Ways to Save: Tips to Trim Your Spending

by kdizzle
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Collage of various happy adults holding piggy banks showing that they saved money

Did you know, on average, consumers spend about $2,007.50, at coffee shops each year, on just the basic cup of coffee? That doesn’t even include the extra foam, triple shot, added-flavor-topped-with-whip specialty drinks. Making coffee at home instead of purchasing from the corner cafe can save you around $1,500 per year or more. That is a nearly 75% savings on coffee alone!

But finding ways to save money can be easier said than done. Old spending habits die hard. Then there are the unexpected expenses, which are almost always an unpleasant surprise. Or, we might be spending money without having a clear budget or goal set in place.

So, the first step to saving money is always creating a budget for yourself and your family. It can make a huge difference in the long run.

To get started, the first thing to think about is expenses for necessities. From there, we can break down the list of extras we might cut and ways to incorporate small changes that put us on the path to becoming more financially savvy.

Here are some not-so-naughty (but potentially expensive) spending habits that most of us can tweak to painlessly cut some costs and pocket some dough: 

Skipping the coffee house and creating your favorites at home.

  • Bonjour, un café s’il vous plaît – There is something about the ambiance of the coffee house that makes getting coffee alluring and romantic. Maybe it is the smell of warm pumpkin bread.  Maybe it’s the lazy play list. Maybe it’s the “too early to be that cheerful barista.” Whatever it is, add a little ambiance to your daily coffee routine at home and see if it doesn’t transport you to a different (albeit less costly) frame of mind. So, put the playlist on, write yourself a little hand lettered chalk menu board, pick up some pumpkin bread from the grocery and “amusez-vous!” 
  • When it comes to your favorite coffee flavors, teas, flavored syrups, sugars, and creamers you might find the majority of those at your local grocery store, even for the specialty coffees, such as those delicious lattes and frappes.
  • Set up an area in your home where you can get your coffee fix each day, and make it your designated “coffee station.” Add a place to either display or store your favorite add-ins such as syrup flavors and sugars. Have a container for your coffee and/or tea nearby. And, make sure your special (no, not that one … we mean the very special) mug is always sitting pretty and on hand.

Shopping your closet instead of buying new clothes.

  • They say that everything old one day is “new.” So look for those seasonal trends within your own wardrobe. These might include patterns, colors, and styles you already own. Match those against the “new” styles out there, and get creative. You can even re-use last year’s looks by pairing them into a retro montage of “wow!”
  • Accessorize with the items you have available to you.
  • Shop sales, especially seasonal sales where you can get that must have jacket or pair of shoes, for a fraction of the price.
  • If there are pieces you no longer wear, look at consignment stores and online consignment sites such as Thread Up and Poshmark. You can sell your unwanted items and also shop for the items you’ve been dreaming of, at discounted prices, of course.

Take “Take-Out” down a notch.

  • Americans spend a bunch on eating out. The average per month for just one person is over $262. That’s a lot of broccoli! So why not cut those expenses and become your own chef?
  • Select a day to prepare your meals for the week. Sundays always get our vote! List meals with the recipes included to make the process easier for you. Once you have your list of meals, develop a shopping list and look for shopping specials. To help with finding ideas on meal planning, you can Google the term “meal planning,” look at ideas from your favorite recipe bloggers, or seek a meal-plan guide, which provides several to choose from so you can switch up your meals each week.
  • Once your prepping is done, you can look forward to a full week of instant meals! No more stressing about prepping, cooking or tons of clean up during your busy week. Plus, you’ll have more green (and we’re not talking lettuce) to stash in your pocket. Save that money, eat more home cooked food and save the take-out or eating out for special occasions.

Need More Ideas?

Now that you know some basic ways to beef up your savings, here are some things that real people are doing to prevent overspending. Check out these great tips from our own Moneytree Team Members:

Tammy from Idaho:

I have a set amount that is direct deposited every pay period into my savings account. I don’t see it so I don’t miss it. If I have an unexpected expense I borrow from myself (savings) and pay myself back. I hardly ever carry cash as it seems to vanish into thin air with little to show for it! When I use my debit card I think twice about my purchases because I know I’ll see it on my statement later. For me, it eliminates the small non-essential purchases or impulse buys that tend to add up. I don’t purchase food or drinks from convenience stores and I rarely eat out.

Ashley from Idaho:

I’m a big time online shopper, so I’ve found a lot of stores offer Afterpay, Klarna, Sezzle, Quad Pay, and some others. What they do is take your total purchase and split it up into 4 payments. This saves you from using your credit cards. I also do at home pedicures, which saves a lot!

By utilizing a few of these tips, along with others you find to be useful when going over your personal spending habits, you might find that saving can be a little easier and even fun (who doesn’t love a new challenge, right?). Especially when you follow a plan with simple, obtainable goals. Give it a shot and see how your savings adds up!

Got your own savings tips that work for you? Share them below and you may inspire someone else to cut unnecessary expenses. Check out some other ways to add more “savvy” to your own financial IQ by visiting our Financial Living page.

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