The biggest single move that helps us save money is … just budgeting. I’m not kidding. By doing nothing strategic except being aware of what is coming in and going out, you will spend more efficiently. Promise.
But here are some other things we do regularly that help us save.
1.Buy second hand clothes.
People are such a mix on how they feel about this one! Some people think I’m SO weird and have even told me I’m mean buying my kids second hand things. For me this actually isn’t a budget move but an environment move to use resources that are already in use rather than buying new. I’d say 60% of my wardrobe is use and 95% of the kids wardrobes are used. One a year I do a charity shop haul of about 50GBP a child and it last the year. We get a few more things through the year but not much. It’s a massive money saver. In the US I use Poshmark/Thred up but anywhere I am I use charity shops and closet sales. If you don’t know of any happening, set a closet sale up with a few friends!
2.Meal planning and knowing the cost of meals.
Meal planning is a MASSIVE one for a few reasons but largely it helps me space out the pricier meals make sure we’re also eating budget meals. It also helps me prep ahead which is often the key to a lower cost meal. Things like making bread instead of buying, freezing bananas to make cheaper ice cream rather than buying, soaking beans from dry instead of buying cans. They’re all easy things but take planning so a meal plan enables me to do that!
Planning meals also stops a lot of sponaneous eating out – which is a massive source of unnecessary spending for more households.
3. Don’t throw out food.
A giant shocking percentage of what people buy gets thrown out. If you think you don’t just keep a piece of paper by your trashcan/bin and note everything you threw out that could have been edible at one point. Or if you eat out – think about anything you didn’t eat but didn’t take home. I take a box for everything and sometimes small leftovers become a full toddler meal! Meal planning and shopping with my meal plan massively helps me to not toss food because everything I buy is bought with a purpose.
4. Meet friends at home, host smarty. Lots of pancake bunches.
If you’re really social, hang out and host smartly. Whenever we can we try to meet friends at home. And when we’re hosting lots of people we pay attention to the meal! Massive secret here but we often invite people for brunch because a big oat pancake brunch is a really affordable meal even when you get two families and lots of kids in the mix!
5. Shop slowly and wait for sales or used.
We keep a list of things we need to buy and try not to buy right away. When you slow down, there are very few things that NEED to be bought immediately. Keep a list until you find a sale, or see something used. It’s amazing if you just hold on, how often a sale will roll around.
6. Use codes for refer a friend.
I’m not a big coupon user, I could do better there but one thing I do well it refer a friend codes! Lots of companies will give you cash off your next purchase just for referring a friend. Places like Pact, Everlane, ABLE, Cotopaxi and lots of other ethical brands we love will do this. I think Everlane is one of the best giving $25 off your next purchase, and they accumulate too. (I don’t use this as I’m an affiliate with them so I make a percentage of sales instead.)
7. Let’s talk coffee
So many things we do to keep coffee budget friendly. Take your own mug (and water bottle) for coffee, lots of places give a discount when you bring your own cup. Oh and pick up the punch card – you usually then get your 10th coffee free!
Think, if you get 1 coffee a week that = 52 in a year.
Then if you’re 10th one is free that’s about 5 free coffees a year. Maybe $20 in free coffee. Then $12 in savings from bringing your own cup. That’s $32 saved over the year. If you find 5 places to save that way that’s $150 which is a good chunk. Additionally, try to keep your coffee order cheaper if you’re doing it regularly. Get a black coffee and add your own milk. Get a slightly smaller size, or make it at home and take it to go.
Go big AND go home. Switching a weekly coffee purchase to one brought from home will save at LEAST $100 a year but possibly double that.
8. Credit cards
IF (and only if) you can organize yourself to only spend money you have, get a credit card that gives you privileges. We have a United one and we’ve done multiple free flights including our full family journey to England, and all our flights to New York and back before we left FREE because we put everything we possibly can on our credit card. If you’re already spending the money, make it work for you while you spend it.