The start of a new year is the perfect time to make a budget and start some big saving goals for the year!
I haven’t talked about money and saving money a ton on the blog, but I wanted to write a post on actionable ways you could start saving more money this year. I have a full time corporate job and this blog, honestly, looses me money every year because I just don’t care about the collaborations and I really just want to write and provide helpful tips for your every day life.
My full time job makes me a decent salary that I can more than comfortably live off of. However, I’m not balling out like some of my friends who have high level sales jobs or have support from family money. Not that there is anything wrong with that haha I’m just being honest.
I am pretty frugal with my spending on a daily basis. I choose to live by the 20-30-50 rule by Dave Ramsey and although I don’t believe in his rules on living out of envelopes and not having credit cards, the guy has good basic finance knowledge I try to live by.
If you aren’t familiar with the 20-30-50 rule, 50% for the essentials (rent, groceries, gas, etc), 20% for savings and 30% for everything else (shopping, fun, etc). So on a normal good Zoe month this is something I try and live by.
I have been in a million weddings the past year so this has not remained super true to form some months but small sacrifices are ok as long as the big picture is in tact. You can read my post on How to Save Money as a Wedding Guest here.
Now that you know a little big about my savings goals and financial situation, I can explain on how I try and cut back on daily living expenses.
How to Cut Back on Expenses
CREATE STRICT RULES ON EATING OUT
I don’t allow myself to eat out during the week that means no take out, no lazy Chiptole meal none of it. Unless, it’s for a social reason. I really value the time with my friends so if I can meet a friend out for dinner during the week, this rule gets broken. Then I’ll try and cut back on the weekend. But typically the rule is, don’t eat out during the week and never order take out to eat alone. If I’m eating out or getting take out, it has to be for social purposes.
SMALLER MORE FREQUENT GROCERY TRIPS WITH STORE BRAND ITEMS
Anytime I go to the grocery store, I’ll only buy just enough groceries to get me through two days. This way, I’m not buying more food than I can eat and nothing goes to waste. It also forces me to buy less when I’m not randomly throwing stuff in my cart I try to be really strategic about what I buy. Specifically, I’ll always buy store brand nothing organic, free range, name brand nada. It’s all a scam haha I’ll buy the cheapest pasta sauce even if it’s only a few cents cheaper it’s like a mini game I play with myself to find the lowest price.
REMOVE CREDIT CARDS FROM SAVED FAVORITES
I have such an impulse to check out on Amazon or Target because my cards are saved into my accounts. When I’m really trying to cut back on spending, I’ll remove my card from my favorites so I have to physically grab it anytime I want to spend something.
CREATE A SHOPPING LIST
No not for the grocery store although that’s probably helpful. A shopping list of things you WANT to buy purchases like clothes, shoes, makeup, home decor, whatever it is that you have your eye on. Create a list and let it sit there for 30 days. Yep. Just stare at it and don’t check out because chances are if you reevaluate that purchase 30 days from now you either don’t really need it or it’s already sold out and you didn’t need it anyway. I am much more impulsive in buying home decor than I am clothes so I always have a running list of things I want to buy and then I can save up or watch my spending to focus on buying things I really truly want.
ACTUALLY TRACK YOUR SPENDING
I go through phases where I am so on top of my spending and keep to my budget and then other months it doesn’t happen. When I’m really trying to stay on top of my finances, I’ll keep a list dollar by dollar of everything I’ve spent so I can really see where my money is going. You worked hard for that! Don’t just scroll through your credit card statement and think that’s “tracking your spending” really try and keep a budget of how much you spent eating out, on Amazon, on clothes, etc. and I promise you’ll save more.
Look, I’m not perfect and this month I’ve really been on my own ass about saving money I had to buy two flights for bachelorette’s this month so there was no room left over for frivolous spending. It’s the little ways I try and cut back that help make the long term difference!