Unless you make enough money that you don’t live on a budget, saving money can be a tall order to fill for many Americans, myself included. How are you supposed to save money when you don’t make enough to pay the bills? Little savings add up to big savings. Find something to turn into a piggy bank and let’s get started.
That Dollar: First, you have to think of every dollar as a lot of money. Sure, you bought that soda or coffee and so what? It was only a dollar right? Well, if you buy one every single day, that’s $30 dollars per month or $360 dollars per year. Be honest, how many times each day do you say, “It’s only a dollar?” At the snack machine? Morning coffee? What’s your dollar trap? Instead of spending that dollar or two dollars each day, put it in your piggy bank. Don’t put it into your budget for bills. You were spending it before and didn’t need it for bills, so save it. At the end of the year, you’ll have between $400 and $1200 dollars if you put in a couple of dollars per day.
Grocery Store: I’m not going to tell you to coupon. I don’t want to do it, nor do I have the time. A good way to save money at the grocery store is to avoid it. If you don’t want to grow your own vegetables, raise chickens, and so forth, you can still save money and eat well.
Americans throw away a lot of food. How often do you do a big grocery trip and a week later throw out fruit and veggies that have spoiled? Do you take the time to vacuum seal chips, cheese, and anything that air spoils? Stop buying more than you need! Use every single thing you have before you go shopping again, other than emergency storage. Eat breakfast for dinner a couple of nights per week. Eggs are cheap and a good source of protein and about 1/4th the price of meat. I promise you that if you truly wait until you need to go grocery shopping, you’ll save a minimum of $100 dollars per month. Stick that money in your piggy bank. Now you’ve saved another $1,200 dollars per year or more.
The Gas Pump: Well, if you aren’t ready to convert your vehicle to run on vegetable oil or ride a bike everywhere, consider public transportation or car pooling. If you are a stay at home parent, combine trips. For instance, do your errands in the morning when you take the kids to school.
The gas pump is a major expense for Americans and it’s only going to get worse over time. Really think about how much money you can save each month by converting your vehicle, walking or biking, using public transportation, or carpooling. I used to spend about $400 to $500 dollars per month on gasoline. Now, I let my children ride the school bus instead of driving them to and from school, and go grocery shopping with my neighbor when I can. That’s more savings for you; right now.
Almost Free Is Better: There are so many things you can get for free or really close to it. I know some people who have never been in a thrift store. Why? How stupid and wasteful. You can get books for a quarter, material to make quilts (which you can sell for at least $300 dollars), clothes from Forever 21, Wet Seal, and Dillard’s for a couple of dollars (if you just look), and household items for next to nothing. I wanted some summer dresses and I hit my local thrift store.
I got four dresses for under ten dollars. After washing them, I put on the cutest one and went grocery shopping. Between the grocery store and my house, three people told me how cute my dress was and asked me where I got it. I smiled and said, “It was two dollars at the thrift store.” Why are people ashamed of wearing a gently used item, but not ashamed of being wasteful and trying to act wealthier than they are? You’ll actually be wealthier if you stop trying to spend money like some Hollywood Starlet. Put the difference you’ve saved in your at home bank.