16 Ways to Save Money- A Challenge for 2013
Whether you are already pinching pennies or just starting out as a frugal consumer, this article will highlight ways to save money. Over the years, I have found many ways to save money. This year I am challenging myself to 12 new ways to save money. First, I want to share what works for me NOW:
1. Minimize your wardrobe- To begin, only purchase items that you LOVE!! Try to find items that you can wear with more than one item and are practical.
2. Menu plan and shop with a grocery list- Take fifteen minutes or so a week and plan your menu. From your menu, you will then make a list of the ingredients that you need. MOST IMPORTANTLY, stick to your list!!!!
3. Do not make impulse purchases / never pay retail- Surf the web for coupons before going out to make any purchases. If you can't find a coupon, do you really need the item? Can you wait until it is on sale?
4. Shop used- If you have not been thrift store shopping yet, I recommend giving it a try. You can pay $20 for a new shirt, or go to Goodwill and get 5-6 gently used shirts for that price! Need furniture, scout Craigslist for the perfect item. If you have the patience, you can definitely find what your looking for! Our big score last year; a FREE slate pool table!!!
My Plans for 2013
January- Create a Budget
A budget is important in helping you understand where your money is going each month. I am breaking my budget down into appropriate categories. I have my fixed expenses; mortgage, insurance and cell phone. Then, I have utilities which vary each month. Later in the year, I will be focusing on trying to get the electric bill lower. Then, I set a limit for the varied expenses. To take care of the odds and ends, I have named that category "misc." Currently, our grocery budget is $300 but I hope to work it down by another $100. I have just started implementing the envelope system for misc. and groceries. The rule of thumb for the cash envelope is that when you run out of money, you are done for the month! This will be hard, but I believe it will motivate me to ensure that I spend under $300!
I will look over and revise the budget at the end of each month. The system I will be using is just a piece of paper to keep track of our expenses. Deducting an expense from the budget on paper makes it real for me, I am forced to think about my purchases. I believe there are several ways to budget and you will need to experiment with what works best for you just as long as you know where your money is going!!!!
February- Learn to Coupon
The average person can drop anywhere between $500-$1000 a month at the grocery store just on four people or less! I think $100 a week is a reasonable goal if you are just beginning to save money! The Krazy Coupon Lady video featured in this article shows us how to feed a family of four for $40 a week. $160 to feed my family for a month, sign me up!!!
March- Call Service Providers to Ensure You Are Getting the Best Price
Several companies offer savings just for signing up for their paperless billing, usually five dollars or so! Many tell you that to call each year and ensure that you are getting the best rate.
April- Get Rid of Cable
I could go either way on this one. If having cable is your splurge, by all means keep it! We live in a semi-rural area so when we first moved in we were under the impression that we needed to have some sort of service to even have the basic channels. We have the cheapest package available with our provider; $29.99 for the family package. Basically, this includes the local channels and the kids channels (Nick, Disney, etc.) With fees and one HD receiver our total per month is $46.99!!! This is crazy to me because we watch tv for about two hours tops total for the whole day and most of the time it is the free channels. We found that we can purchase a roku and an indoor antenna, which will allow us to get back to our free tv!
May- Pretend We Are a One-Car Family
I was inspired to pretend we are a one car family by reading the book, 7. Similar to the author, we are not ready or willing to just have one car. However, I think it would be interesting to compare the savings between having just one car as opposed to two. Considering the fact that my husband drives a truck, we will drive my more fuel efficient car for the month and bank the money that we would normally spend on fuel for his truck.
Since my family and I LOVE eating fruits and veggies, we are going to attempt to grow our own this year!!
July- Pre-order to Get Best Price
For us, this applies to our propane bill. We moved into our house less than 2 years ago, so it took me awhile to realize that the price of propane is a lot lower in the warmer months and more expensive in the cold months. For a penny pincher like me, they offer a prepayment plan which would save a ton of money.
August- Hang Laundry
Since I dislike ironing, I will leave the clothes out to dry and stick them in the dryer for 5 minutes to get the wrinkles out.
September- Hand-wash Dishes
Out of all the household chores there are, I actually enjoy doing the dishes. I might as well save money by hand-washing dishes and running the dishwasher a lot less frequently in order to save money on our electric bill.
October- Make Your Own Cleaners
Thanks to Pinterest, we now have access to several different recipes for homemade cleaners. I have seen homemade window and floor cleaners, homemade laundry detergents and homemade bath soap. I plan to at least give these cleaners a try.
November- Freezer Cooking
Something I have always wanted to try because I believe it will save me A LOT of time and money! Having meals all ready to stick in the oven or crock pot helps eliminate the last minute decision to just go pick up fast food.
December- Make Hand-made Gifts for the Holidays
I opted for a much simpler Christmas this year and thoroughly enjoyed the season! With the aide of Pinterest and other websites, I plan to make several of my gifts this year in an effort to save money.
I plan to be more intentional in my efforts to save money in 2013, will you join me in the challenge? Please share your money-saving ideas! I am always up for new ways to save money!!