Today is Show Us Your Life Day at Kelly's Korner - tips for saving money
I was excited to see this topic, because the best way to save money is to talk to those who are good savers and are not in (or getting out of) debt
Naturally, most of us want to save money, but might not put the time and effort into doing so...whine, whine, whine.
1) First of all, when it comes to money, if you are a Christian, you are commanded to give a tithe (10%). I learned this at an early age and have always done this, even when the income was peanuts or unemployment. God has always provided for us financially, and has surprised us with unexpected blessings. I believe tithing reminds us of Who Is in charge...
Some might say "I will tithe when I make/get more money" Do you really want to wait for the blessings you will receive by showing God you trust Him to take care of you?
Tip - we use online banking for our bills, and also have our tithe automatically sent as soon as each paycheck comes in
2) Budget, pay cash, no debt. You can't save and be wealthy if you always have debt. If you have never taken Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University classes, we highly recommend it! This is not just for people wanting to get out of debt. You learn how to work with your spouse (money is #1 reason for failed marriages), learn about budgeting, insurance, investing, college, etc. You can go to his website www.DaveRamsey.com to find a class near you.
If we had paid more attention, we could have paid off our house before having kids and not have a mortgage payment. (hand smacking forehead)
Tip: Don't let the cost stop you, some churches have FPU scholarships available. Maybe you don't completely agree with him, but if you are in debt, what do you have to lose?
3) Make a list and stick to it, and don't window shop when you are bored.
I print out a blank calendar and fill it in with dinner plans for each night for a month, then I make a grocery list for each week. I take all 4 lists with me to the grocery store (just in case I see something I need on sale). We also buy all the meat for the month at once and freeze it.
Making a calendar like this prevents having to figure out what to cook later and wondering what ingredients you have. This has been great for us because with church 2 nights a week, school for me 2 nights a week, martial arts for my husband 2 nights a week, whoever happens to be home can start cooking dinner and not waste time. Also, if you have meals planned, you are less likely to go out to eat, which saves a ton of money.
4) Coupons = free money
There are great coupon sites such as southern savers, the coupon mom, etc. that tell you what's on sale and where to take your coupons. Of course, only buy what you need and will use.
5) skip expensive cleaners - white vinegar and water will clean and disinfect, and the smell evaporates as soon as it is dry. It cuts grease better than anything.
6) don't buy many new clothes, especially for kids - shop consignment sales for clothes. Clothes are really marked up in stores! click here to see how much I spent last time.
7)Cancel your satellite/cable service. We did this last summer and watch most of our shows online on hulu. The kids love PBS. Saves $50/month, $600/yr.
If you are thinking you could never do it, you might be a couch potato. Seriously, get moving. There is more to life... :)
8) Don't buy new books, dvds, or cds - check out your local library and used bookstores. My personal favorite is paperbackswap.com. On this free website, you can post books you don't want or need, when someone requests the book, you mail it to them. You can even pay the postage online and print out paper to mail the book in. In return, you get credits and can request books from other people. I got rid of books and old piano books this way, and got some of my college textbooks this way. big savings!! If you don't want to get rid of any of your books, you can buy credits to use, and this can be cheaper than amazon or ebay. There are sister sites too for trading DVDs and CDs.
9) Another way to save money - keep yourself organized. If you are constantly losing things, then you spend more money to replace what you cannot find. We are still working on this in our house, but we do keep a file box that has a folder for each month. Any paper bills and correspondence about insurance goes in there.
If you struggle with staying organized, check out FLYLADY. When I follow her advice, I FLY, but often I am fluttering. I sometimes get easily overwhelmed and/or spend too much time working on cleaning up. She says to set a timer for 15 min, and when the time goes off, quit. My favorite quote "you are not behind, just jump in..."
If all else fails, watch an episode of Hoarders. If that doesn't inspire you to clean up and organize your house, you should probably be ON the show...