Nowadays, if you want to save money, ya gotta get a little creative.
There are always lots of new ways to spend your hard earned dollars and there never seems to be nearly as many new ways to save!
Kinda makes you wonder why that is sometimes, doesn’t it?
No doubt we live in a world where everything costs money, but that doesn’t mean you have to end up with an empty bank account and nothing to fall back on when you need it the most.
Related: How To Save Money On Organic Meat
There’s lots of creative ways to save and the secret is being able to stick with it day after day no matter what happens. And on top of that being able to make the HARD choices that none of us want to make.
A savings challenge is a great (and can be a pretty fun) way to be able to do that!
There are lots of savings challenges you can either create on your own or use that other financially savvy people have created.
Here are a few you can check out:
A pretty easy one is the $5.50 a day challenge.
If you think about it, how many things throughout your day cost you about the same that you could forgo?
Maybe a couple vending machine snacks, a Starbucks coffee? Some change from the car wash that has added up in your car seats?
I think for the most part, $5 a day can be for the most part realistic, instead of doing $10 a day (though that would leave you with more than $3k by the end of the year!)
The number doesn’t have to be exactly $5.50, but you do have to find a number that works for you and your budget goals.
Heck, if all you can start with is two dollars everyday (the everyday part is very important) then so be it!
Everyone starts somewhere.
And at the end of the day you’ll be glad to have put in the little bit of daily extra effort.
Especially because a year goes by in a flash!
With a little bit of discipline and a reminder everyday to make sure you’re always putting away a little at a time (or even an automated bank transfer once per week) it really does start to add up!
There are lots of ways to not spend as much (though you also want to make sure you’re maximizing what you’re making as well, very important!) and one of those ways is paying attention to your food budget.
One way to save on groceries
Well, at least I think it’s genius.
So, almost always, the most money guzzling part of our budget comes down to our groceries (rent and mortgage are the biggest obviously but those are given fixed expenses).
And if we aren’t careful, a lot of our budget can go into the literal trash can when we overcook or have leftovers that end up just piling and piling into a mountain of food nobody wants to touch.
One GREAT and simple way to make sure you’re keeping up with leftovers and NOT throwing them away without thinking twice is to create your own version of a layered bean dip.
It works and it’s a yummy way to enjoy your leftovers (and maybe even mixing in some fresh ingredients) to make sure they always gets eaten.
If you think about it, bean dips taste great because its a mush of different flavors in your mouth that are layered together.
If you buy some chips to use as scoops for your ‘leftover bean dip dish’ then you’ve got a nice mix of textures in your mouth you can work with! 😉
Better yet, you can even get some ‘tostadas’ from the grocery store (they’re super cheap) to pile some of your layered dip on for some extra crunchy goodness!
For example, if I have some leftover rotisserie chicken, some leftover rice and sausage, and some leftover broccoli salad, I can make sure I reheat each leftover in a pan thoroughly and then layer them on top of each other.
You can add cheese to garnish, your favorite sauce, or your favorite spices to modify the flavor and add freshness!
Then just scoop it up and enjoy your easy dinner creation.
It’s a great idea and a great way to easily save $100+ a month on food if you take the time to do it once or twice a week for dinner or even lunch.
In a way the idea is kind of like a leftover crock-pot dump casserole, except its layered, so its easier to enjoy with some corn chips, and you still get different textures from each leftover ingredient (instead of mixing it all together in a mush).
Now, this is only one area in your life where you can save money. I’ve written a few in depth posts on the topic, because I LOVE finding new and creative ways to make sure I’m not spending if I don’t have too, or at least spending less.
After scrambling to get out of a growing pile of more than 10k in debt, I’ve been more intentional about where I spend my money, the things I buy, and the use and value that they’ll bring to my life.
The three questions I like to automatically ask myself, ESPECIALLY when I’m making a big purchase, are:
How much do I really need this?
Are there any better and cheaper alternatives?
Is this just going to add clutter to my life?
Do I really need this?
Really being honest with yourself and asking yourself if you’re really going to use it in the long run can help you not make a rushed decision into buying something you’ll just get tired of and throw away a few months down the road.
Are there any better or cheaper alternatives?
Sometimes, if you put a little more effort into finding something more durable and less pricey it pays off.
For the longest time, I tried looking for an office chair that was comfortable. But I had my fist held tight over my money.
I didn’t want to spend more than I needed to for an office chair (especially because they can be pricey) but I also wanted it to be comfy (so you can kinda see the dilemma there, in the end you get what you pay for).
I ended up buying a cheap chair at Big Lots that came…broken. And with a hole in the tapestry. The seat was so thin it sank flat after sitting on it for two minutes.
I returned it after taking the time to find a sturdier chair on Amazon that was not much more expensive than it.
Long story short, the extra effort I put into researching for a decent desk chair paid off. And if I would have done it earlier it would have saved me the headache (since I drove 30 minutes to the Big Lots that had the chair I wanted that actually turned out to take an hour there and back because of traffic).
If you just put in the work to find good stuff you’re bound to find better deals.
Is it just going to add clutter to my life?
This is a BIG one for me because I really really dislike clutter. I don’t like seeing it. I don’t like watching it pile up.
It gives me anxiety. Point blank.
Anything that doesn’t add serious and tangible value to my life I just keep from buying. If I don’t need it I won’t miss it and I won’t sulk that I didn’t buy it…because I don’t need it, ha!
It’s funny how our mind can play tricks on us and we go through moments where we feel like we need something when really, when it really comes down to it, you’re just itching to spend money ‘cus you can.
Hopefully the money saving challenge helps motivate you to save some real money this year! As they say, little steps add up to BIG results.
And that has never not been true. What are your money savings goal for the rest of the year? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!