a couple of things that helped me a lot were not buying juice or soda (just drink water/ milk/ coffee/ tea) and not eating meat in every meal. Yo, meat is crazy expensive! Once I started mostly cooking vegetarian (husband is a vegetarian) I realized how much less I was spending on groceries! Also worth checking prices to see where things are going the cheapest; for instance, we buy a lot of our basic staples at Target because it’s so much less than at the grocery store, and we have a RedCard which saves us an extra 5% off, and we use the Cartwheel app where you scan your items and they’ll give you coupons. Of course, you’re only saving money here if you’re paying off the card each month and not going into debt.
I know this is really basic advice, but things like switching from cable to just Netflix or something like that can add up to a pretty big savings over the course of the year, only do laundry when you have a completely full load, etc… I’ve never tried this, but there are lots of great tutorials online for making your own laundry soap, it’s supposed to be significantly less expensive. You could also consider switching to things like vinegar and baking soda for household cleaning; much less expensive than buying a specialty cleaning solution for each task.
If you’re already making a lot of changes to save money, sometimes the best thing you can do is look at your reoccuring expenses and see what is costing you the most and go from there. For instance, if you’ve been taking for granted that you have to spend $xx on a haircut, see if you can trim (hah, get it?) that expense. It’s easy to get in the habit of paying a certain amount for some things (I’m guilty of this with some of my makeup/ personal care essentials) and not checking to see if there might be a less expensive option on the market that you missed.
But I don’t think cash back credit cards are an option, I’m not eligible for a credit card (too little income).. What I do have now though is a system where I pay most things with cash and I’ve also adjusted my account so each time I swipe my debit card $1.50 gets transferred from my regular account to my savings account, which is kinda neat I think 😀
I cancelled our cable because we never watched tv anyway but we watch netflix everyday so that stays. This saves us $20 a month 😀
Are either you or your Fiance students? Because it makes getting a credit card way easier. I highly reccommend getting one to start the process of building credit. You two sound disciplined enough to not get into trouble with it by treating it like free money. (Also, if you’re not students – if things are that tight for money right now, it would be a very sound investment for one or both of you to take a vocational diploma in order to get into a higher paying career).
I also disagree with cash for everything. I have a few different rewards cards and am able to make an additional $500+ each year in points. FH and I even opened a new miles credit card in July and already have $400 towards our honeymoon with the joining bonuses.
I am not very good at not buying things I want, so my solution is to work more. I freelance nights and weekends, writing copy for websites, blogs, etc. Took me a while to build a client base, but I try for $400 a week in additional income.
To get into the routine of saving regularly, you can try the 52 week savings plan. I’ve heard people say good things about it! Basically you start with putting away $1 the first week, and then $2 the next week, and $3 the next, on and on until you put $52 away the final week of the year and you have $1,378 in the bank! It gives you a jump start on savings and eases you into the habit of saving.
I definitely agree with treating your savings as bills that must be paid. I have my checking account, savings account, and investments/retirement funds. I deopsit paychecks into my checking, and have automatic transfers to everything else. There’s no decision making process where I might be weak and decide to splurge instead of save. It may be just a little that you can afford to put away now, but it’s good to get in the habit of treating your savings as a responsibility, just like bills.
The goal with my method is to always have a consistent amount in my checking. I check on my account a few times a month, and I have a range in mind that it should be at. If I’m above that range, I know I can increase my savings contributions a little. If I’m below that range, my first approach would be to look at my budget and cut costs. The next option is to dial back the savings, but I have always found ways to reduce my spending, so I have never had to cut back on the savings.
For any big, planned purchases, make a separate savings account and put a little bit toward it at a time. I did this for our wedding, but you could do the same thing for a new TV, a car downpayment, vacation, or a home project. That way you’re not taking cash from your living expenses or long-term savings account, and it’s more goal oriented than impulsive.
Any “surprise” extra money like cash gifts, checks, bonuses, etc go straight into your savings. I have also heard that when you get a raise, figure out your increase per paycheck, and have an automatic deposit to savings of that amount. If you’re earning $50 more per week, set up a weekly transfer of $50. If you were able to live comfortably on your previous salary, just spend as if you make the same amount, and save the extra! I haven’t gotten a raise recently, so I have not gotten the chance to try this out 🙂
Little treats are not a bad thing, but know your budget and don’t make them a habit. Once and a while I’ll get a fun Starbucks drink during a busy day, but that could easily turn into a daily routine (costing me over $1,000/year!) if I’m not careful.
Good luck! It sounds like you and your husband are careful spenders, so with some good habits you’ll develop a solid savings routine in no time!
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