How to Save Money Every Day- Thinking on a Micro Level

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We all want to save money. That’s why you are here, right? I am definitely no different and that’s why I am here, too.

A bit of transparency here… Our family is in debt (and not just a little, a lot). I won’t name the figure, but just know, it is a lot! We basically lost two businesses in the last few years and just staying afloat caused us to build up a lot of debt. I’m sure some of you know what this feels like and are experiencing similar situations right now.

We are blessed (well, we have always been blessed) at this point to again have a steady income but it has not made the debt go away, far from it! We are basically following the Dave Ramsey Debt Reduction program of living on a “beans and rice budget” and snowballing our debt away. But it still will take us almost 4 years to pay off our debt. It seems like forever, but the freedom at the end will be amazing!

Sometimes saving money can seem like an insurmountable challenge and can be very frustrating. And if you are just starting this journey I want to encourage you to start thinking on a micro level. Break it down into small, manageable steps that you can easily handle.

If you are in debt or are saving for a large purchase like a car or wedding, or maybe you just want to stay home with your kids, the amount that you need for that can look so huge. It seems as though you will never achieve your goals, but in order to bring that goal down to something more manageable you need to start thinking about saving $5 a day or even $1 a day.

Can you turn the air conditioner up a degree? Switch your lawn watering to come on less? Carpool one day a week (or a month)? Switch to a generic brand? Make a goal to only use coupons for certain products or never pay over a certain dollar amount for something? Are your kids overscheduled so that cutting out one after-school activity would not only save on that specifically but also save on gas and give you more quality family time? There are so many ways to save $1 or $5 (or $10 a day), it’s not that much but adds it up!

• $1 a day = $365 a year.
• $5 a day = $1825 a year.
• $10 a day = $3650 a year.

Wow! That adds up quickly! And if you can put that money in the bank, you may get to your goal really fast, or at least faster that you thought you could.

Here are some things we personally cut that have made very little impact on our lives (Yes, we have had to cut out things that have hurt a bit more as well – that is a little harder).

• Stopped dying my hair (still get it cut at a nice salon) – $60 x 4= $240 a year.
• Cut the cable and got an antenna – $20 x 12 = $240 a year.
• Cut our phone land line down to the basic plan (some may want to get rid of that completely) – $25 x 12 = $300 a year.
• Downgrade our health insurance to a higher deductible plan – $350 x 12= $4200 a year.

These little things were very simple for us. (Sometimes I miss the Food Channel – lol.) And these easy changes save us almost $5000 a year. That’s crazy! If you knew you could have $5000 to go toward debt or in your savings account at the end of the year, and it wasn’t very difficult … wouldn’t you do it? And if it really is as easy as some of the above why not think a little harder and make it $10,000?

I know you can do it!

What are some budget changes you can make or have made to get to your goals?

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Comments

  1. Corinne says

    One thing that is really, really great is Skype. It’s a way to have a phone line without needing a phone! My little girl was playing with my cell phone and long story short now 3 of the number buttons no longer work. I can’t replace the phone until May of next year so Skype is coming to my rescue. I love to use their video chat option and we can instantly talk to my sister and her family and the cousins are getting to know one another even though we are over 1,000 miles apart. You can download it for free, just be sure to watch out for phishing scams with it as for a while I was getting lots of sketchy messages claiming to be from Skype.
    We use Hulu.com and TVGuide.com (http://www.tvguide.com/FBC/DVR.aspx) to watch TV and movies for free or we get them from our public library, I just go on their online catalog and it’s like I’m shopping :)
    We buy all of our food staples and much of our cleaning and beauty supplies in bulk (and because we are trying to not create waste I use reusable muslin bags or glass jars) from our grocery store and I am constantly making meals in our slow cooker for time and money saving. We get all of our produce (almost) from our local farmer’s market and I am trying to do 50% of our meals vegetarian from soaked beans and we belong to a local organic/pasture raised meat buying club.
    My husband carpools to work every day and I walk everywhere I can with my little girl.
    The thing I really love about being frugal is that it is so often environmentally friendly too!

  2. Sherri says

    We now buy Starbucks coffee beans when they go on sale at Target and make our own coffee at home. Cutting out a daily trip to Starbucks saves a lot!

  3. barbara says

    I keep a really frugal pantry…lentil soup and bean dishes, I never shop supermarket unless I need : brownie mix (when it is $1), best foods mayo (on sale), turkey breast 1/2. I get my produce mostly from a small local market that has better quality and lower prices than the farmers mkt, and I shop costco and fill in pantry items at trader joes. I keep minimum condiments..just the basics and make my own “sauces” by mixing and matching. (hey they go bad too…and most people have a frig littered with bottles, many expired!). I never buy juice (better to eat fruit), the only cereal I get is oatmeal from costco, and never buy salad dressing or pasta. I only buy “functional” (as opposed to “fun”) bread (costcos kirkland 100% whole wheat). I make my own ice tea from tea bags (amazed at how many people buy it ready made in a jug!!) & other than that we drink water. and if I have to take dessert somewhere I either make a fruit platter or dr up some brownie mix with one of my “creative additions.”
    I do not buy wastebasket liners.. it amazes me that the same people who will BUY re-usuable grocery bags will buy plastic bags for all of their wastebaskets!! On occasion I do need to wash mine out..but so baht? better than buying all that plastic. I do not use fabric softener and recently when I ran out of windex…I started using some ammonia and water..and may just stick to that. I use my costco american express card and not only get my gas cheaoer than other places but get a 5% rebate at the end of the year. My one of my costco “rewards” got me a wonderful new carry on suitcase w/ wheels I had wanted.

  4. says

    Just adding some of my small savings tips:
    Garden – freeze your veggies, use them to make marinara sauces, can them and lastly make your own convenience packs by chopping the onions, carrots, peppers, etc and flash freezing them on cookie sheets then transferring them to ziplock baggies afterwards. The chopped frozen veggies can be used to start stocks, soups, sauces, casseroles, etc.
    Cruise yard sales or ask friends and relatives for canning jars and make your own jams when fruit is in season or your neighbour is giving it away for free (even better!)
    Be a good neighbour – can’t tell you how many times this pays off – babysitting exchanges, extra garden produce exchanges, extra set of helping hands for small home repairs/projects when needed, bartering to fill a need for both parties (we barted hay for butchered beef, we fixed another neighbour’s roof and had free vet services in exhange). Good deeds always come back to you.
    Drive slower and use the A/C in the car less
    Keep the heat and A/C in the house to a minimum. Use sweaters or fans.
    And most important in our home – buy used whenever possible. My husband and I have only ever bought one new piece of furniture (ok, more than one, if you include mattresses for the beds). We have a house full of beautiful antiques bought at auction and at yard sales, some good quality couches that we bought at auction and recovered, oriental rugs bought at auction – and all at a fraction of what crappy new IKEA type furniture sells for. It takes a while to furnish a home this way, but in the end it is worth it, it is good for the environment, and it creates a very comfortable and inviting home.

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