It sounds crazy, but you can save even if you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck. There is no secret formula that you’re missing out on. Having money left over when your next paycheck rolls in is a matter of mindfulness. Here are my top tips for managing money waste so you can save even if you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck.
If you’re struggling to make it to the next payday, trust me, I’ve been there. It’s not walk in the park. Be tight on money is crapy on so many levels.
Guilt – I shouldn’t be spending a cent on anything but at some point, you just need to do something that makes you happy
Stress – will I be able to make rent this month?
Overall overwhelm – feeling buried and not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel
Pretty dark and depressing times. I feel you my friend. Hopefully, you will find some of these tips helpful. You might even be able to catch a break!
Before we dig into it, I want you to know, it is possible! If you want to save to go on vacation, to buy a car or maybe you want to use the money to pay off debt.
YOU CAN DO IT!
1 – don’t feel like cooking? doesn’t matter; stop eating out
More times than I can recall, friends and family went on and on about how much cheaper it was to eat at home. That I should really cook instead of wasting money at restaurants.
I’m sure this is not news to you.
Problem was no one had ever quantified it for me. I figured the difference was marginal. I didn’t feel like it was worth going through the effort of doing groceries and cooking.
Eventually, I got myself so deep in the hole that I decided to do the math.
Was it really worth eating at home?
My results were shocking.
I saved about 30-50% on food if I stopped eating out.
To put that in terms of dollars, I would spend about $200 a week but it would really only cost me $80 if I cooked at home. Those are MAJOR weekly savings.
I would gladly take an extra $480 a month in savings!
Don’t get me wrong, I still went out once in a while. The difference is I only did it to treat myself and be social. I set boundaries. I was only allowed to eat out once a week.
2- no more coffee shops
Similar to the above point, one Starbucks coffee will run at about $3-5 depending on the kind of coffee you get.
That’s assuming you don’t go for a muffin too. Let’s face it, we always go for a muffin or breakfast sandwich…but let’s call it $3-5 for coffee.
That one coffee would only cost about $0.80 at home. If you take that over a month, you’re putting $100 back in your pocket by making yourself a coffee before you head out!
3- smarter groceries
Are you in the habit of buying shredded cheese? Premade meals? Pre-made salads? Pre-packaged snack size food?
Well, my friends, that pre-made luxury costs money!
Maybe you don’t feel like you have enough time to do it or you’re willing to pay the extra few dollars for the luxury. Regardless, if you’re looking to cut back on your spending, make the time and put in the effort.
Realistically, it isn’t that time consuming to shred cheese or make a salad. I feel you though, I love the convenience and will get out of a chore however possible.
As far as money goes, you could be saving a ton of money by cutting out the luxury.
4- do your homework to lower your bills
I know that bullet doesn’t sound appeal at all.
Whoever wanted to do their homework? Amiright?
Unfortunately, we all sometimes have to do things we don’t want to do. If you have some free time during the weekend or evenings, do some research.
There’s almost always a better deal out there than the one you’re getting. Check-up competitor rates for cellphone, cable, internet, car insurance, bank account fees, credit card interest rates, and more.
You can usually score a sweet promotion. After all, these companies are all trying to snag each other’s business. Why not take advantage of a better rate?
5- stock up on bulk-sized nonperishables
If you’ve ever been to Costco, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
All though you might walk out of there with a few hundred dollars in groceries, that toilet paper will probably last you 6 months instead of a couple. You can save a ton of money by buying everything nonperishable in bulk format.
As long as you have the space to store it, it’s a no-brainer.
Plus, you won’t have to go to the store to get more as often.
Word of warning here though, unless you’re feeding a family and confident you’ll get through food before it goes bad, avoid buying perishable goods (like vegetables, meat, etc.) at bulk stores.
If you use the above tips, you’ll be saving like a champ in no time!
It goes without saying that if you don’t physically put those savings aside, that money will easily get spent somewhere else. Such is the curse of the money spender. I am no better.
I have found it very helpful to pretend like that money does not exist. I’ll put it in a different account and basically forget about it.
If you’re looking for ways to keep your spending in check, have a look at my post about saving without even knowing it. In it, you’ll find great ways to hold yourself accountable and put money aside with little to no effort or sacrifice.