A quick note: For some reason, all the comments I’m receiving are going straight to my spam folder. I’m able to retrieve and approve them, so if you leave a comment and it doesn’t look like it went through, it most likely did – it’s just in my spam! You can leave me a message on Twitter or through my email to alert me if you’d like, but I’ll be checking my spam folder frequently to retrieve comments. (I’m in the process of getting this figured out and fixed!)
A while back I wrote a post about things I splurge and save on. The majority of what I wrote then is still true, even with my new focus of paying off debts and saving money. Today, I thought it would be interesting to showcase little ways I’ve started to curb my spending this year, since I am really trying to put more effort into being a better money manager. Sometimes, it can be easy to get down on myself because I’m not putting thousands of dollars toward my debt each month. (I’m so inspired by debt bloggers who can do this! It’s just impossible for me right now, unless I were to get a second job.)
Anyway, let’s dive in to the post, shall we? Here are five ways I’ve been curbing my spending this year:
1) I’m packing my lunch. As is well documented on this blog, one of the main ways I struggle when it comes to curbing my spending habits is with eating out. It’s probably my favorite way to spend my discretionary income! This year, I have been really diligent about packing my lunch for work and not going out. In fact, I haven’t ate lunch out once this year! (Well, on a work day, which, for me, is Monday – Thursday. Still! It’s progress.)
2) I’m only buying toiletries once a month. This cuts down on the number of times I go to Target, which is the biggest benefit. I still end up at Target more than I really should (it’s my happy place!), but cutting down to one big toiletries visit a month seems to be helping my budget. It’s just like how grocery shopping once a week is better than shopping multiple times a week: that big shopping trip seems expensive at first, but in the long run, it’s less expensive than all those little trips combined.
3) I’m meal planning every week. Oh, meal planning is not fun and I rather despise grocery shopping and cooking, but it’s an absolute must to adhere to my budget. Every Sunday, I spend a little time (honestly, it’s never more than 20 minutes!) making a weekly meal plan. I still wind up eating out a lot on weekends, but it does help me to eat at home on weekdays. I usually only plan for 2-3 actual meals (between lunch and dinner) since they make a ton of portions so I can have leftovers for days. Leftovers = budget saver.
4) I’m turning down social plans. It really pains me to turn down social plans, because I’m not someone who gets asked to do a great many things. Mostly, I say yes because I need social interaction and I need to build stronger friendships. But sometimes, I have to say no, because it just isn’t in the budget. Like a pedicure or night out on the town with girlfriends. It hurts, it doesn’t feel good, but I know I would feel worse to say yes and have to use my credit card that I just paid off to fund whatever outing it is. There’s a balance to be found between still enjoying life and being social and sustaining relationships, but also sticking to a frugal budget and making smart money decisions.
5) I’m paying attention to my budget and spending habits. This one is a biggie! I log onto my bank account online almost every other day so I can keep an eye on my budget and see where I’m at, money-wise. I use my handy-dandy budgeting spreadsheet that I adapted from Blonde on a Budget, which I constantly update. It helps me to see what areas I’m going overbudget (eating out and shopping, usually!) and readjust throughout the month. Gone are the days when I don’t look at my bank account for weeks and spent money carelessly! Keeping my budget updated is important to me, as is sticking to it and making sure I am achieving the money goals I set for myself each month.
What’s one way you’ve cut down on your spending lately?