Saving money doesn’t have to be a stressful, complicated, and tedious task. And budgets don’t just boil down to repetitive rules. We all know not to buy what we can’t afford and make sure to pay off credit cards on time, but certain expenses can be unavoidable. Luckily, it’s often the little things that can end up preserving your paycheck.
1. Have a Budget Bakeoff
Have a night in and cook up some fun with your friends. For less than the price of eating out, you can rent a movie and create a three-course meal – plus dessert.
2. There’s an app for that
Use budget tracking apps to prioritize your expenses, even if you use a note-taking app. It also helps to know how much of your paycheck to set aside to go toward taxes each month - before you budget.
3. Cut your cable bill
Paying for a cable plan is rarely worth it. There are a variety of streaming options available that let you watch when you want, when you want. Use our comparative list to find the one that best fits your needs.
4. Create account accountability
Do you have a budget buddy? Get one. Keep each other accountable for sticking to your respective budgets and savings goals. Exact amounts don’t have to be discussed, but keeping each other honest about little splurges, or chatting about clever ways you saved that week can be fun and informative.
5. Stop the stress sprees
If you find yourself tempted to stress shop, put $5 into a savings jar instead. This way, when you’re thinking a little more clearly at the end of the month you’ll have the option to either save the cash, or spend it a little more wisely.
6. Pick a packed lunch
Packing work lunches will save you big bucks on a weekly basis. You don’t have to pack a lunch every day, but the more often the better. Look for deals, coupons, and savings guides when planning out your meals for the week.
7. Find free fun
No matter where you live, there are always free activities and events. Check a local newspaper, online groups, Facebook events, or ask around to find new places for a night out. Brainstorm with friends to come up with your own ideas. From hiking to blowing bubbles at the beach, you might surprise yourselves by inventing new traditions.
8. Obey the habit jar
Ditch your bad habits by charging yourself a $5 fee whenever you break the rule. At the start of each month, choose what that month’s habit jar fund will go toward. Will you give it to a charity, put it in your vacation fund, add it to your savings account, or something else? The choice is up to you.
9. Give dollar deals a chance
Dollar stores and dollar sections can be hit and miss, but while not everything is worthwhile, you can find a lot of great deals. Sometimes the items are a real bargain for what you get in terms of quality and quantity. Make sure you go in with a list though to prevent yourself from buying things you don’t need.
10. Click those coupons
Our readers are already coupon savvy, but even the best of us can miss out on a good deal. The next time you whip out your wallet to buy something you might pay full price for, first check for coupons to see if you can save a little extra. There are always discounts available, no matter what you’re shopping for. Surprise yourself with savings!