According to a study done in 2018, saving money ranked in the top three New Years Resolutions. It doesn’t seem like too difficult a task – just set aside a couple bucks from each paycheck, right? That’s all fine and good until your car breaks down, you have to take unpaid sick days at work or any other number of unexpected crises. Did you know that only 8% of people follow through with the promises they made to themselves on the New Year? That means that 92% of people who said they would save money have the same amount of money (if not less) in their bank account at the end of the year.
Like anyone, I’ve made my fair share of resolutions. While I haven’t always been successful in my endeavors, I am a ridiculously thorough planner, and that makes things a little bit easier to accomplish.
Luckily for you, I did some research and came up with (what I think) is a pretty detailed strategy for financial stability. Here is my game plan for cutting back on spending and saving my family money in 2019 (categorized for your viewing pleasure):
Food is pretty important, so it’s no wonder that it takes a good chunk out of our paychecks. Truthfully most of us are spending way too much on sustenance and aren’t using the money-saving assets available to us.
Here are a few…
1. Don’t buy groceries you don’t eat. It may seem pretty obvious, but how many of us end up throwing out an unopened bag of rotten salad at the end of every week? I’m all for striving to eat healthier, but if you find yourself tossing out two pounds of asparagus weekly (like I did), you’re just throwing away money. Asparagus is only $3, but an extra $3 every week for a year is still $156 and all that money is going down the toilet. ONLY BUY WHAT YOU WILL EAT.
2. Use what you have. Everyone has forgotten food in the back of the cabinet. There are about a billion cans of food in my pantry that I had planned to use in a variety of recipes but didn’t. Things would come up: a friend would invite us over for dinner at the last minute, we just felt like eating out instead, etc…
I encourage you to try this once every few months: look through all of the abandoned food in your pantry (the unopened box of brown rice that’s been sitting for months, the extra pack of gravy powder you’ve had since Thanksgiving…you get the idea). Think of all the possible combinations that you could throw together for a quick dinner. It’s fun to get creative and you could find yourself a new favorite recipe. Plus you may end up saving an entire weeks worth of dinner money!
3. Pack snacks when you have a busy day planned. This will help you avoid a quick trip to the drive-thru and save $10+.
At one point earlier this year we were going to an awful lot of appointments and evaluations for Logan’s speech. We later learned we were spending upwards of $60 in fast food alone EVERY WEEK driving to and from his doctors. How much extra money would we have in our bank account right now if I had just packed food for the road instead?
4. Buy in bulk when you can. What may seem like a bigger investment at the start pays off for the rest of the year when you aren’t having to buy paper towels but once every six months. (Thank God for Sam’s club, y’all.)
5. Order groceries online to avoid overspending.
A few months ago a friend and I were talking about how we always end up buying things we don’t need while grocery shopping. She mentioned the beauty that is ordering for pickup. This is an incredible thing because you search for what you need, add it to your cart, and can see the total cost of everything BEFORE you hit send. This saves you from the flustered feeling of a surprisingly high total in the checkout line. It adds up so fast, you guys. By ordering online, you remove yourself from the temptation that is reckless spending.
Monthly & yearly expenses
1. Get on group plans with relatives or friends when possible. Spotify, Netflix, and Amazon Prime all offer this option. My sisters-in-law use our Netflix account, and I’m on my husband’s plan on Spotify. Looking through your monthly expenses and joining forces with others can end up saving you an extra hundred or two a month. See? You don’t have to give up the things you love, you just gotta be smart with how you pay for it. (Stay legal, of course.)
2. Don’t jump on the gym bandwagon. Whaaaa?! A personal trainer telling you not to join a gym?! Doesn’t my entire livelihood rest on people signing their names on those contracts? Yes, yes it does, but y’all…if you go in on January 1st, 2019, when all of the flashy gym discounts are in full-swing, and sign that dotted line…you still have a 92% chance of dropping out of the gym in the first three months. Believe me, I have witnessed this every single year. It doesn’t matter how excited or motivated you are on New Years Day. When push comes to shove, you end up at home on the couch with an extra $50-$75 draining out of your bank account each month because you’re locked into a year-long contract that you can’t get out of. If you truly want to become healthier and start working out, I recommend following a workout program on Youtube (it’s FREE and there are so many good ones out there!) or start running in your neighborhood first. I really advise against joining a gym until AFTER you’ve been consistently active for a solid amount of time (3-6 months).
3. Borrow instead of buy. If it’s something you won’t need daily or weekly, see if there’s a place you could borrow it instead.
My guilty pleasure is the bookstore. I can walk into there on any given day and come out with an armful of books that will be read once and left on my bookshelf for the rest of eternity. I don’t reread books (except personal development or non-fiction), so this is a pretty big waste of money. We recently started going to the library again, so that will give us an extra $20-$30 a month to put towards other things. Just remember to pay your fines: I’ve seen some as high as $60+!
1. Consign your clothing you don’t wear anymore and use that money to replace the items in your wardrobe.
2. Always check the thrift store before going retail.
3. Sales are not a reason to spend money!! Remember: it’s not a good deal if you don’t need it.
1. Facebook Marketplace is a safe place to get the things you need for a discounted price. Use this app wisely: you’re looking for things you NEED, not things you want. Don’t browse when you’re bored. ALSO: if you’re wanting a little extra cash for the OCCASIONAL splurge, selling your unused items is super easy on there! Read more about this here.
2. The newest iPhone update lets you set time restrictions on certain apps. If you struggle with online shopping this is a good way to keep yourself accountable. Have a loved one set a password to help you avoid the temptation to remove the block on you favorite shopping apps.
I hope you found this list to be helpful. Remember to be specific with your savings goal at the beginning of the year. Specificity is key to accomplishing what you need to do.
For more financial tips check out this post.
What are your favorite ways to save money? Feel free to share them in the comments below.