Whatever age you are, knowing that you have money saved in case of an emergency or for a rainy day reduces the worry and anxiety associated with being in debt. While it may initially seem a daunting task, saving money (even if it is just a small amount each month) is entirely possible. Just think, even saving $50 a month would mean an extra $600 a year, simply by taking the time to plan, cutting back and being sensible in the purchases that you make.
Here are a few frugal and thrifty ideas to save money every month:
Create a budget. Yes, it does start here. I know that some of you probably cringe at this prospect. But there is no way getting around it. If you want to save money, you first need to understand how and where you spend it. Work out both your fixed and flexible monthly income and expenditures and then highlight areas in which you are overspending and could easily cut back. I promise you it isn’t as hard as you think it is. It is far more stressful to stand at a checkout and pray that your purchase will go through. Been there. Done that. And it is never too late to start a budget.
10 Ways To Save Money On Groceries
Food generally accounts for a large percentage of weekly or monthly budgets. We need food to live, but there are lots of ways in which you can reduce the amount spent on groceries.
- Create a weekly meal plan. Work out a simple meal plan for the coming week and the ingredients needed. Use recipes that use fresh ingredients at the start of the week to avoid wastage, cook in bulk and freeze in advance and utilize leftovers.
- Save money buy taking a bag lunch to work with you instead of purchasing sandwiches at a store or coffee house.
- Take advantage of useful sales, discounts and 3 for 2 offers on the items that you actually need.
- Avoid impulse purchases. Ever go to the supermarket intending to buy just a few items and return home with a week’s worth of food and treats that you know you won’t consume or use? I am often drawn to offers on lots of items, particularly when I feel like I am getting a bargain, but it is often the case that I have little use for what I have bought and they either have to be thrown away after becoming spoiled or sit in a cupboard for the next few months. If you find it difficult to resist the impulse buy, order your groceries online using a strict shopping list.
- Cut back on the amount of brand items you buy. Supermarket own brands usually contain exactly the same ingredients for a fraction of the price – the more expensive items charge extra simply for the brand name.
- Make your own. Bread, soups, stews, pies can all be made at a fraction of the price of the grocery store (and will undoubtedly be much healthier).
- Make your own coffee. A cup of coffee from a well-known chain can typically cost around $4.00 and five of these a week means that the potential spend on coffee alone is approximately $1,120 in a year. Save money by investing in a coffee maker and thermos mug and take your own coffee to work every day. Addicted to ice coffee? Check out my 3 ingredient ice cappuccino recipe.
- Do you spend money on takeout? Immediately save money by reducing the number of takeouts you order to just one a month as a treat to look forward to. And always take advantage of senior’s discounts.
- Grow your own produce. You don’t have to have a garden – window boxes are a great way to grow your own produce in your own home.
- Drink water instead of more expensive juice.
7 Money Saving Tips Around the Home
- Hang your clothes to dry instead of using a tumble dryer. Use a clothes airer in the colder months, and a washing line outside during days of good weather.
- Where possible, make repairs yourself to broken items, repurpose and up-cycle. YouTube contains informative videos on everything that you could possibly need. Why spend hundreds of dollars on a new piece of furniture when a few hours of your time and a splash of paint can restore something and make it as good as new?
- Turn the lights and appliances off when you aren’t using them and opt for blankets before turning the thermostat up.
- Replace lightbulbs with LED bulbs instead.
- Adopt a minimalist lifestyle and reduce the amount of ‘stuff’ you have in the home. Stop collecting and start selling your unwanted items at yard sales or on ebay or give to your local thrift store.
- Replace paper towels with reusable cloths.
- While it may seem like an obvious thing, taking care of your items will help to save you money, simply because an object that is well looked-after will inevitably last longer.
6 Personal Lifestyle Frugal Tips
- Create a capsule wardrobe. Do you have too many clothes and yet never seemingly have anything to wear? Reduce your clothing to just a small collection of around 30 items that can be easily mixed and matched, creating lots of options that you feel confident in and avoiding the need to buy new clothes. Here are some beginner ideas on how to create a capsule wardrobe.
- Purchase your clothes from local thrift stores – you may find a bargain at a fraction of the price! In fact, I buy many items from second hand stores.
- Purchase dupes of expensive make-up brands. There are lots of great dupe alternatives available by reputable companies that will save you money.
- Do you spend a fortune on hair dye? Perhaps it is time to embrace the change and go grey – a fabulous look for all midlife women! Here are some helpful tips to transition to grey hair.
- Adopt no spend weekends and look for free activities and events going on in your local area. Challenge yourself to go even longer! Here is a family that didn’t spend for a whole month!
- Save money at the barbers by investing in a pair of clippers and learning to do your own haircuts.
Save Money By Differentiating Between Necessity And Luxury
The word ‘luxury’ is often associated with high-end, expensive goods, but in the money-saving mindset, a luxury can be seen as anything that is purchased ‘just because.’ When we proclaim that we ‘need’ something, is this actually true, or do we simply ‘want’ instead? By examining the luxury items that we ‘want’ rather than ‘need,’ it is easy to save money by cutting back on the amount of these items that you purchase, or stop purchasing them altogether.
- Magazines. We read them once or twice, then throw them away. Search for articles online instead.
- Cable and streaming services. You don’t have to cut everything out but perhaps examining which services you subscribe to and cutting back on ones you don’t use anymore can save you big money.
- The gym. Work out at home, go for a walk or a run in the fresh air.
- The spa. Instead, create your own spa day at home. It does take some practice to get salon quality results but from experience and duress, (lockdown!), I have learned how to do my own nails which I never thought was possible.
- Restaurants. Instead of spending lots of money at a restaurant, invite friends round for a potluck dinner in which everyone brings a dish to share. Or if you feel you must indulge, why not do curbside pick-up and dine at home. You can save on drinks and tip that way.
- Designer clothing. Similarly to branded food items, designer clothes are much more expensive because of the brand name that is associated with it. And if you can’t part with your labels, buy gently used and save a bundle.
- Single use water bottles. We have a water cooler at home and fill our own reusable bottles. They are a fraction of the cost of buying a case of water and way less waste which is good for the environment too.
- Books – by using the library or thrift stores to get your latest reads you can save lots of money. I love getting books from the library and it is so low fuss now. I order online and get notified when my book is ready at the door! I can also reserve books or extend due dates easily through my phone.
By adopting a money-saving mindset, understanding how and where you spend money, learning to live within your means and creating some small but actionable goals, saving money is easier than you may think and completely doable.
What are your frugal and thrifty ideas to save money? Leave your answer in the comments below!