Welcome to Financial Fridays! Are you looking for financial advice so that you can obtain financial freedom, meet your savings & investing goals and retire early? Well you're in the right place. Here's 5 quick tips on things to do, to help you save money now.
1) Stop paying too much for insurance!
I remember the first time I switched over my car insurance I was 19 with a brand new Hyundai and my monthly payment had just increased by $54! I called and asked why and they informed me that rates all across the state has increased, as they do biannually. I called around, found a better price and cancelled that day. Six months later I did it again, at this point I had gotten $20 below my ORIGINAL insurance rate. I did this a few more times. I no longer have to do this because I finally settled down with State Farm. They give me great discounts for bundling all of my insurance needs. But, I suggest switch and cancel at least once to add big savings to your budget.
2) Stop buying expensive clothes, especially for your kids!
I have a growing 5 year old boy who I like to look good. He has just as many Ralph Lauren shirts and Levis as the next kid. But, I NEVER pay full price, like ever. There are a couple things I do to keep the clothing budget cheap. I shop sales and consignment when shopping for my little guy. I check out the back of Atlanta Parent to figure out what consignment sales our coming up in our neighborhood. I also frequently shop at store like, Marshalls, TJ Maxx and Ross to find him name brands for cheap. When I need to stock up on school clothes and graphic tees, I aim for Crazy 8's, Children's Place and Zulily. I love these stores the most when they send me 10% to 25% off coupons.
Two tactics I use to keep the closet and wallet full are 1) buying in advance and 2) shopping off season. I shop for Deuce's summer clothes the winter before and vice versa. I will get him pretty much anything with a great sale price. He was 6 months old with outfits in his closet up to size 3T. My philosophy is that he's going to grow, I might as well buy these $1 shirts now.
I honestly don’t shop for myself much, I haven't grown in years. But, when I do I typically stick to the sales racks and online deals.
3) Stop eating out and start eating in!
So, I recently reviewed my spending over the past 12 months and I was shocked to see I spent nearly as much on food as I did on general shopping. Overall, I spent WAYYYY too much money eating out. It’s an expense I’m definitely focused on cutting this year. There are two key ways to start eating more at home and out less, trust me your wallet will thank you. I know you'll miss lunch with your co-workers, but financial freedom tastes better.
Meal planning: This is the primary method I use to cut costs. I plan out my meals for the next two weeks before I go shopping. I sit at the dining table with the local grocery store ads and my computer open to the digital coupons that match. I create as many meals as possible based off what’s on sale, especially the proteins. I make sure to check the pantry and freezer inventory before heading out to avoid buying things we already have.
Meal prepping: This is level two of meal planning, I’ve done it before and I dream of living this life again. With meal prepping not only do you plan the meals in advance, but you cook large meals and portion them all out. When I meal plan I save about 30%, when I meal prep I save about 50% on total food costs monthly! I typically will only cook two days a week Sundays and Wednesday, I will cook 2-3 meals each prep night.
4) Start using cash and start leaving your cards at home!
The best way to not spend money, is to not have money. I save sooo much when I leave my credit and debit cards at home and only leave with my cash budget. I used to make excuses all the time to make sure my debit card stayed close (i.e. an emergency might happen, Deuce might get too hungry while we’re out, etc). Don’t be like me and make excuses. Instead, make a decision, to stand on the financial ground you mapped out.
5) Stop spending extra money on utilities!
Okay so I probably could write an eBook on all the ways you could possibly cut your utility costs. But, I’ll just share my favorites with you today.
Cut the cord. Do you really need that expensive cable? There are tons of cheaper options for TV that can save you money. Netflix, Hulu, Sling and a few others. Don’t forget to check out your local library. Many libraries host online movie databases to their card holders, for free.
Flip the switch. How many lights are on in rooms without people when you look around you? If you’re saying 2 or more you need to have a family meeting. The men of my house will literally leave on 5-7 lights on at a time!!!! Talk to the kids and the adults, let them know the importance of energy efficiency.
Use your resources wisely. I discovered that in Georgia electricity actually costs less between the hours of 11pm and 5am. What does that mean for me? If means that I schedule the dishwasher and laundry to complement those hours as much as possible to save me money. Most of the time I’m up anyways. Check into your local company to see when their peak hours are. Align your big energy activities during the off hours to save money.
I hope you guys have enjoyed this Financial Friday post! I look forward to assisting you with meeting your financial goals one day at a time. If you have any questions for me, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org