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My adventure as I jump into life all in!!

Keep Those Dollars In Your Pocket!!

on March 4, 2014

This post is part of a budgeting series. See All the steps below:

Budgets, Where To Start?
The Other Half of the Budget

The Nitty Gritty

Budget Deficit

Cutting Your Grocery Bill

I Need Extra Income
Irregular Incomes


Photo Credit: Tax Credits via Compfight cc

Last week, we went over how to save money on groceries. This week we’re going to cover other ways to save money. We’ll go over a few different categories that we can save in:

  • Gifts
  • Eating Out
  • Entertainment
  • Vehicle Expenses
  • Home Decor

There are many more ways you can save if you put your mind to it, but those are the ones we will go over for now. How much do you spend on your family and friends every year for gifts? Do they even want the item you purchased or did you just buy it because you needed to get them a gift? An easy way to save on gifts is to make them yourself. With Pinterest at your fingertips, there are ways to make all sorts of gifts (Follow the links for to see the ideas on Pinterest):

  • Knit or crochet something. You can make a cute hat for little ones, a scarf for ladies or a coffee cozy for the guys in your life.
  • Craft something. There are all sorts of things from home decor to personalized items to spa rubs and more.
  • Do something. Everyone in your life needs something done for them. From babysitting to lawn mowing to help cleaning. Just offer them your time, it will be much more appreciated than a new trinket.
  • Cook something. For those who have it all, make them a yummy dessert or trail mix. Be sure to be aware of any food allergies though. You wouldn’t want to make someone nut-filled brownie and find out they are allergic to nuts.
  • Sign up for a deal site. Groupon, LivingSocial and PinPoint all offer rewards to local places. Just sign up with your email and some of them require that you tell them your nearest big city. Often, the deals aren’t just from the big city, but from a range of towns near that city. For example, by signing up for the Omaha Groupon or LivingSocial pages, you can get deals from Blair, Nebraska to Crescent, Iowa and beyond. Sometimes they’ll also notify you of deals slightly further away, such as Des Moines or Lincoln from the Omaha signup.

Not eating out is a huge way to save money. If you are spending hundreds of dollars on eating out, yet you are unable to pay your bills, then you need to shift your spending. Making meals at home can save a lot of money. buy things at the store that you can use to take meals to work, too. That will prevent eating out while at work. If you absolutely must eat out a few times a month, there are ways to save.

  • Look for deals. Most restaurants offer some sort of value meal, whether a fast food value meal or a “2 for $20” set of meals at some chain restaurants.
  • Join the mailing (or emailing list). Lots of restaurants, especially chain restaurants, offer deals to customer that sign up to receive deals in their email. Even some local restaurants offer mailing lists with coupons or special deals.
  • Coupons. Try to look for coupons to your local restaurants.  Some often put some in the local paper.
  • Gift Cards. If you have received a gift card to a restaurant, go out and use it! It is a free meal!
  • Sign up for a deal site.

Entertainment can be a huge money-pit if you aren’t careful. Here are a few ways to save there:

  • Cut cable. Instead of paying hundreds of dollars each year on your cable bill, cancel your subscription and just watch local TV, the DVD’s you already own, and get a Netflix subscription. It’s way cheaper than cable.
  • Don’t go to the theater. Or at least don’t buy the snacks there. Movie theaters can be so expensive. With tickets around $10 and popcorn and drinks about $10 as well, it really adds up. Save your money and watch a DVD at home or go to the movie but eat before you go.
  • Visit free local attractions. Before you spend money to get into a local museum or theme park, look around for free places to go. Take the kids to the local park to play, research free museums and other attractions in your area. My area has a beautiful botanical garden that is free to visit.
  • Again, sign up for a deal site such as Groupon, PinPoint or LivingSocial.

There are also a variety of ways to save on your vehicle:

  • Change your own oil. If you aren’t sure how, ask a friend or relative. Hopefully someone you know changes their own oil.
  • Carpool. Find out if others in your area are traveling to the same places you are and carpool.
  • Look for cheaper car insurance.
  • Get rid of your car payment. If you owe more than your car is worth, consider selling it back to the dealership and buying an affordable, reliable used car. If you owe less than it’s worth, aggressively pay off your loan to get it completely paid off, or sell it back to the dealership and use the trade-in value to pay for a reliable used car. If you own two cars that you are paying car payments on, consider the possibility of selling one and driving the other one.
  • Again, deal sites.

Home decor pretty much falls under the same category as gifts. If you want your house to look great, there are ways to do it for a fraction of the cost the stores charge for home decor. Search Pinterest for the decor item you are wanting. There is usually a pin of a craft for the item at a far cheaper cost than if you bought the item brand-new from a design store. Also, signing up for the deal sites sometimes offers you deals at local stores that sell home decor.

So, have you come up with any ideas of ways to save money in your budget? Next week, we will go over ways in boost your income (temporarily), so be sure to come back.


4 responses to “Keep Those Dollars In Your Pocket!!

  1. andrea k says:

    such great tips! thank you for sharing!

  2. YI_Blog says:

    It’s amazing how much spending can feel so great and satisfying until that thing we bought is old and it is often old as soon as it gets into the grocery bag or at the door step. Minimizing those areas of ‘fun’ and switching them out with social gathering has allowed me to “keep those dollars in my pocket.”

    • becbier says:

      I agree! Quality time is of much greater value than material things. It’s just so hard to tell myself that when I really want something.

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