5 Painless Ways to Trim Your Budget
Posted January 28, 2015 by Prairie Wife - 5 comments
In our 2015 New Year’s Resolution Roundup I shared with you my desire to trim our budget here on the Prairie Homestead. While I know most of you are probably pleased about the drop in gas prices, here in Wyoming it’s already caused quite a bit of stress! So, this plan of mine frankly came at a great time, and might really end up saving our family some anxiety in the future. I’ve already shared with you how to save thousands on your family vacation, and how we save on average $300 dollars a month on our grocery bill. Now I’m sharing a few ways that I’m cutting out those little expenses that add up to big savings.
1. Eat at home!
We all know that eating out can quickly add up, especially with a large family like ours. I whole heartedly admit to giving into my pregnancy exhaustion a little too frequently these last few months. Especially on Wednesdays when Cowgirl G has ballet class until 5. It’s just so much easier to pull up to our local drive through, grab food, and feed everyone on the long drive home. But, the bill was often almost $30…even at a cheap burger place! Add to that picking up two pizzas to cook at home once a month and there go half my savings from my grocery budget. So, I’ve made up my mind to get back to our old habit of only eating out once a month. Take a moment to click on our Recipe tab and see a whole bunch of crock pot meals that you can make ahead of time (and freeze for later). And stop by in the next few weeks/months for healthy meals that take under 30 minutes!
2. Take a look at all your subscriptions.
I love fashion, and I love my fashion magazines! At this point I don’t need to cancel all of them but, even I have to admit that trying to keep up with the huge pile of magazines that comes each month is more stressful than relaxing. Over the years it seems that without my really noticing, more than a few extra magazines have slipped into my mailbox. So, I sat down and went through them and picked out my favorites, the ones that I just can’t wait to read. All of the rest of them I have canceled…I felt guilty at first because it really wasn’t anything personal but, when I realized that I was saving myself almost $100 a year I felt a ton better!
Remember there are other subscriptions than magazines. Years ago I joined a kid’s movie club and while most of the time I remember to send in the “No Thank You” post card at least several times a year I found myself forgetting, or missing the deadline. Then a charge was put on my credit card and we received a movie I never wanted. In the course of my nesting I found a pile of dusty brand new DVD’s and resolved to cancel the service (it was actually way easier than I thought). I just save us another $100 (or more). I also took the opportunity to sell them on a local FaceBook site to get some of my money back. You may also have a television, online program, beauty product, clothing, or food subscription that simply isn’t what you thought it would be anymore. Cancel it! You can always sign up again if you find you truly miss it.
3. Cut down on the expensive coffee.
One of my big indulgences is going to Starbucks and having a cup of coffee with a friend. Or a favorite way to treat a mom at a play date is to grab a coffee for her (and me) on the way over. We all know that those coffees add up, particularly if you are doing it once or twice a week. I also buy my two little Cowboys hot cocoa and pastries…I often don’t have time to eat breakfast so I need a sandwich or pastry too! When I took a moment to reflect I saw that I was spending $25 dollars (or more) on coffee a week…ouch! I refuse to totally give up my little luxury time for me (and my friends) but there are a few ways I can save myself some money. Firstly I am only meeting up with my girlfriend every other week. Now I no longer buy the kids a pastry but bring a snack in my purse for them to have with their hot cocoa. I have also thrown a box of protein/fiber bars into the van for me to eat when I skip breakfast. It’s also worth it to sign up for the Starbucks reward club where you can earn free coffees and they offer discounts that you can easily cash in with an app on your phone.
4. Talk to your husband/partner/friend before you buy it.
This one is a hard one for me, but it really works. I of course don’t call someone about every little purchase! It really is amazing how being forced to justify your purchases to someone else can make it obvious if it’s a need or a want. I often don’t need to actually call and have a real conversation! Just thinking in my head how I would justify why I was buying another pair of black boots is enough to make me realize I don’t “need” the item after all!
5. Get inspired to reuse and restyle what you already have!
Pinterest has actually been more helpful than harmful to our budget! Lately when I’m feeling the need for a wardrobe makeover I simply go shopping in my closet and find new stylish ways to wear older items. Go to our Pinterest page and check out our Prairie Wife and Texas Two Steppin’ style board to find some more inspiration. The same goes for things like nail polish (our beauty board has some great ideas), jewelry, and makeup.
Don’t forget about household items! I have a bunch of old frames that I haven’t used and rather than buy new ones I’m taking some inspiration from a past Prairie Wife and amazing DIYer Girl In Air and sprucing them up! This interior design guru and past Prairie Wife has a bunch of budget friendly and easy ways that you can revamp your house without making any purchases, or by simply buying a few low cost pieces.
How do you trim your budget?
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Categories: Life As It Happens