Hello Everyone! I hope your weekend has been relaxing, productive, and fun. Today we are talking about saving money!
My husband and I had a rather busy weekend. We have been listening to audiobooks about minimalism and tidying that resulted in a huge yard sale pile by our front door. I added to this pile every day over the last two weeks. We chose to eliminate items from our closets, shoe collections, kitchen, and garage, along with miscellaneous furniture. My sister hosted a yard sale at which we sold these items. We took what clothes were left to Plato’s Closet and then Clothing Mentor for cash, and finally to Goodwill. We took random rotten old chairs hidden among the old thermal fluff in our attic and a rusted shelving unit to our city landfill. Brad sold our Keurig over Facebook Marketplace as we no longer use it. I completed a painting commission I received off my Etsy account. I answered a music phone questionnaire that pays $5 per survey.
Brad and I completed five loads of laundry and cleaned our home. We went fly fishing, carpooling with a friend, and fished with hand-tied flies. We enjoyed dinner at Universal Joint in Greenville as it is pet-friendly and we can bring our pooch, Crescent, along. I planned and taught a yoga class. I planned blog posts and had a scheduled shoot with my sister, of Tillman Sloan Photography. We meal-planned and cooked for the upcoming week. We did much more, but this is all I can find energy to remember at the moment.
I have been open on my social media Instagram and Snapchat stories about conquering debt. I am proud to say that Friday I set up my final student loan payment, $8 short of my paycheck, to be withdrawn on February 28th, 2017. All in all, my husband and I have paid down about $45,000 of my school debt (in addition to other debts). We have been consistently vigilant and aggressive with our finances. We have said no to many opportunities, but we also allowed ourselves to live when we needed a break.
I plan to write several posts about paying off debt, but becoming financially stable truly starts with consistent, small yet conscientious steps to save money. Some weekends are better than others: this weekend we profited greatly for a weekend. Next weekend we are both traveling separately and will spend more. Balance is key, so without further ado, here are five realistic steps you can take this week to save money:
5 Easy Tips Your Can Do Next Week to Save More Money
- Minimize a bill.
- Obviously bills are unavoidable, but when I began to take the mindset that the quickest way to make more money each month was to eliminate bills, I started to see progress in my checkbook. Well- who uses checkbooks these days- I check my bank statements every week or two. I analyzed all our utilities- mortgage, insurance, power, water, phone, internet/cable, gas, Spotify, and Netflix.
- We actually switched internet providers that cut our AT&T bill from around $200 a month to $48 monthly with Charter Spectrum. We only use Amazon Prime TV, Netflix, Hulu, and Roku. The advantage of cutting cable is that we are forced to improve sociality by visiting friends to watch shows or games. It also helps us choose one show only to watch, so we do not waste time flipping channels. When the show is over we go to bed at a decent hour. Next, we downloaded apps for our car insurance to measure how far and fast we drive our cars. Over time the app is meant to classify us into a “safe driver” category which will lower our insurance rates.
- Skip the junk when you grab gas and do not stop at convenience stores.
- A multitude of online forums and bignewsnetwork.coms will advise you to “skip your Starbucks.” I have noticed that more commomly than Starbucks, my husband and I are running to CVS for cheese, the gas station for caffeine or Red Bull, or grabbing Smart Water because we are parched. Obviously there are the moments where this is unavoidable.
- My husband and I have been keeping up with our diet via MyFitnessPal.com. This helps us stay conscientious about what we eat and helps us plan our day. We have been carrying our S’well bottles of home-filtered water daily to avoid having to stop. Finally, we just-say-no to cravings and grabbing inconvenient, overpriced gas station conveniences. Most of the time we are only a few minutes from our destination where we can replenish more affordably. Every dime counts, right?
- Meal-plan for the upcoming week.
- How many times have you thrown away leftovers or expired ingredients? I know we are guilty of this as recently as yesterday, but we have begun to go to the grocery store once a week.
- Since there are only two of us in our household, raw ingredients sometimes go bad, but planning our meals for the week on Sunday and only buying groceries we plan to use helps us throw less away. We buy just enough and only Costco freezer and daily use products. Next, if we meal plan, we are less likely to grab fast food last minute. This helps us make healthy choices as well. Finally, if you plan to travel soon, bring along spices or pack a cooler to help you spend less and eat conscientiously.
- Check your bank account every. single. day.
- It is a wonder how of the mind how just maintaining awareness of what you spend can deter additional spending.
- Try determining a set budget this week. Withdraw the money Sunday evening or Monday morning. I plan to post about how we organize our bank accounts later, but we have a “flex spending” account that is leftover after bills and loan payments. Determine your budget and see if you can stick to cash rather than card. Next, check every loan, credit card, and bank account connected to yourself every single day this week. Become hyper-aware of your habits and what you owe.
- Think of one new way to make more money… or stay busy to avoid spending what you have.
- This requires more effort than the previous tips. Just this weekend, I sold at a garage sale, sold a painting via Etsy, sold via Facebook Marketplace, Plato’s Closet, and Clothes Mentor. I also taught yoga and picked up 2 substitute classes over the next two weeks.
- Many companies offer gym allowances for health purposes. Check with your human resources department to see if your company offers one. If not, suggest it as an easy benefit as only a small percent of employees will take advantage of the benefit. Otherwise, many gyms and studios offer work/study programs that allow you free classes or gym time in exchange for 2-3 hours of work a week. I receive free yoga classes in exchange for teaching and the additional income covers my husbands membership.
- Finally, pack your week full of to-dos. At the end of the week you will feel accomplished and boss. You will also notice that you did not have time to browse online shopping sites or go to the mall. You have more important things to be doing. Maybe you watch youtube videos to determine how to change your own gas or plug your tire when it goes flat. Maybe you rearrange your furniture to a fresh setting to avoid wanting new furniture. I am a believer in karma so even spending time with a friend or encouraging a friend or family member will pay off later- even if the payout is positive energy or emotion.
I hope I have inspired you to apply even one of these to your life this week. Life is about balance and our bad money habits are a reflection of our personal self. Note your habits and self-reflect often. We are all always growing and changing.
Let me know if you have any spin-off ideas from these 5 tips or if you share the same habits Brad and I are working to kick to the curb. I love to hear feedback by filling out the comment box below.
With Joy, Audrey
Follow my blog with Bloglovin