12 simple ways to save money and take charge of your finances so your money works FOR you. Make progress towards your financial goals now!
1. Set financial goals
The best way to save money is to set financial goals and figure out what you’d like to achieve with your money. Every time you are tempted to spend money, determine if it’s a need or a want. If it’s a want, check in with your financial goals and see if it’s line with a goal. If it isn’t, pass it up.
2. Track your spending
You can’t make your money work FOR you if you don’t know where it’s going. Track your spending to help you determine a budget that you can stick to.
3. Use a money planner to help you develop financial routines and stay on track to achieve your financial goals
This is my favorite money planner because it starts you off with a done for you financial routine you just have to follow and all the necessary worksheets to really get a good handle on your financial situation. It also has many specific tasks to help you save money from clipping coupons to a no spend challenge to checking your prescription and utility bills to renegotiate/find better rates. There are lots of tidbits in the planner and it comes with access to a community Facebook group where people share even more ideas to save more money. This planner alone will help you with #1-3 of this list.
5. Menu plan, menu prep and eat in!
I know you know this one. Menu planning is huge for our family. If i don’t have a plan for what’s for dinner, we spend a small fortune feeding our 3 boys (teenagers and one in his 20’s) at a restaurant. The problem is I don’t enjoy cooking and by the time it’s dinner time, my arthritic body does not want to do it.
So i meal prep as much as I can ahead of time. Even if it’s just washing and cutting fruits and veggies (you’d be surprised how long that can take) so that you can throw them on the table or pot or a kid can grab it for a snack.
Grab my free weekly menu plan here and a grocery list for homemade seasoning mixes.
Grab the best done for you meal plans and grocery lists to HUGELY simplify meal planning and deciding what to make each week. These are really tasty and make enough for my hungry crew!
4. Do a no spend challenge
Besides the necessities, challenge yourself to not buy any fun stuff you don’t really need. Your house and clutter will thank you for this one too! Write down how much you saved by not spending, and total it up at the end of the month. You’ll be amazed at how it adds up!
6. Make your own seasoning mixes
It’s surprisingly easy to make your own seasoning mixes, not to mention the health benefits of not having extra preservatives or sodium. It’s also kinda therapeutic to stir it up (think of those zen rakes with the sand) or shake out some frustration on a little spice jar.
7. Make your own household cleaners
I follow a Bowl Full of Lemons and Clean Mama and they both have books with their natural cleaning recipes and guides for keeping a clean and organized home.
8. Do a pantry and freezer challenge
Cook as much as you can out of your pantry and freezer once a month or as much as you can before you have to go to the grocery store.
9. Label your food with expiration dates
Fancy labels are awesome but from a tip from Danielle Walker, painter’s tape and a sharpie works just as well for containers that go in the fridge. That’s what I use and it’s so cheap. I put what it is and the date I cooked it so we know when we have to eat it by.
10. After dinner, move the oldest leftovers to the front of the fridge
Leftovers tend to lurk in the back so make a habit after dinner to rearrange the fridge and put the oldest food in the front so it gets eaten.
11. Make eating leftovers easy
Incorporate 1-2 leftovers days a week. Cook more so you have leftovers available for lunches or busy sports nights. An air fryer or toaster oven work well to make leftover chicken nuggets or fried food more crispy and less soggy than the microwave. My older boys love the air fryer and will air fry anything they can. Score!!! less work for me if they can do it themselves.
12. Make saving money a game
Download a fun savings or paying off debt tracker and color in each piece every time you make progress on your savings/paying off debt goal. This Debtris tracker from Debt Free charts helped us achieve some huge financial goals. Superhubby and I saved the tracker on our phones as the wallpaper so every time we unlocked the phone, it was the first thing we saw. We achieved that goal because we kept our mind focused on it and we both loved Tetris.
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Favorite Accessories to Make Budgeting Fun
I really like the stickers the PPP money planner comes with and there is lots of color already on the pages so I am highlighting my favorite accessories to use to make budgeting fun
- Adorable Smiley and Winking Face Binder Clips
- We R Memory Keepers Planner Punch Board so you can punch your own pages to add to a wire bound, coiled or discbound planners
- Large button calculator – i’m always partial to light blue but also available in pink, black, green and cream
- Uniball jetstream 5 in one – pens in 4 colors: red, blue, black and green plus mechanical pencil. I like to mark expense budget overages in red and coming in under budget in green. And I like pencil or eraseable pens when i’m doing finances.
- Pilot Frixion eraseable colored pens and highlighters – these eraseable pens and eraseable highlighters are great when budgeting because it’s very easy to erase when you make a mistake. Beware though, don’t leave the planner in heat (like in a parked car in the summer) or the ink will disappear! I normally leave my planner at home so this is a good option.
I’ll add more ideas as I have them but this is a basic start and simple list. Pick one item and focus on it today so you are one day closer to achieving your financial goals. Don’t overthink it, just pick one that resonates with you or think you can get done quickly. Every dollar in the bank adds up.