Whether you’re saving for a holiday or something special, or if you’re just wanting to reign in the spending a little bit, there are so many ways to save money without feeling like you’re missing out.
You don’t have to start eating tuna and beans for every meal and turning off all the lights to live by candlelight (although you can if you really want…).
Just a few small changes and actually thinking about how you spend your money and being intentional with it can make all the difference.
Here are some different ways to save money that you can adopt. Use one or two, or use them all. Whatever works for you.
1 – Find 10 Recipes You Love and Can Cook For Less Than $10
This is a big one. We spend SO much money on food. And it’s easy to do. By the time you spend $20 per kilogram for meat, add in some veggies and bits and pieces, you can easily spend upwards of $35 – $40 for a basic meal!
Do that every night for a week and you’ll be spending $280 on dinners alone! That’s crazy!
But it doesn’t mean you have to eat unhealthy food either. Dishes like quiche, zucchini noodles and chicken, roast chicken and veggies or even ‘brinner’ (that’s breakfast for dinner, bacon and eggs) can be quite budget-friendly.
2 – Meal Plan
One of my friends has been raving about meal planning for ages. She swears by it. So we thought we would try it and oh my gosh it makes such a difference.
Rather than ducking to the shops every day to buy whatever we feel like for dinner that night (plus all the extras you buy each time) we can plan out our whole week and even plan to create meals with leftovers too.
We also include on our meal plans the times where we can or need to make extras for lunch the following day or if we can make a double batch of something and freeze it.
3 – Grocery Shop Once a Week
As mentioned above, when you go to the grocery store every day, you tend to buy a whole lot more than what you need.
If you create your meal plan, include some of your $10 meals, work out what groceries you need and go shopping once a week with a list, you are going to save a fortune.
We were able to reduce our spending on groceries by around $200 a month just by being smart and strategic about when we went grocery shopping.
You can even take it to the next level by shopping online and getting your groceries delivered to you. I guarantee the amount you pay for delivery will be far less than the amount you overspend when you go shopping. It’s a great way to stick to your list and only buy what you need.
Installing the Ebates browser extension means you can also get cashback on your purchases. To be honest, I was a bit skeptical to start off with, thinking it wouldn’t actually be worth it, but then I started getting cashback on things I was purchasing anyway (like Amazon) and it was a no-brainer. You can even get cashback on your groceries!
4 – Make Your Own Coffee
How many times do you grab a takeaway coffee on the way to work? Or when you travel somewhere?
I used to do this all the time – at least 4 – 5 times a week. That’s at least $25 each week. Times that by two (because my husband drinks even more coffee than I do) and we were spending over $50 a week on takeaway coffee.
That’s a lot of money.
Instead, we purchased good quality travel coffee cups and buy nicer coffee for home and make our coffees before we go anywhere. Plus I think our coffee tastes better anyway!
5 – Invite Friends Over For Dinner Instead of Going Out
We don’t exactly have the most active social life, but between dinners out with friends and dinners out with family, it’s easy to start spending a whole lot of money just to socialise!
Mix things up! You don’t have to miss out on your social life, but instead take turns in ‘hosting’ dinner. You’d spend around the same to feed everyone as what you would to pay for your own dinner out and you get to take it in turns.
You still get to socialise, you also get to cook for others which is the best way to cook and you save a whole heap of money in the meantime.
6 – Create a Budget
It took me a long time to realise that budgets aren’t just for people on low incomes – they are for people who are smart about their money.
Think about any successful bussiness, they wouldn’t fly blind with their income and expenses. They would know exactly what is coming in and going out and when.
Manage your money like a business would. Create an income and expenses spreadsheet (or write it all out on paper) and make sure you do one each pay cycle, because we have different expenses each pay cycle that you need to take into consideration.
You don’t have to cut everything out and aim to ‘save’ the most. You just have to be realistic with your expectations and aware of what your spending habits are.
7 – Swap Out Expensive Products For Homemade Equivalents
Beauty products and cleaning products can cost a small fortune, but you can make amazing versions of some of these products at home for just a fraction of the cost.
A simple search on Pinterest will give you a ton of inspiration and instruction on how you can do this for your home and beauty routine too.
8 – Use Cash Back Sites
I have to admit, I was pretty darn sceptical of these when I first heard about them…. I didn’t understand how (or why) they would work. But I reluctantly signed up for the account, it was free after all, installed the extension, and just kept shopping.
And then I got my first cash back notice… and I was hooked.
The two cash back sites I use are Rakuten and Shopback. Rakuten is predominantly in the US, and Shopback is what I use for Australian stores. (If you sign up using the links above you get a bonus cash back when you start shopping).
Here’s the kicker, I do my groceries online (meal planning for the win), and then use my Shopback extension to get cash back on every single grocery shop!!!
Remember to install the Rakuten browser extension when shopping online or use the Rakuten App to shop on your phone to make sure you get your Cashback! I had over $1000 in Cashback last year just by clicking the button. When you join using this link, you get $30 cashback as soon as you spend $30 in the app!
So while it may feel that you need to give up so much in order to save money, that’s not always the case. There are heaps of ways to save money without having to give up all the little luxuries you have or miss out on the exciting things in your life too!