I know I’m not alone when I say I’m living on a budget. I’ve spent my life living on a budget but this year is one when my budgeting skills really come in handy and being frugal pays off (pun not really intended). I’m definitely that girl who will compare prices on flights on numerous websites to make sure she’s not paying more than she needs to or will go through the hassle of rebates because in my eyes, cash back is always worth it.
With that said, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my top tips for saving money. Many of these I have known and used throughout the years (so you probably do too) but some are a little bit newer so hopefully you’ll walk away with some new information!
Set a budget and track expenses – I know this sounds simple but do it! I’m all about tracking my expenses and even if I’m not following a super strict budget, if I see I’m spending a bit more on groceries this month, I’ll try to watch it on another expense so everything still averages out. Before hitting the road for 50 States, I could look at my basket of groceries and know about how much it was costing me, how long it would feed me and each month spent the same amount on food.
Meal Plan – This is definitely a big one! For so many I think “meal plan” seems to strict. I don’t meal plan for a certain meal happening each day, I meal plan with a few ideas of what to cook for the week and make my grocery list around those ideas. Sometimes they happen as planned and sometimes it’s a similar version of my original idea. The point being you’re using the same ingredients originally planned for and there’s less (or hopefully no) food waste.
Buy what’s fresh/in-season – This is another big one when it comes to groceries! The price on berries when they’re out of season is through the roof, not to mention the berries don’t even taste very good then. If you really want strawberries and it’s the wrong season, buy some from the frozen foods section and let them thaw out or blend them into a smoothie. You’ll be much happier and so will your wallet.
Coupons, coupons – You don’t HAVE to become one of those crazy couponers you see on TV but if you notice a coupon for a product you use, hang onto it. When you’re at the grocery store and they have a little booklet with coupons, take a seconds and flip through it. If you find a coupon for something you use or were planning to buy, USE the coupon! It doesn’t make you a pain (to the cashier or people behind you in line), it makes you SMART. Save money!
Ibotta / Berry Cart – These are apps for your phone that help you earn cash back when you shop! You get to browse through by category and nearby deals for cash back on items you purchase. Keep your eye on the purchase dates or other factors but for the most part, they’ve been super easy to use!
Ebates – Ebates has been around for awhile but if you don’t know it, it’s a website that helps you get cash back on your online purchases. Anytime I’m going to buy something online, I always head over to Ebates first and see if there’s a way I can get cash back before making my purchase. Whether shopping for certain items online or purchasing travel, this is a must!
These are just a few of my top tips to save money…what are yours?