I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for ways to trim down my budget in order to save for things that are important to me, like travel, while still enjoying things I love everyday. That’s a mouthful, isn’t it?
I want to have my daily latte, a nice place to live, and my trips abroad. I think you can have all three, and anything else you want if you are willing to make sacrifices where you can. Think along the lines of: “You can afford anything, just not everything.”
I’ve made some changes to my routines that have affected my ability to save immensely.
1. Invest in an espresso machine.
This seems like a typical suggestion, and it might be, but making my coffee at home has saved my household $400 over the course of three months. A coffee budget of $200 per month might seem crazy, but when there are two of you having lattes three to four times a week, that’s how much you end up spending every month.
The Nespresso Pixie Machine (with the milk frother!) was at the top of my christmas wish list and I think it was worth every penny. Yes, it requires making an investment (at about $230) but the savings add up extremely quickly after that. We now pay around $150 for a three month supply of coffee. The savings are insane and have freed up so much money in our budget.
2. Buy used books.
I am an avid reader and usually go through two or so books each week. I also have very little patience for waiting for books at the library and prefer to build my own library at home. That’s why I was thrilled to discover Thriftbooks.
Books are super discounted (about $4 per book) and they offer FREE SHIPPING!! There is also almost always a discount code available so be sure to check the Thriftbooks site for one (I recently used the code “NEWYEAR1” for 20 percent off five or more books).
A few days ago, I bought nine books for $25. That’s amazing for me considering in December I paid $16 for two ebooks from Amazon.
3. Keep your heat off (or low).
This might not be an option for everyone, but as someone who prefers the cold to extreme heat, it’s a sacrifice I can live with. I only ever turn the heat on if the outside temperature drops into the 30s or below. So far, it hasn’t been a problem and we’ve only had to turn the heat on for a handful of days this winter.
This might not be an option if you live in a particularly cold area, but in that case, it may be beneficial for you to check the seals around your windows and doors to keep cold air out.
4. Use what you already have.
I recently discovered that I have a ton of shampoo, conditioner, and soap that I’ve hardly used. Half empty bottles get shoved to the back of my cabinets when I’ve decided I’ve had enough of them and want to try something new. Over the past few months I’ve dedicated myself to using what I have instead of buying new products. This has easily saved me $10-15 every month.
I have also found that it can be helpful to clean out your makeup drawer and cabinets and get rid of the stuff you don’t, and know you won’t, ever use. It frees up space and let’s you keep on top of what you have left.
The same principle applies to pretty much everything in your home. Check your pantry, your cleaning supplies, etc. for things that have previously gone unused before you buy something new.
5. Go meatless a few times per week.
Purchasing meat, especially hormone-free or grain-fed meat, is expensive. One pound of chicken costs around $8-10 where I live; a can of black beans is a mere 75 cents in comparison. Eliminating meat from several meals a week saves me $20-30 per month. While I wholly support Meatless Mondays, I also support going meatless on other days of the week as well.
If you are worried about your protein intake, don’t be. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite Meatless High-Protein Recipes to help get you started.
6. The Cartwheel App for Target.
I recently started using the Cartwheel App when I shop at Target – which is incidentally where I do all of my grocery shopping. To date, I’ve saved $17.61 over the course of five visits. It may not seem like much, but it sure adds up in my opinion.
As a bonus, it’s also been encouraging me to buy Target’s generic brands instead of name brands which are usually cheaper to begin with and pretty much always have a discount through the app. You can also stack your Cartwheel savings with manufacturer’s coupons and your Target card discount.
P.S. We also support Checkout51 for our Canadian readers.
If you’re willing to make a few small changes and sacrifices to your current routines, you might be surprised at how much money you can save. I’m always looking for ways to tweak my budget and make lifestyle changes that I can live with in order to reach my financial goals, fund my wanderlust, and still live comfortably on a daily basis.
Have you made any changes to your lifestyle to save money? I’d love to hear them!
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