When I was a child, my parents always, always tried to give my brother and me everything we desired. They would support us in anything we wanted to do (as long as it wasn't harmful to our well-being); they made sure we had clothes on our backs, fed us three meals a day and instilled values and standards within us at a young age.
They paid for driver's ed, sports equipment, new clothes, college. If it assisted us in getting closer to our dreams and goals, they would make sure it happened. My parents did everything they possibly could to ensure success for my brother and I, regardless of the cost.
Now that I have been out of college for five months and living on my own, I am in disbelief about what it truly takes to survive. House payments, bills, car insurance —literally, everything costs money. And now, reminiscing through my childhood, I can't believe my parents did all of that for us for so long …
Nowadays, I try to find every possible way to save money — even if it is just a dollar. Here are a few tips to help you save some money:
1. Use cash whenever you can
The mindless motion of swiping a debit/credit card may just be the biggest evil of all. When you have cash on hand, you can actually see and feel the loss of that tangible item. However, that swipe of a debit card makes you detached from your bank account and you may be spending more than you actually wanted to. So try to pay with cash when you can — you may end up saving a few more bucks.
2. Know the difference between want and need
Figure out if it's a want or a need. Do you really need those shoes? Do you need that extra bag of chips? Do you have to have that expensive vase? Or can you make it yourself and save big and be proud you did it yourself! If you can decipher between a want and a need, you will definitely start saving! (Maybe pocket that extra cash for vacation money …)
3. Set a budget
“Set a budget” is a phrase I heard from my dad for years. Actually, I still hear it today. Regardless, take a half hour to sit down with your significant other every week and truly figure out how much it will take to live comfortably without feeling restricted. Then stick to it. If you need help, check out this link to get started!
4. Start planning
Planning your meals out for the week on Sunday is a game changer. Not only will it make you feel calmer while the week plays out, it will also prevent you from spending on take-out. Bulk up on veggies and meats for a week at a time then make it easy on yourself and throw it all in a Crockpot before you head to work. Not only is it convenient, it's healthy and helps you have more time for other things. Check out some of these healthy Crockpot recipes. To help you get organized, check out these weekly menu templates!
5. Pocket that extra change
Invest in a Mason jar, punch a hole in the lid that's big enough for quarters and start saving! My fiance and I have a large jar sitting in our kitchen and when we get home we empty our pockets and throw our loose change into it. Then after a few months, we dump it and use that money towards a nice dinner or going to the movies.
6. Switch up your transportation methods
If you and your significant other can take one car to work, do it. Not only does this save on gas, it also helps prevent tacking on extra miles to both cars as well as avoiding other mechanical issues a car can get after years of use.
For more ideas, check out this great list of money-saving tips.