Regardless of your level of income, everyone could stand to save a little bit more money each month. Being able to save money is great for a lot of reasons, especially as the savings can help you reach short, medium and long term goals. I know I didn’t always have a money saving mindset as it was one that I had to develop over time.
As a reformed spender I now look for opportunities to make money work for me as opposed to wasting it needlessly on things I just don’t need. If you’re looking to cut the fat from your budget, consider some of these common, yet still effective ways to save money.
#1 – Stop Dining Out So Often
Everyone enjoys a nice meal out from time to time, but dining out too often can quickly become a gaping budget leak. Eating at a restaurant is considerably more expensive than cooking for yourself at home on a regular basis, not to mention less healthy.
You don’t have to be an experienced chef to create tasty meals at home that will satisfy the family and save money at the same time. Even if you only cook at home an extra two times per week compared to what you usually do, that difference can mean a nice amount of money in your savings account at the end of the year. It’s all about taking steps. Find something you can start with and build from there.
#2 – Drop the Gym Membership
Do you have a gym membership that hardly gets used? You aren’t alone. I used to be the same way with my 24 Hour Fitness membership that I didn’t use. Countless people across the country are members of a gym that they barely ever visit. Of course, a gym membership can be a great investment in your health and fitness if you actually use it – but it is simply a waste of money if you don’t go.
If you find that you don’t have time to use your membership, or you are able to get exercise in other ways, drop that monthly payment to quickly save some money. With the average gym membership costing $58 per month just imagine the savings you can have while working out at home.
#3 – Watch Movies at Home
There is no way around it, going to movies in person is expensive. However, there are more at-home entertainment options available than ever before, and many of them are cheap. Consider having a date night at home and watch a movie on your own TV to save money over the theater.
If you have something like Netflix or can stream a movie on Amazon then that $20 or $30 can be used elsewhere in your budget. My wife do this quite a bit ourselves and use our Amazon Fire TV Stick to stream anything we want. With that and Netflix we’re covered in terms of movie watching.
#4 – Find Free Activities
You don’t have to buy expensive tickets or equipment to enjoy yourself with activities on the weekends. There are countless free, or cheap, options that can lead to fun for the whole family. Check your local city and county websites for ideas that are open to the public that don’t come with a major cost. Better yet, you can stay home and play a board game which will cost you nothing at all.
#5 – Save Money By Planning Ahead for Purchases
Impulse buying can be a killer when it comes to maintaining a smart budget, so take your time and only make purchases after you have thought them through completely. One of the best ways to do this is to plan ahead for your purchases. This may not always be possible with all purchases but most large ones can be handled this way. We do this in our home in order to not only find the best deal possible but also find something that will fit our needs well.
What are some other guaranteed ways you can think of to save money? What is one thing you refuse to pay for or can’t believe others spend money on? How do you balance wanting to save money while also living life?
Photo courtesy of: Steven DePolo