Are you finding you’ve got a little too much month at the end of the money? You’re not alone! But just because you’ve got plenty of company in your budget issues doesn’t make them any less painful. If you’d like to get some relief — and fast — here are some simple ways to spend less this month. Who knows — you might even end up with a few extra bucks in the bank!
1. Grocery Shop Solo
If you’re anything like me, this is practically a miniature vacation! When I grocery shop alone, I get to take my time and let my mind wander. I can decide to buy the cheapest generics of what I need and nobody is there to object. I can get in, grab what’s on my list, and leave without being pestered for colorful cereal or other junk. But the best thing about grocery shopping solo is that you tend to spend less than if you take someone — like your kids — with you.
2. Get Thrifty
When you or the kids need new clothes, check your local thrift store or Goodwill first! There is no reason to pay more if you can find what you need there — and most often it doesn’t look any more worn than what you’d pull out of your own closet. You frequently find things that still have original store tags on them. When my family had some professional photos done, we got all our coordinating outfits at a thrift store. We only spent around $40.
3. Avoid Impulse Buys
Whether it’s at the grocery store, the mall, or online, learn to take a deep breath and think about a purchase before heading to the checkout or throwing something in your cart. Close your eyes and ask yourself 1) will I really be glad I bought this? 2) do I really need it? 3) is this what I came here for? If the answer to any of those is no, put it back. Wait at least 48 hours, and chances are you’ll resist the temptation or forget about it altogether.
4. Have a Potluck Instead of Going Out
Rather than go out with friends for dinner, have a potluck meal at someone’s home. You can even give it a fun theme like appetizers, or international dishes. In our world, we have guinea pig nights where everyone has to bring a dish they’ve never made before, so everyone else is their “guinea pig.” It’s always a hit!
5. Round Up Your Purchases
It goes without saying that anyone trying to save money should be living on a budget. But as you shop, there’s a nifty trick that will help you automatically save some money. Every time you buy something, round it up to the next dollar when you record the purchase (you’re doing that, right?). At the end of the month, see how much you’ve saved!