Saving money is on the top of everyone's mind most months and if you are like me, you always plan to do better the next month. Good intentions matter but a plan is even better. To avoid being overwhelmed, I work through my budget in small chunks. Here are a few steps to get you started saving money before Labor Day so you can take advantage of those last minute deals or back to school needs.
1.Sell Your Closet:
With the change of season approaching it's a great time to start selling what you will not use. There are lots of selling apps or you can head to a consignment store or sell. Most are preparing to sell Fall and Holiday items and will take a small percentage of your proceeds. I use the consignment drop off often as it helps me clear the closet faster.
Set a time frame for updating the listings and what to do if it doesn't sell. If after thirty days, you aren't getting any traction considering donating and taking the tax write off.
2.Cook at Home:
I am guilty of running around all day and then stressing about dinner so I end up in a drive thru or ordering on a food app. I recently purchased an instant pot so I can now make quick and easy meals. It is truly a lifesaver especially when we have a practice or game that has run over.
Occasionally, we will eat out as a treat but not without using the store's app. Using the apps to order and pay earns you rewards and often they give you surprise rewards to encourage you to visit. The Chick-fil-a app is a great one to add.
3.Visit the Library:
A great read is still the same book when you borrow it. Local libraries often have all the latest releases and you can borrow video games and movies.
4. Spend Time and Not Money:
We are all guilty of spending money on expensive entertainment or toys when our kids really just want our time. Community calendars and websites are a great way to find free activities in your area or just create fun games at home. A neighborhood scavenger hunt or afternoon at the park are always top of my list.
5. Shop from a List:
This is not new, we all know what happens when we walk the aisles aimlessly filling our cart. A list is most likely to keep you on track and make certain the items you buy fit into your meal plan. It also helps when keeping track of reward apps.
6. Quit Bad Habits:
This is the perfect time to set a goal to eliminate a bad habit that is costing you money. Smoking tends to be one that many people want to kick not only because of the health risk but the price. SmokeFree has some great resources to help you get started.
7. Comparison Shop:
Keep track of the top twenty-five items that you buy. Take notice of the pricing at a variety of stores. We all have our favorite store that we prefer to shop at but being open to change will save you money. Shop the weekly circulars.
8. Shop Generics:
Aldi continues to outshine most markets but when you are use to name brands it's hard to shop otherwise. I admit that it took me a few months to really master shopping there. It was a lot of trial and error but if you research your favorite products, you will find a generic brand of it especially if you know the ingredients. This is also a great way to try new products.
9. Cancel Subscriptions:
Do you know how many subscriptions you actually have? How many have you used int he past 90 days? It might be time to either cancel or put it on hold. Putting it on hold allows you to evaluate if it fits your needs or not and often times the companies will offer you a discount not to quit.
10. Drink More Water:
Our bodies need more water and often times when we think we are hungry it is just thirst. Stay hydrated with water and your waistline might decrease as your wallet increases. Invest in a filter and reusable bottle if you are concerned about the quality of your water.
11. Make Coffee at Home:
I said this to a friend and she almost cried. That coffee addiction is real but if you are serious about saving money then learn how to perfect it at home. Ninja has a great coffee maker that reminds me of the barista set up at Starbucks. I'm not saying don't but it ever but use it as a reward. Reward yourself for completing those task that you hate.
12. Buy Bulk:
Eliminate the need to be at the store unnecessarily. Buy the items that you repeatedly stock up on in bulk. Amazon's subscribe and save is often great bargain but of course you want to compare prices. Start with items such as paper towels, laundry detergent, toilet tissue and/or toothpaste.
13. Practice the 10 Second Rule
Impulse purchases can quickly ruin a budget. All stores know the right items to put in the brightest light to get you to stop and add it to your cart. Target gets me constantly so I started using this rule to avoid the guilt.
Examine every item that you add to your cart for 10 seconds. During that time ask yourself why you’re buying it, whether you actually need it or not, is is a true bargain and will you use it within 60 days. If you struggle to answer the question, then put it back.