So as you know, B and I got married pretty young, just two years out of high school at the age of 20. Needless to say, with us both still in college, we didn’t have a lot of money.
Even now, we still live on one income with a tight budget but we make it work. We don't have a lot of extra cash and now, especially after the holidays; we are pinching every penny we have. Since getting married, we have learned a few tricks that help us pay the bills and save a little each month. It’s nothing magical but it has helped us, I hope it helps you too.
1. If you want to save money, don’t go to stores. It’s really easy to spend money when you are in stores. It’s much easier to save money or not spend money when you don’t go to stores. I know it sounds simple but it is profound. If you don’t have the money to spend, don’t tempt yourself by surrounding yourself with fun things you could have. Odds are you don’t even need it.
2. If you need to go to the store, make a list ahead of time of the things you absolutely need. STICK TO THE LIST. Easier said than done sometimes. Stores are great at convincing you that you need that cute berry strainer, soft scarf or whatever else tickle’s your fancy. You probably don’t actually need it. And although it might be cheap, little things add up over time.
3. Don’t wait till the last minute. Stay ahead of the things you need, that way when you go to the store it is planned and you get what you need.
4. Just because it is on clearance does not mean you NEED it. Sales are only good, if what you need is on sale. Other than that you are just spending money that you don’t need to spend.
5. Keep track of what you spend. It’s important to keep track of what you spend and how much you are spending if you are trying to save or you don’t have money to spend. I have found for us, the best way currently is to keep track of it on a calendar to see how often we spend, and in a chart to see what we are spending.
6. Give yourself an allowance. This is a new one for us. We are just trying it but I think it will really help us cut down on our miscellaneous expenditures. We are going to do a weekly allowance, but you can do it monthly or bimonthly. I think it is best to do it in cash, because there is an obvious limit. Now we can spend our allowance on whatever we want each week. This will allow us to splurge on ourselves or one another and not feel so tight with our money. But when the money is gone it is gone. If we want something big then we will have to save up for it with our allowance.
7. Make a list of the things you want. This will help you define needs and wants. I believe wants are important, but they do not trump needs. My husband wants some new things for the music studio but we need heat in our house. I want a new dress coat but we need food. Simple, I know but sometimes, at least for me, the wants talk louder than the needs.
8. Making your food is definitely cheaper than eating out. Although it may seem cheap in the restaurant, I guarantee it is cheaper and will go farther from the store.
9. When shopping for food, set a budget. This will help you buy what you actually need. B and I spend 100 dollars on food every two weeks, or at least we try. We have a great grocery store in town that sells off name-brand foods, which really helps. I will probably talk about this more at a later time.
10. Rice is cheap. We are just now investing in this idea. Rice is cheap and it goes a long way. Corn and beans are cheap too, and added to rice you can make a pretty good easy Mexican Skillet!