A few years ago we were living the dream life. My husband had an amazing job, we had two kids, nice cars and bought pretty much whatever we wanted. Then oil crashed and the economy tanked. A bucket of KFC was more expensive than a barrel of oil! My husband was laid off from his sales job of 13 years. That carefree lifestyle quickly came to a halt and we were left with ZERO income for FIVE MONTHS. We still had to pay for our mortgage, one car, two kids in preschool, bills, etc. It was an extremely depressing time for us and still hard for us to talk about years later. But we learned a lot. So today I’m sharing 10 real ways to save money and cut expenses.
The ONE thing we had going for us was SAVINGS. We had saved and saved and had very minimal debt. This did allow us to live mostly off savings but as most of you probably know, bills, mortgages and expenses add up quickly! Have you ever added up what your family actually spends in a month? If you do anything, save as much as you can and stay out of credit card debt. Even if it is $25 a month, it’s better than nothing.
Now moving past being a Debbie downer and onto the ways we saved money…if you are struggling with money or just want to find ways to cut costs, here is a list of things we did to cut our expenses and stretch our savings as far as possible.
10 Real Ways To Save Money And Cut Expenses
1.CUT ALL NON ESSENTIALS
We immediately cut eating out, shopping, movies, date nights, etc. Eating out and shopping will drain your bank account QUICKLY. If you have to eat out, look for restaurants who offer kids eat free meal options or split an entree with your spouse. Shopping for things here and there on easy pay sites like Amazon and Target will drain your finances faster than you can say the word BROKE. Delete these apps so you are not tempted to add things to your cart.
2. MEAL PLAN/ GROCERY PICK UP
Meal planning will help you save money and cut food waste. Meal planning inexpensive meals is even better! I would make cheap dinners like tacos, spaghetti, soups or crockpot meals. Many of these meals can be made in bulk and eaten the next day for lunch as well. When my husband was laid off, curbside pick up was not an option. I use FREE CURBSIDE PICKUP now and it has drastically cut our food bill in half. Many grocery stores offer this service for a minimal fee or even have “freebie” days. This way you are not wandering through the store picking up unnecessary items or have the kids throwing things in the cart.
We immediately went through every bill and figured out how we could save money. In Texas, many cities have Power To Choose electricity plans. We called and changed our electric plan. This saved us $100 a month on electricity. We also cut cable- you probably already have Apple TV, Roku, Netflix, etc. At the time we also had expensive cell phone plans. We dropped our data usage plan and saved money that way. This also forced us off our phones when we didn’t have wifi! Insurance is another big money suck. See if you can lower your auto insurance or home insurance. This may require getting quotes from a few companies.
If this is an option for you and your family, look into unemployment until you have found another job. Just remember, you will have to pay taxes on any unemployment you collect.
5. SELL HOME ITEMS
I went through our house and pulled out furniture, lawn equipment, power tools, kids clothing, you name it. If we did not have a use for it, WE SOLD IT! A lot of neighborhoods or towns have their own online sales sights. The best way I found to sell more is to price things correctly. Selling four items for $25 each is better than one item for $50. This is also a great way to get those closets cleaned out. Do you have kids? Take all their old clothes and shoes to a children’s consignment shop. I did this and could often make up to $100. Do you have a lot of clothing you aren’t wearing? Set up a Poshmark account and sell your clothing online too!
6. PHONE APPS
I downloaded a few of these apps and to save a few bucks or make a few bucks here and there. Instead of watching tv at night or even during your lunch break you can make a few extra bucks.
Ibotta: It’s an easy to use, cash back rewards app. I use it every time I shop. This especially helped at grocery stores and gas stations.
InboxDollars: Get paid to watch videos, take surveys, etc.
HoneyApp: Find the best deals at stores you love!
GoodRx: If you don’t have health insurance or need medication that isn’t covered by insurance, this app will give you a coupon for a discount and tell you which pharmacy will be cheapest in your area. I use this for my Latisse and only paid $44!!!
7. CHANGE BANKS
If your bank is charging you fees for keeping YOUR money with them LEAVE! There are plenty of banks out there that offer zero to join, no minimum balance requirements, no ATM fees etc.
We did this a few years ago with our own home. For borrowers with a perfect credit history, refinancing can be a good way to convert a variable loan rate to a fixed, and obtain a lower interest rate. Borrowers with less than perfect, or even bad credit, or too much debt, refinancing can be risky. Make sure you can lower your interest rate by at least a full point, if not more to make this worthwhile.
9. CANCEL MEMBERSHIPS
Gyms, Netflix, massage places, etc. These are all places you could be losing money monthly. If possible, freeze the membership or cancel until you are more financially sound.
10. CUT DOWN DEBT
Paying off your credit cards and eliminating interest fees is a great way to cut back on wasting money. It also feels AMAZING when you don’t have that debt looming over you every month!
If you have any other great ways to save money I would love for you to leave them in the comments for others to see!