Whether you’re looking to pay off your debt, or are simply looking to grow your savings, cutting back on your expenses is one of the best ways to do these things.
There are many ways that you can easily save $50 (or more) every month, but here are a few that I think are easy to do and easy to continue.
1. Have a “no spend” month.
A “no spend” month means exactly what you think it does – you can not spend any month all month long. Of course, this does not apply to things that MUST be paid for every month, such as a mortgage, utilities or car insurance. I am talking about all of those variable expenses that you have each month.
Clothing, food, entertainment – those are all variable expenses, and those are the areas you should look try to cut back on. For your “no spend” month, set a goal to not spend a single cent on anything that is not absolutely necessary.
If your current grocery budget is $400 per month, try cutting that back to $200 or less, and then living off the items you have in your stockpile as much as possible. If you don’t have a stockpile, check out my article on how to build a grocery stockpile. We try to do this at least once per year. It really helps us save money, and it also encourages us to use up items in our stockpile that are about to expire.
2. Cook at home.
Cooking your meals at home is one way to save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars each year.
Not only will you save a bundle of cash by eating at home, you will also be able to control exactly what goes into your food. This is huge for me, because many restaurants add lots of salt to their dishes and I am prone to kidney stones, so I can only consume a very small amount of salt in my meals. Cooking from home really helps this issue.
3. Shop around.
Get into the habit of shopping around for everything. Not just groceries, but things like your car insurance, cable bill – even your hydro and gas bill can be negotiated.
Check your bills every month and make sure that there are no errors. If you feel that you are paying too much for a service, call up the company and ask them if they have any discounts available. Let them know that you are on a tight budget and need to lower your bills, and they will almost always give you some type of discount.
Keep in mind that some companies are just not willing to budge on the price of their services, so you need to be prepared to walk away. When you’re speaking to the company, have a back-up plan (such as a different, cheaper company you can switch to), in case you get the dreaded “sorry, I can’t help you“.
4. Shop once per week, or less.
Set a goal to only go grocery shopping once per week (or less, if you can). Avoiding sporadic trips to the grocery store each week will save you a considerable amount of money every year (not to mention all the time you will save as well!).
Never enter a single store without a list. Shopping without a list will almost always lead to impulse purchases. That’s money down the drain that you really didn’t need to spend.
5. Watch TV online.
If you don’t mind sitting in front of your computer, watching TV online is another way that you can easily save money. Cable companies charge anywhere from $30-$80 per month for cable TV (and there are some cable TV plans that cost more than that). When almost all of the TV shows you could ever want to watch are already online, for free, why would you ever pay to watch them?
Here are just a few websites that offer free TV shows:
Click here for a complete list of free TV networks in Canada.
Think about all of the areas in your life that you could easily cut back on. Do you have many unused items in your home? Try to sell your stuff. Do you actually read all of the magazines that are delivered to your home each month? If not, cancel some subscriptions.
Maybe you realized that your home is way too large for your needs. If so, take a big step and downsize. This will save you a LOT of money every year.
If you put just 1 of the 5 ideas above into place for saving money, you will be able to save around $600 per year. 2 ideas could save you $1200 per year.
Trim as much as you can from your budget and you are well on your way to financial freedom.