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Monday, January 31, 2011

Ways To Save Money Part 1

Thought I would do another post with tips/advice as I often have friends ask about how to budget. I started writing down a lot of different ways that we save money and came up with a BIG list so I decided to do a few posts on the matter.

Who doesn't love to have some extra dollars here and there which add up so you can save them for retirement, a down payment on a house, a trip, or lots of crafting projects :)  This may sound crazy but making budgets and saving money is kinda fun to me... guess that is part of my organized side and my job in the finance world.

Ways to Save Money {Part 1}

1. Make a budget. How can you possibly figure out how to save money if you don't know how you are spending it? I made our budget in excel but I'm sure there are other applications out there to do this as well. Separate it by month and put your revenue at the top and subtract out expenses. We like to use expense categories such as Mortgage, Utilities, Gas, Food & Essentials, Restaurants, Entertainment, Miscellaneous. But you can do yours however makes sense for your family. Look at your credit card purchases and keep all receipts so you can do this at the end of every month.

2. BYOL (bring your own lunch). Here is some simple math: lunch at your local sandwich place: $8 x 2 people x 5 days a week = $80. 1 loaf of bread, 1 lb turkey, cheese, veggies, fruit, crackers to feed 2 people for 5 days = $15  In a year, you can save $3380! Sounds like a no brainer to me!

3. Don't buy coffee/tea drinks from coffee places. You can save a ton by buying coffee/tea at the store and making it at home or drink the free stuff they provide at your work. I personally don't drink coffee but I know this is something very important to some so if you must then just try to cut back a little. I know people that go buy coffee 2 times a day every day which really adds up.

4. Drink water. Water at restaurants, your office, etc. is free (and better for you than other drinks) and usually filtered. Much cheaper than soda and other drinks.

5. Get a Reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water. Now that you are drinking more water, might as well refill something instead of spending money on multiple bottles. This is what I use and I love it. It never leaks even if it gets turned upside down in my bag.

from Target
 6. Cook at home. We only go out to eat once a week for dinner and cook-in the rest for a few reasons: it is cheaper, healthier especially in the sense that you know what goes into your food, and we simply enjoy cooking together. We even get together with friends pretty often to eat at someones house/apt and switch off so the costs are rotated.

chicken santa fe
7. Buy lots of produce. Buying in season fruits and veggies is very cheap. People say that it can be really expensive to eat/cook healthy and I disagree. For example, bananas which seem to always be in season are like a dollar for 5 or 6 bananas... extremely cheap! Almost the same thing for roma tomatoes too.

8. Incorporate food items like raisins, craisens, and canned beans that are cheap and versatile. And healthy to have on hand for throwing into salads, wraps, and various dishes. I love throwing chickpeas into things and always have some in my pantry.

9. Use the food you have already so you don't waste. Need to buy chicken stock or ricotta cheese for a meal and don't use all of it? Well make a point to have meals the next week use up the items you have so they don't end up expiring in your fridge. We are often guilty of this and are making it a goal to do better about it this year. It amazes me how much food gets thrown out.

10. Pack a snack. I have some friends that tease me about this but hey, it saves money. It is wonderful for people like me who like to eat small amounts throughout the day. If you are out running errands or on a trip, snacks from home are much cheaper than what you will find having to stop somewhere for something to eat. Granola bars are great for this.

Stay tuned for at least 2 more sessions with many more tips.
These are my opinions on useful ways I have found to save some mulah... some you may like and dislike but hopefully they at least get you thinking :)

Linking up to these parties:


  1. Em - You and E would love We have been using it for more than 2 years. Its a free online tool where you sync up all your accounts and can categorize them, see charts, etc. Its perfect for me, the money-conscious wife and him, the finance husband.

  2. Hello, I've popped over from the newbie blog party. All good ideas on saving money. I used to eat lunch out 4-5 times a week. One day I sat down and figured up how much I was spending. After that, I started brownbagging!

  3. Thanks for sharing some great tips, I do most of these anyway but its always good to be reminded why! I've popped over from Debbiedoos

  4. good tips! Cute blog. I'm a new follower.

    Id love if you would visit me


  5. Was just blog browsing and came across yours. Very nice money saving tips. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Great tips! Thanks for sharing, and linking up to DotDotDot! You're great! I can't wait to see more of your tips!!
    Thanks girl!


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