Are you secretly envious of extreme couponers?
Or do you find yourself feeling agitated about the mere thought of looking for a bunch of coupons?
It turns out that you don’t have to do what they do to get big savings on a regular basis.
We tend to think that it’s one of the only strategies to use in order to spend less.
This could be holding you back from getting the savings you deserve.
Money Saving Tips That Will Have the Force on Your Side
Before we get into the details, determine why you are trying to cut back. Goal setting is key to know what number you ideally want to shoot for. Free printables for budgeting or software can help you determine this.
Now, in an effort to get you fired up to save, here are money saving tips that will turn from rookie to money saving wookiee.
1. Become a credit card jedi.
Credit cards can get people into trouble with debt. If used responsibly, they can get you stuff for free or nearly free. On a recent trip to Old Navy, I purchased a pair of khaki uniform pants for my daughter. The pants normally cost $16.94. I was able to get the pants for a total of 85 cents. I was able to get merchandise for 10 dollars. The pants originally cost 16.94 but were 1o% off. So the total came to 85 cents. I just had to put the 85 cents on my Gap Visa.
2. Be loyal.
Since I shop Old Navy and Gap frequently, I benefit from their promotions and rewards. I constantly get items for almost a dollar or less at these stores because I use the rewards I receive in the mail after using my credit card responsibly on every day expenses. I try to use them for necessities to cut back n irregular expenses such as back to school clothes. I try not to go too far over the amount I am given to maximize the rewards.
I don’t know what is more rewarding, the actual amount I end up spending or the look of astonishment on the faces of the cashiers. The cashier said, “You just bought pants for 85 cents!” Using credit cards this way works out well for me and my family because we don’t use them to finance large purchases that we can’t pay off by the time the statement comes. Back in December 2013, I wrote a post about how I use credit cards and avoid debt here.
3. Turn your back on regular protein options.
Expensive protein can turn your food budget over to the dark side. Avoid that when you can. Cindy Livesey of LiveRichWithCoupons is known for her excellent couponing skills. She suggests cooking more from scratch instead of buying prepackaged foods. It’s a much cheaper option. She also notes that a great way to save is to reduce the high cost of meats and fish by substituting beans into your recipes.
4. Fight back against money messes.
Having too much to take care of can set you up for late fees and interest charges and not too mention digital or paper clutter. Glen Craig at FreeFromBroke.com explains how people should simplify their accounts. “It’s easy to accumulate too many accounts and that can quickly turn into financial clutter. Pare down the bank, credit card, and investment accounts you have so you have less to watch over.”
5. Attack deals when you see them.
Karl Quist, president at Priceblink advises shoppers not to wait for better bargains. “Retailers are well underway with Back to School deals so if you see something that’s too good to be true, buy it.”
6. Drive away with more money using this idea.
Perception is involved when you want to get the most money back selling your used car. Did you know cleanliness can matter a great deal when it comes to used car sales? It can even matter more than the miles you put on the car. Find out how one person sold their car on Craigslist and made 400 dollars more than they would have by using this dirty little secret.
7. Cut back when eating out or freeze your meals.
Even if you eat out during the week, try to control how much you spend. Set a budgeted amount if you really can’t pack a lunch. Whether you cut back on fancy restaurants or just stop purchasing soda or bottled water, that can be a significant savings if you normally buy that every day during the week. If you want to attempt to eat more meals at home or bring make ahead meals to work, print out a copy of my free printable meal planning template and plot out your meals in minutes.
8. Take up drinking.
Quit whining like Chewbaca when you overspend. Adopt a frugal lifestyle (you don’t have to tell anyone) and spend less on the weekends. No one needs to know your frugal living plans but your wallet. Schedule a bunch of low-cost weekends in advance and book up your calendar to put your savings on autopilot.
The Bottom Line
If you are looking to spend less, you can cut back without being extreme. Use some of these tips mentioned next time to spend less and keep yourself on budget. Setting a goal from the beginning can help you have a focus for savings and help you determine a quantifiable number.