Who doesn’t want to save money? I will admit that people who say “I would rather just spend the money and save the time of trying to figure all of that out!” just make me a little ill. Truly, if that’s your attitude and the way you feel…why are you reading my blog post again??
For so many people, the option to “just spend the extra money and avoid the hassle” is not there. For me, it’s a reality and a necessity. I could have chosen to “not take the time” for the past five years, but my children would have missed out on SO many experiences. Because I have chosen to “take the time” and try to find ways to do things that we otherwise could not afford, my kids have lived a pretty enchanted life the past few years.
So, for those that WANT to take the time, but may not HAVE the time, I am going to share a few things that you can do effortlessly to get a little more out of life for le$$!
This month, I will share EASY ways to save money on food. No coupons, no apps, nothing but your mindset! You have to be intentional and have a made up mind, but that is all.
Drink. More. Water.
This is a big one for me. When dining out, drinks (I’m talking soft drinks, tea, etc.) can EASILY run you $2-3 per person. I’m not even going into the sugar and caffeine and all the “health-related” reasons to skip this. Purely for financial and budgetary reasons…pass on the drinks and have water.
The average family of 4 can save $8 (plus tax and tip, ya know!) if you just order water. If you can make this announcement ahead of time, it may save the tantrum at the table. My kids know that if the drink doesn’t come with the kid’s meal, it’s water. They pout, but I’m much more willing to spring for the $3 bowl of queso at the Mexican place in place of $10-12 we would have spent on tea and soda. So, we make that compromise and still save more than half of the money we would have spent on drinks.
Tip :: Make it a point to order water all around for at least one dine-out per week. Then, maybe start to sneak it into to a standing rule. Keep track of how much money you save for one month and do something fun with that money instead – just to prove the point.
Bring your lunch!
When I was working full-time, and had no children, I went to lunch most of time. It was an escape from the office with my friends and a lovely social experience. But, now that I have kids and a mortgage and all the other things that come with being a grown up, wife, mommy, chauffeur, CEO, CFO, maid, accountant, chef, etc……(Geez! No wonder I am so tired by 8:00pm!), I see that the $6-8 that I spent (on a cheap day!!) can add up to $30-40 each week. If I played my cards right and did my coupons well that week, that could be most of the groceries I need for the whole week!
I have always been a little bit of a “tightwad,” so even back then, when I was ALWAYS spending less than $10, I had friends whose check at the same restaurant may be $12-14! Every! Day! This was 10 years ago, people. So, imagine what it may cost them now.
So, by simply taking a sandwich, or leftovers from dinner last night…things that don’t take a TON of your time…you can save a lot of money by bringing your lunch to work.
Tip :: Pack your lunch when you are cleaning up the kitchen from dinner the night before. This will save you time in the morning as well as having to remember to do it later and messing up the kitchen again. Put a sticky note on your door or purse to remind you to grab it. It won’t save you money if you leave it in the fridge and have to go out anyway!
Have a meal plan for the week.
(Do as I say, not as I do!) I sooo need and want to get on this one! But, I am so busy right now that I just can’t get it together. So, this is a goal for me!!
If you sit down on…maybe Saturday morning (whenever you have a few minutes) and write down 5-7 meals that you can prepare this week, then you will only buy what you need for those meals. Make it a family affair. Ask everyone to name one food that they want to eat this week. Benefits from this include:
- The entire family can help with the stress of coming up with something and feel like they are a part of your “Family Board of Directors.”
- You don’t spend the money on ingredients you already have. Take your menu list to your pantry FIRST and see what you actually have on hand.
- Less wasted fresh produce. The (insert any given fresh item here) looks great this week, but if you don’t use them soon, you just threw $5 in the trash.
- Less money spent “just going out” because you don’t know what to cook.
- You can plan for leftovers one (or more) night, or for your lunch for work, thus saving either a night of cooking and/or the money spent on lunch
- Spend less time and money in the grocery store trying to “wing it” with everyone else
Once you start doing this, you may begin to see that there are meals that have several similar ingredients. You may be able to buy and prep those all at once, saving you time on subsequent nights that week.
I challenge you to try at least one of the tips for the entire month of June and keep track of how much money you save. I would love to hear if it worked for you and what you did with the extra savings.
Next month, I will share this type of easy tips for saving money on your summer travels.
About Northshore Mama
Kari, born and raised on the Northshore, began Northshore Mama after her family experienced a couple of rough financial years. Kari shares the tips and tricks to maneuvering each store’s different marketing of their sales, as well as introducing her readers to various programs and websites where she earns free stuff every day. Northshore Mama’s mission is to bring you the coupon deals and show you how to match them up with each store’s weekly sales to get the most bang for your buck!