My husband and I have been making goals as a family lately of ways to cut expenses and find ways to save money. My husband is a big fan of Dave Ramsey and listens to his radio show almost daily. We have also read his books and are big believers in his methods and day to day approach to saving money and paying off debt.
- Use Cash: We have found that it is so much harder to spend money frivolously when we are actually handing over our hard earned cash in dollar form. It seems to have a much stronger emotional connection when you see those Benjamins leaving your hand and going into another. Swiping plastic seems almost like a game in comparison where it doesn’t feel “as real” as real money. Try it. We have been setting a budget and paying attention week by week and we are already seeing a huge difference in our spending habits.
- Reduce recurring expenses: Review your recurring expenses like auto insurance, cable TV or a shopping subscription and identify ways to reduce your payments. This is a great time to check out your internet bill, phone bill, or other reoccurring services you may or may not be using. Simply by picking up the phone and asking your service providers about other options and that you are considering another company may save you quite a bit of cash!
- Sleep on it: Impulse buys eat into your budget and there’s one easy way to avoid them: sleep on it. Take 24 hours to consider a purchase and in most cases, the urgency passes. I find that this can be so alluring especially with clothing, accessories, or impulse buys in the store. Online boutiques are built on the idea of “scarcity” that an item will run out. These are often great places to find a deal, you just need to analyze the purchase and make sure that you are buying the item for the right reason, not because you are afraid you’ll miss out. Amazon lightening deals may seem like once in a lifetime, but if you keep the item in your cart you may find that it drops to that price on a cyclical basis and you can buy it later if you really feel like it is the right purchase for you.
- Take advantage of digital tools: Saving money is easy with digital tools like ShopSavvy (price comparison), Coupon Sherpa (coupon codes and app), Flipp (weekly circular comparison), Retailmenot.com, Target’s Cartwheel, and Walmart’s Savings Catcher. I love to use these apps when shopping at Kohls or other online retailers. You can find these amazing deals I found on outfits for the whole family for Easter here.
- Avoid emotional spending: Spending money is not an effective mechanism for celebrating a win or soothing yourself after a bad day. Identify your spending triggers and come up with healthy, no-cost alternatives. If you feel like you have to get your shopping fix with your girls or for whatever reason, set out for your trip with cash only that you’ve set aside for your special day. I think shopping with your gal pals can be some of the best medicine out there, just make sure that you have set limits so you can truly enjoy it and not feel guilty for overspending and missing your goals.
- Create shopping lists for everything: Shopping lists aren’t just for groceries; lists for apparel and home decor keep you from making duplicate purchases and focus your funds on what you actually need.
- Just ask: So often, it just takes asking for a discount or fee waiver to save money, but most of us don’t do it! Consider this study regarding credit cards.
- Use discount gift cards as currency: You can purchase gift cards at less than face value and then use them to make purchases for savings of 5% to over 25%. Better yet: combine them with coupons and sales! You can often find gift cards on sale around the holidays and other times through out the year on travel, eating out, and more! You can even consider buying other people’s gift cards at a discount through sites like GiftCardZen.
- Pay yourself first: Consider taking a specific amount out of your paycheck each time to go directly to your savings account that is considered untouchable. It is a good idea to have three months worth of your living costs tucked away in case of emergency. By taking out even just a little bit each pay day you can bulk up your savings account and retain a peace of mind in case an emergency comes up.
I hope these ideas have given you ways that you can change your spending habits and start saving now TODAY! The more you talk about your goals and what your money is doing the more you can tell your money what to do and where to go. It can be uncomfortable at times, but it is so important to talk about for a healthy marriage and a healthy lifestyle!
This is a sponsored post on behalf of Coupon Sherpa. All opinion are 100% my own.
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