Sometimes the easiest ways to save money fall close to home. For so many, just the thought of changing a spending habit in order to save more money causes a cold sweat and heart palpitations. But if you get creative, saving money can be easier than you think.
Below a few of our AFC® certified professionals and candidates offer some easy tips for saving money on everyday expenses. You don’t have to take money away from what you value most—just find ways to free up funds that you didn’t know you had! The additional savings can go toward saving for education, retirement and being prepared for those unexpected life emergencies.
- Go through your closet—and storage before going shopping! “I knew I still had that shirt somewhere!” See what you already have on hand before hitting the stores! ~ Kate Mielitz, AFC®
- Thrift stores are a great way to save money on clothes. And then when you’re done, donate them right back! ~ Dana Chitwood, AFC® Certification candidate
- Struggling to make ends meet but still want the treats? Buy day old cakes and breads at discount and freeze them. Defrost slowly on the counter and they’ll be like fresh!
- There’s a 3 prong approach to grocery shopping in order to save:
- Grocery List: A grocery list reminds you of the item you need to purchase and it also will remind you that you need a coupon for that item, too.
- Coupons: Create an email account for your family (ie SmithFamilyCoupons@xxxxx.com) so you can receive coupons, rebates and discounts to that email account so you will have one main location for your coupons.
- Meal Planner: Use a meal planner to ensure you have accounted for all foods needed to create each meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks) that way you can ensure you’re purchased a variety of foods for the week and you won’t feel the need eat out as much. ~ Erica F. Drame, AFC®
- Make your own coffee (not with Keurig pods). ~ Jennifer Lear, AFC®
- Always always drink water. If a family of four eats out once a week and only drinks water, they will save enough money in a year to pay for a new set of tires! ~ Dana
- If the restaurant gives big portions, plan to bring home your leftovers for lunch, or split a dish. Sometimes it’s cheaper and fun to order several appetizers for the whole table to split and only eat these. ~ Dana
- Keep your car for at least 10 years. ~ Jennifer Lear, AFC®
- Buy used, or the previous year’s model, when purchasing a car. ~ Carlos Colon, AFC®
- Turn out the lights when you leave a room. Big draws on power are dryers, irons, hair dryers. With some attention, a large home can reduce the power bill to under $100 per month for a typical 3000 sq. ft. home. ~ Dana
- Often, the cable companies offer new customer incentives; but once the initial time is up, your rate rises. When this happens, call the company and ask if the cheaper rate can be reinstated. Many times, they will reduce the rate but you will have to call again every 6 months. This is only available to customers who always pay on time. ~ Dana
- Try to lock in a fixed rate for your gas bill out of season, when the rates can be lower. Also, check the setting on your water heater to ensure it is set at the appropriate temperature; and make sure you reduce the dial when you go out of town. ~ Dana
Make your own Laundry Detergent and stain remover.
Homemade laundry detergent is a great way to increase savings at the grocery store. This recipe can also be found in a liquid version on the internet. It is safe to use in all machines.
A spray on spot remover that is safe for colors. Just spray, let sit and wash!
- 1 part Dawn dishwashing liquid
- 2 parts Hydrogen Peroxide
Think Outside the Box:
- Trade services with friends—I don’t sew, so if I want something fixed or hemmed, I’ll offer to babysit for a friend who does in exchange for sewing services. ~ Kate
- Need a deep clean on your house, but can’t afford a housekeeping service? Have a cleaning party and rotate houses once per month. Everyone who helps gets in on the cleaning rotation—cheaper, and a good time with friends! ~ Kate
What are some of your top thrifty tips for frugal living?