Saving money can be a challenge in today's economy, but I like to make a game of it. I give myself mini-goals to accomplish, like:
- How low can I get the grocery bill this week? First, I see what I have on hand in the freezer and pantry. Then, I check the sale ad and start forming my meal plan. Do I have coupons for any of the needed items on sale? Perfect!! Extra savings and a lower grocery bill. Sunday, I spent $88.94 for a week's worth of groceries to feed our family of four.
- How much extra can I add to the savings account? Anything that does not get spent at the end of the week, gets transferred into savings. Plus I try to tuck away at least $25 out of each paycheck.
- How much can I shave off the electricity bill? I can keep the house cooler in winter by wearing layers, usually just an extra sweater indoors. And if I'll be sitting for a while I'll add a lap blanket. Right now we are having Spring-like days so the windows are opened and I leave the central air conditioner off until we go to bed. I love getting the electricity bill as low as I can. It feels like I'm beating the "man" at his game!
- What is the least amount I can use? From dish washing liquid to laundry detergent and more, I experiment and see what is the least amount I can use without a noticeable difference in performance, or in the case of food, taste. If I use less, I am saving money because I don't have to buy as often.
- Can I do this myself? I can wash and vacuum my car myself instead of paying for a car wash. I can paint the rooms in my house instead of hiring out that work. I can chop my own vegetables instead of buying pre-chopped. I can do my own yard work instead of hiring a lawn-care service. Cha-ching! All ways to keep extra money in my pocket.
- Do I really need this? This is one of the questions I ask myself before buying anything. Do I already have something similar? Will I use this or will it go to into the charity box soon? More often than not, the item stays in the store, but then I don't go into the stores very often these days. I have no need to.
- I make use of freebies. I download free Kindle books and visit the library for reading material. I scour the internet for inspirational and DIY articles on the subjects I'm interested. I make use of food and beauty samples. I stock up on B1G1F deals, especially when paired with coupons.
- I try my best to avoid paying full price for anything. Now that I'm home full time, I have more time to search for the lowest prices. I plan to go to second hand shops for clothing. I always ask the places I do business if they offer a military discount (usually 10%)....the worst they can say is no.
- I am getting back to cooking and baking from scratch. It is cheaper, more filling, and just plain tastes better. And it warms the house up on chilly days!
- Stop buying. I have enough makeup and lotion to last me a year or close to it. Those items are going on my Do Not Buy list until they are gone. Instead of letting things languish and expire, I'll use them up and save that money instead.
Those are just a few ways I make saving money fun and adventurous. I'm still learning new things all the time. It is such a good feeling to pay less than retail prices and to make the most of my husband's earnings. It helps that he gets excited about my saving abilities!
What ways do you use to make saving money fun?