There are thousands of suggestions out there for how to make and save money. Unfortunately, a lot of them aren’t really practical or perhaps aren’t really worth the time. We’re sharing 5 simple ways to save money this month that will work for almost anyone.
There are some things you can control
Just like everyone else, we are totally feeling the effects of inflation. Everything from groceries to gas to heating bills is going up.
We’re fairly serious about implementing most of Dave Ramsey’s methods, which brings a lot of peace of mind in times like these. Principles like having an emergency fund and spending less than we make have pretty much been the backbone of how we manage our money. These, along with Dave’s other baby steps, have served us super well over the years.
Still, no matter your financial situation, it’s frustrating to see your bills go up faster than your income. While a lot of it is obviously out of our control, there are some practical strategies that we’re implementing lately to save even more. In this post, we’ll share with you 5 of the most practical ways we love to save money.
Why we love to save money
We’re no strangers to saving. When we were first married, we were making just over $1000 per month. Looking back, we pretty much have no idea how we did this, but somehow, we did.
As we’ve moved on, we’ve had all kinds of goals that have required saving money. Some of these goals have been large, like saving for a sizable down-payment on our mortgage or having me (Marissa) stay home with the kids. Others have been smaller goals. Regardless, one of our consistent goals is to be good stewards of our money. We want to have the ability to care for our family and to bless others. For us, this means contentment and living within our means.
Current money-saving goals
We’re basically always trying to save money for one reason or another. However, sometimes we kick it into high gear. We have a few goals that we’re saving for right now (stay tuned!). That, plus the crazy inflation we’re experiencing has us really working to manage our budget wisely. Most of the following tips are strategies that we use all the time. Others are ideas that we’re working extra hard on currently.
5 simple ways to save money this month
Here are 5 of the most simple ways that we save money regularly.
1. Cut down on your grocery bill
One of the best ways to cut down on your grocery bill is to cut down on your meat consumption. You do not have to eat meat for every meal! It seems like meat prices are constantly rising, so getting used to a few meatless meals a week can actually save quite a bit.
For both financial and health reasons, we love replacing meat with other protein-filled meals like beans and rice.
If your schedule allows, grocery shopping less often is another way that we love to save on groceries. It’s a fun challenge to stretch out the groceries for as many days as possible. Dig through your pantry and see what you can use up before heading back to the store. I find that the less often I go to the store, the less money I spend.
Lastly, batch cooking can be another way to cut down on your grocery bill. People do batch cooking all kinds of creative ways. Personally, I haven’t found an effective way to spend multiple hours preparing tons of freezer meals at once (at least not with little ones).
However, when I have a meal on my list that’s easy to freeze, I almost always buy enough ingredients to double it and stick the extra batch in the freezer. This helps me to use the ingredients more effectively and with less waste. Plus, it saves time, of course! Obviously, it costs a little more up front, but you’ll save that amount in a week or two (or three) when you already have a meal in the freezer.
2. Stay home and save on gas
Okay, this is one that is totally relevant for our current high gas prices. They’ve definitely made us think about when we really need to go out and when we don’t. Living in the country means that we already don’t go out for errands very often. Since it takes 25 minutes to get to the nearest mid-sized town, we usually only go once or twice a week currently. However, we want to be even more thoughtful about this when it costs $10+ just to make the trip! Think about how you can combine your errands to save on gas.
There are also definitely times when we find ourselves going out just for fun. For example, a random, unnecessary errand or a visit to the local park. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with any of these things. Still, when trying to save money, it’s a fun challenge to think about how we can have fun just staying home. For us, this usually means we end up working on a project. So really, we get to save money and be productive at the same time!
If you’re stuck thinking of ideas for family activities at home, here are a few.
- Cook together. This might be a great time to batch cook some freezer meals!
- Plant some seeds. Whether you’re planning an entire garden or just some windowsill herbs, this is a perfect productive activity.
- Learn something. Start a read-aloud book together as a family. Learn how to build something. Watch a documentary.
- Get to know your neighbors. Bake some cookies to take to a neighbor you haven’t met yet, or invite someone over for a meal.
- Clean your house or yard. It might sound weird, but cleaning together as a family can actually be so much fun. It’s a great teamwork experience, and everyone enjoys the benefits of a clean house! We always feel so satisfied after we get a bunch of cleaning done together.
3. Turn your heat down
You’d be surprised at how much you can save by strategically turning your heat down. Crank it down a degree or two at night or when you’re away from the house for awhile. When you are home, make good use of sweatshirts, socks, and slippers. Close doors and shut vents in rooms that you don’t use often or that don’t need to be heated all the time. After baking, keep your oven open to let the heat fully circulate in the house. The little things add up!
4. Pick up a side job
Does making money count as saving money? Maybe not… But picking up a side job can be a huge help when you’re trying to save. Side jobs are also awesome because they allow you to have multiple income streams. Diversifying your income is a super effective way to make your household more secure.
These are some side jobs we’ve had in the past:
Do you have any skills that you can market? How can you do this on a smaller scale? Garrett has often been able to pick up side jobs in his field or in similar fields of work. This usually means woodworking projects or other handyman projects. For me, music has been a side job for most of my life. This has included all kinds of money-making opportunities, from performing to playing background music for weddings to accompanying high schoolers in band competitions. Often, just being open with people, letting them know what you do, and forming relationships leads to them thinking of you first when they need your skills.
Making money from your skills can be an excellent opportunity, but so can sharing your skills with others. Can you offer to teach something to individuals or groups? Teaching piano has been one of my main sources of income since middle school.
It seems like everyone is struggling to find great childcare. If you’re looking to make a little extra cash, let your community know that you’re open for babysitting.
Selling items on Facebook Marketplace or Ebay
Look around your house and see if there’s anything you don’t need that could be of value to someone else. Over the years, we’ve cleaned out our house and made extra cash many, many times using these resources.
Flipping includes selling, but first requires buying the item at a lower price. If you’re hoping to make some extra cash, Facebook Marketplace and thrift scores are great places to scour for deals. Try to look for items that you have some knowledge about. You should know something about the value and the market for the product(s) you want to flip. Sometimes flipping items requires fixing them in order to turn a profit, and sometimes it simply requires marketing it better than the last person who had it.
5. Pack your lunch
This is definitely an all-the-time thing for us. Packing your own food is seriously one of the best ways to save.
Our average homemade meals cost about $10 for our whole family, and usually feeds us for dinner and lunch the next day. That comes out to less than $2 per serving on average. Buying lunch could cost nearly $10 (more or less) for one meal for only one person! So, for one person, packing a lunch for work could save you around $40 per week.
Packing food for family outings and family vacations is another way you can save a ton of money.
Keep your goal in mind
Having a goal goes a long way when you’re trying to save. Eating a packed lunch isn’t always fun, but it’s much more motivating when you remind yourself why you’re doing it.
We believe that our resources aren’t ours to hoard. They’re gifts from the Lord that are given to us to enjoy, but also to use for the good of our neighbors both near and far. Saving and stewarding money wisely is an integral part of this.
5 simple ways to save money this month
- Cut down on your grocery bill
- Stay home and save on gas
- Turn your heat down
- Pick up a side job
- Pack your lunch
We hope these 5 simple ways to save money this month are helpful for you and your family. Check out more money-saving tips from the blog here!
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