Tips like these helped us pay off $127K in debt. You can read our story in Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After.
5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . Happy New Year! If you made a resolution to save money and pay off debt this year, I hope that you’re sticking to it. I don’t know what it is about new beginnings that can motivate us to make some change. And if you’re looking to make some change or save some change in 2015, I have five ideas to put dollars back in your pocket.
Go on a restaurant fast
Listen, I’m not a big meanie. I am not telling you can never eat at a restaurant again. But it is a good idea during the month of January to go on a break. Set a specific time frame – a week or even the whole month – and commit to staying out of restaurants. Read more about the Restaurant Challenge that our family is taking during the entire month.
Stay out of the store
Shopping is not a sport or hobby to be listed on your resume. There’s this crazy principle that still amazes me. If you stay out of the store, you don’t spend money. It’s a miracle like that, right? I’m not a cavewoman. I know you will have to buy toilet paper eventually. So when you do go to the store, have a very specific targeted list and stick to it. Read more about how you can keep from going to the store so frequently in The #1 Way to Save Money at the Store,
Descale your coffee pot
This tip can save you money in more ways than one. If you’re addicted to java like I am, you need a well-functioning coffeepot. So today, do yourself a favor and descale your machine. Never done it before? You simply at one part of white vinegar to three parts of water and run it through a regular brewing cycle. Let the mixture sit heated for about fifteen minutes and then pour it down the drain (Pro-tip: This also cleans out your sink and drain – bonus!). Then run another cycle with water only through the machine. Bot your carafe and the brewing system will be cleaned out from mineral deposits. The coffee will taste better (keeping you out of the drive thru) and your coffee pot will last longer, keeping you from buying a new one. For other coffee tips, read: 5 Ways to Save Money on Coffee!
Use cash only in the grocery store
I love the cash system. I know that I spend more when I use my debit card than when I have specific boundaries to keep me in check, even if it’s only $5-10. I get that not everyone isn’t ready to go whole hog and ditch their more convenient methods of payment but if you can go cash only in just your grocery spending, I guarantee you will save. For more ideas on cash only read: Budget Tip Tuesday: Face Down the Challenges to Cash Budgeting
Learn how to use coupons and always look for a deal
You don’t have to be extreme to save money. I regularly use coupons and don’t spend every waking hour clipping and storing up flats of toilet paper and a treasure trove of candy bars. Whether it’s an mobile discount like Target’s Cartwheel, Meijer’s mPerks, or the Walmart Savings Catcher, or a more traditional method like the Sunday paper, you should be using coupons. I love using sites like Retail-Me-Not and Ebates to search for coupons before I make an online purchase, too. Commit to never paying full price and let your creative juices flow. For more on less traditional coupon methods, read: Saving with Digital Coupons.
Lastly, it’s important to treat saving money like a game – one that you must win. If you approach these practices with drudgery, you will be miserable. But if you’re always asking, “What else can I do?” “How else can I save?” “Where else can I cut back?” with a spirit of recognition that saving in one area will allow you to spend in those areas you really love, you’ll have a different mind-frame and approach the practice with much more zest. If you’re certain that it will be a horrible experience, it will be.
How are you planning to save more in the New Year? I’d love to read your ideas in the comments.
My book is now available: Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After. You can also check out Inspiration to Pay Off Debt: 30 Days of Encouragement from the Queen of Free on Kindle.
This post contains an affiliate link. That means when you get a great deal or maybe even something for free, you also help our family pay off our mortgage early. And for that, we royally thank you!