I received so many great tips for this series that I decided to highlight 5 of the best. These are the tips that were recommended by more than one PF blogger and that cover the absolute essentials for saving money wisely – both in the short term and the long term. If you’re looking to do some serious saving, you should consider tackling these first. And thanks again to all those clever bloggers who imparted their invaluable money-saving wisdoms. I hope you have enjoyed the series and taken some useful info from it!
1.) Plan your meals: If you don’t eat a meal before you go grocery shopping, you’ll to shop with your stomach and not with your brain – and before you know it, you’ve got a cart filled with nothing but Jaffa cakes and crisps (mmm… jaffa cakes…) Perhaps for this reason, Mom on a Budget, Mel, and Tracy from My Money Story all recommend planning your weekly meals before you go shopping and sticking to this list. Not only does this ensure that you’ll stick to your budget each week, but it will hopefully limit the amount of food that goes to waste. Tracy also suggests setting a monetary limit on each food item and not settling for less – and if a particular item is on sale one week, stock up!
2.) Cook at home: Jack and Jill aka Skint Minted Lovers estimate that they save on average AUS$240 a week by brown bagging their lunches and resisting the temptation to dine out. Jordan from Young Money Talks also suggests cooking all your meals at home – but advises only cooking what you need so that no food or leftovers are left to spoil. I’ve found that it can be as simple as making extra food for dinner so that you can take leftovers to work for lunch – although it’s definitely easier said than done to make extra food with FruGuy at your dinner table.
3.) Use cash instead of credit: Credit and debit cards certainly have their perks – quicker shopping queues and less loose change, for instance. But sometimes I wonder if they have made shopping a little too easy; there are fewer opportunities to hesitate or second-guess a purchase if it is only a swipe away. Sharon Rose at No Debt Diva suggests using cash or debit exclusively – this way there will be no temptations to spend more than what you currently have in your bank account. Escape Brooklyn suggests going a step further and eliminating plastic from your life altogether – debit included. She says that she takes out a fixed amount of cash each time she gets a pay check and restricts spending to her cash-in-hand.
4.) Research big purchases: Money Maus suggests taking the time to make sure you are paying the best price for a given purchase – from food at the grocery store to personal loans. Sometimes this can be as simple as coupon clipping and at other times this may involve internet research or consulting an independent financial advisor. Michael Rubin from Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck especially encourages consumers to take time evaluating big purchases such as a car or a place to live. Though this can involve comparing prices, it also entails deciding whether or not you can actually afford an item to begin with (Subprime lending, anyone?).
5.) Find what works for you: The final tip I thought I’d leave you with was submitted by BeachGirl and is a good way of tying all these tips together. She writes that each budding saver ultimately has to get in touch with their inner frugal being in order to find out what advice is worth adopting and what tips simply won’t stick – in other words, find what works for you! No one plan or regime of saving tips will work for everyone, and you’ll have a fair share of tumbles and missteps along the way. The key is to pick yourself up and make the right changes as needed.
Remember, the holiday season is about giving – if your ultimate saving tip hasn’t been included in the series, share it with me in the comments!