8 Realistic Ways To Save Money In Your Budget

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Are you living paycheck to paycheck? Maybe your looking for realistic ways to save money in your budget every month?

Last year, money was really tight for us. We were paying two mortgages, and pretty much living paycheck to paycheck. We had to find ways to save so that all of our monthly expenses would be covered.

So, I want to share with you the 8 brilliant ways to save money that helped us stretch our paycheck a bit further, and save thousands each year.

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Tip # 1: Stop Buying From Coffee Shops

For me, there is nothing better than a coffee from Starbucks to start your morning, especially when it’s so conveniently placed across from the kid’s school. 

Every morning, I spent $5.83 on a latte (don’t judge me-I was in survival mode). But that latte five times a week was costing me $116.60 every month!

That is $1399.20 a year…Ummm WHAT!!! I had no idea. So, my Starbucks coffee was the first thing that got the ax.  

The solution? I got an awesome coffee maker for Christmas and started making my own coffee and saved that $5.83 every day. Now I can make all the fancy coffee drinks I want, and the best part…I am saving over $1000 a year, making my own coffee at home.  

realistic ways to save money

Tip #2: Cut the Cable

If you haven’t already canceled your cable, I highly recommend it. At first, the idea of getting rid of cable can seem impossible. I mean, how will I watch all my favorite TV shows?

Not to worry, tons of subscriptions offer free or way cheaper alternatives to fill that void. A couple great options for free TV are Peacock TV and Pluto TV.

We canceled our cable two years ago when the contract was up, and haven’t looked back. We subscribe to a couple paid subscription under $20/month, and we now save $150 a month… that’s $1800 a year!

Tip #3: Stop eating out

This one doesn’t need much explanation. Eating at restaurants or hitting the Drive-thru is just crazy expensive. Especially if you are buying for two or more people.  

Before we started budgeting, we spent over $1000 on groceries and eating out per month for our family. Crazy right? Our eating out was excessive, and our grocery shopping was even worse!  

When money got tight, we didn’t have any other option but to stop eating out and cooking at home. We decided on a reasonable grocery budget, and we stuck to it (and still do).  

To find out how to save on your food bill, make sure to check out these 21 tips to help you save on groceries.

Tip #4: Embrace a minimalist lifestyle

Ok, this one you may be thinking is just not for you. But…hear me out. Minimalism is not just about getting rid of everything or owning less stuff. It’s about only keeping the things that really bring happiness to your life.

Everybody’s minimalism is going to look different. We have kids, so we will have toys and other stuff that some may not, but we are way pickier about what we buy and keep.

I encourage you to embrace a minimalist lifestyle. Start with one room and put anything you don’t use or need in a box for three months. If you don’t miss it during those three months-sell it, donate it, or throw it out.

You will find that when you need less, you spend less. Minimalism has definitely helped shift our mindset to being more content and intentional with our life and spending. 

Tip #5: Stop buying Paper and Plastic Goods

We were spending over $50 a month on paper and plastic goods, just for convenience. So, I decided to suck it up and cut those items out of our budget. I found better alternatives that work for us.

Paper plates and plastic cups

We just stopped buying these all together. There was no need when we had perfectly good dishes to use at home. So, I just wash the dishes and save that money.

Paper towels

These are ridiculously expensive, primarily when you use a roll or two a day for messes and spills.  Now I pick up a bag of napkins at the dollar tree for $1 to use for meals, and I use some no-frills bar mop towels for easy cleanup.   

You could also cut up old towels you don’t use and repurpose them. 

Plastic Baggies

We used a ton of these monthly, and they are not cheap! I decided to switch to reusable bags and containers in multiple sizes to keep everything in. Cleanup is quick and easy, and you save too!

realistic ways to save money

Tip #6: Don’t buy for convenience

Pretty much anything prepackaged that will make your life easier is going to cost more. When you look at what you buy, you may notice you buy a lot of convenience items. Even if you’re thinking it’s just a dollar or two, those items add up. Especially if your buying multiples a month.

So, we stopped buying for convenience. I don’t really notice any of it is that much of an inconvenience, either. Below are the top four things I stopped purchasing.

Individually packaged snacks

This can be a chunk of money if you buy the snack packs of everything for your kids. Just buy the big bags of chips, the family size packages of cookies, etc. and split them into individual portions yourself.     

Juice Boxes

I don’t know about you, but my kids love juice boxes and Capri Suns. It seems like they are gone within the first couple of days. So, I don’t buy them because of that reason. I get the big bottles of juice instead.

Mom tip: I give my kids half water and half juice (apple, grape, etc.). It cuts down the sugar, and the juice last longer.  

Frozen Meals

Make double portions of your favorite foods and freeze them. This way, you have quick and easy pre-made meals at half the cost. You can freeze just about anything. Go through the freezer aisle at the grocery store for meal ideas. 

Waffle and Pancake Mix

There is no need to buy mixes or frozen waffles and pancakes when you can make them from ingredients you already have in your fridge and pantry. I make double batches and freeze them for a quick hot breakfast in the morning. 

Tip# 7: Negotiate lower bills and cancel subscriptions

When we were looking at ways to cut our budget down. We called and negotiated a lower rate for our internet, phone, and insurance. All it takes is a phone call.

Also, take a look at unused or barely used memberships and subscriptions. 

Gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, and subscriptions you forgot to cancel or forgot about all together can really use up a chunk of your monthly income. So, cancel anything you don’t need.

If negotiating with customer service is not your thing, Trim is an app that can solve your problem. Trim is a fantastic app that securely connects to your accounts and negotiates to lower your cable, phone, and other bills as well as cancel your unwanted subscriptions.

Tip #8: Stop buying reading material

Not only do magazines and books clutter up your home, but you pay $5-20 for a one time read. Then, you donate it, throw it away, or let it clutter up your space.

There are really great money-saving alternatives to getting free or really cheap books and magazines.

Library

Visit your local library and get a library card. Your local library has tons of books and ebooks that you can check out for FREE.

Thrift Stores

Check out your local thrift stores for really cheap books. You can find lots of popular titles and authors for really cheap. 

Paperback Swap

Paperback Swap is a book swap website. It’s a great way to get rid of books you don’t want and get new ones for free. You pay for the postage for the books you ship to other swappers and receive the books you choose for free.

Conclusion

You can save thousands of dollars every year by making smart, simple cuts to your spending. By using realistic ways to save money, you can start paying off your debt, saving for your emergency fund, or doing something fun with your family.

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