Saving money has become a way of life the last couple of years. As a small business owner working freelance jobs and workshops income can be somewhat unpredictable. The biggest reason for saving is that Kyle and I are saving up for a renovation of our future farmhouse home AND a wedding! It can all be overwhelming.
I'm definitely not an extreme couponer (though if you are.. teach me your ways!), but, we've come up with a few creative ways to save money that don't take much extra effort at all! I thought I'd share a few of my favorite tips for those who are trying to put away some extra savings. My biggest splurging weaknesses are probably healthy food & coffee!
1. Sign up for Mint, a free personal finance app to set a budget & track your spending. It's equal parts terrifying and gratifying to see where your money goes each month. Or, if you're more of a pen and paper kind of girl, check out this cute Budget Notebook to plan your budget & help you pay off debts.
2. Head to the Thrift Store. It's one of my favorite places to find unique décor for our home (sometimes all it needs is a coat of spraypaint), new books to read or coffee table books to display, and every so often a designer label fashion treasure.
3. Get rid of Cable. We use Netflix & Hulu Plus in lieu of cable and honestly, I don't miss it one bit. I'm never lacking a new show to binge watch! If you have a roommate it's even more affordable!
4. Search for coupons & promo codes before making a purchase online. My favorite resources are Retail Me Not & Coupons.com
5. Throw spare change in a piggy bank (I love this version) & use that as your Starbucks fund. Did I mention I love coffee?
6. Attend free local events or venues. Madison always has something going on whether it's live music, gallery nights, or cultural festivities. We love finding fun, unique things to do.
7. Sign up for E-Bates to earn cash back when you shop online! So much yes.
8. Ask for gift card as presents. Kyle & I love to spend our date nights trying out new restaurants, but eating out gets really expensive. So, for the holidays we asked for a gift card for our local restaurant group so we can put the money towards savings instead.
9. Shop during sales. If I am making a non-necessity purchase (i.e. anything other than groceries & the essentials), I try to shop during sales to save the most. I love the Shopami app which manages all of your incoming sales directly from your email inbox.
10. Have Friends Over for Potlucks. It's not always necessary to play hostess and make & buy all of the food and drinks for friends. Instead, choose a theme and have friends all bring a dish to contribute & their own alcohol. We've had grilled cheese nights, grill outs & bacon night!
11. Sign up for Amazon Prime. Not only do you get free 2-day shipping on millions of Prime items, but you also can access Amazon Prime Instant Video.
12. Meal Plan. Spend a couple of hours on Sunday planning out your meals & make a trip to the grocery if necessary. It means you'll be less likely to let food go to waste or need to order food delivery because you "literally have nothing to eat" (we know we've all been there)!
13. Go to Matinees & Cheap Movie Nights: Like I mentioned, even though we're trying to save we love a good date night. Instead of heading to the movies on Friday or Saturday night we'll go to the bargain $5 Tuesday showing or a morning matinee.
14. Use Store Shopping Apps: If you frequent a store consider downloading their app for extra savings. Some grocery stores make coupon-ing extra easy by letting you scan them directly from your phone. I'm a big fan of Target's Cartwheel app. Lord knows I'm there enough!
15. Barter & Trade with Friends: Consider trading services with friends to help you both save more money. For example, if your friends a stylist & you do social media consider having her help you organize your closet in exchange for your marketing expertise. Or better yet, set up a clothes swap with stylish friends to trade your favorite pieces.
What are your favorite ways to save money?