Currently, Chris and I are going through a transitional period. He works, but I’m just about to graduate from university. This means that while I’m on the job hunt, we need to be extra careful about how we spend. After I can secure a job, we plan on making some big changes to our finances (including more saving, and a lot more paying off debt), so these are just some things that we are trying to do right now, while we come up to this major life transition.
1. Selling/Donating What I don’t Need– Right now, we’re moving into a new home and have been really making a point of going through everything we own to donate or sell things that we don’t need. Not only have we made a little extra cash by selling things, but getting rid of clutter seems to keep me from purchasing new things, hence, saving more money.
2. Couponing/Shopping Deals/Stockpiling– I’ve been doing this for years now, and it really adds up. At the beginning of 2012, I started journaling exactly how much I was saving from couponing, and by May I had saved just under $500 in coupons, face value alone (I stopped keeping track after that, sadly). That’s not to mention the free products and samples you start getting once you really immerse yourself in the coupon world.
3. Eliminating Redundant Expenses– We pay for the Internet with a large number of GB each month and also have a great cable package, yet we still pay for Netflix. Sure, we watch Netflix, but we could be watching the piles of DVDs we have instead of spending the extra money each month. Think of the redundant costs you have- if you never use long distance, is it worth it for you to have both a home phone and a cell phone? Small decisions like these can make a big effect.
4. Simple Budgeting– I found the Mint App a while ago, and believe it or not, it’s helped me save a lot of money. I guess I really didn’t realize how much money I was spending on things like fast food until the app laid it out in plain sight for me to see. It’s hard to realize how much you spend in a category until it’s added up and placed in a visual. It’s scary to know that eating out is taking up 30% of your monthly budget.
5. Stopping Buying Things I Really Don’t Need– This is the most obvious one, but the one that we all fault on the most. It’s so hard to stop yourself while in the store, or while you’re hungry and nowhere near home, but right now I’m really focusing on doing this. I’ve really taken stock on what I have at home (my clothes, kids clothes, food stockpiles, etc.) to make sure I know what not to buy. I’m tired of seeing my bank accounts wither away on things I have no true use for.