“Simple Ways to Save Money…without Clipping Coupons″ is guest posted by Atlanta’s Frugal Mom, Barbara Burns. I brought her on board because, as Barbara notes, many ways of frugal living align with healthy lifestyle. We want you to cruise into 2015 ready to go and confident that you can handle anything.
Thank you, Barbara, for your great work!
We all want to save money these days, but if the idea of clipping coupons or scrounging through the couch cushions for loose change sounds less than appealing to you, fear not. There are plenty of ways to save money without feeling like you’re one 49¢ tuna can away from appearing on an episode of Extreme Cheapskates. More importantly, you may find that many ways of frugal living also align nicely with a healthy (or healthier) lifestyle.
Ways to Save Money (without Clipping Coupons)
Brown Bag It
In many offices, there seems to be social pressure to go out for lunch most days. Don’t fall in to this trap. If you’re in the habit of grabbing lunch on-the-go, consider bringing your lunch from home once a week. A simple turkey sandwich from home costs far less than even a five-dollar footlong. And if you’re making your own food, you know what’s in it, which means you can control how healthy it may be. Savings: minimum of $5/week – $260/year for ONE day a week – imagine if you brought your lunch everyday! Yep, that’s about $1,300 you’d save!
Water, Water, Everywhere
If you DO find yourself eating out, opt for water. Not only is it a better option for you than soda or tea (no matter how delectable a cold glass of sweet tea may be!!), it’s FREE! Most restaurants typically charge two bucks a -ahem- pop for drinks, so if you find yourself eating out on a regular basis, that can really add up. Besides, the advantages of ditching soda are profound. Savings: $2 each meal, about $100/year if you eat out just ONCE a week.
Or Hop on Your Bike
Unless you drive an electric vehicle, you’re likely guzzling gas while driving around town – whether it be on a trip to the grocery store, or your daily commute to work. When at all possible, leave your car keys at home, and WALK to your destination. Or dust off that bike and put it to good use. Doing so even just once a week will accomplish several things: save you gas, preserve a day’s worth of wear-and-tear on your vehicle and once again, offer you a nice workout. You can also learn how you can really get the most bang for you buck with Kroger Fuel Rewards. Savings: estimated minimum savings of $5/month, or $60/year, depending on cost of gas and length of travel.
Shop with Purpose. And a List.
One thing stores bank on is impulse buys from customers. The average consumer will leave a store with a multitude of items they’d never intended to purchase initially – it’s the purposeful power of persuasion grocery stores spend BIG bucks on to get YOU to fork over more money. But with a little discipline and organization, you can limit your impulse purchases. It’s simple: create a list of what you need before you step foot in that store, and then stick with it. If you know the layout of your store, then it should be easy to zip through the store, only going down the isles for items on your list. The less time you spend in the store, the less likely you are to purchase impulse items. Bonus “mommy” tip: I give my list to my daughter and tell her we can only buy the things on that list. This helps keep me accountable (nothing like a five-year-old to keep you on track!) and it helps limit the grocery store temptations available to kids. After all, if it’s not on the list, she can’t have it, right? Savings: …..heaven only knows!
The easiest way to ensure you and your family don’t eat well, and spend more than you should on a meal is by not planning ahead of time. Meal planning allows you to plan your meals in advance, thus taking the anxiety out of the age-old “what’s for dinner” dilemma. If you’d like to learn more about meal planning, check out these two great resources over at Smart Money Mom and at Bargain Briana. Estimated savings: $20/week, or $1,000/year!
Check Your Bills
Cable, phone, and internet bills can add up quickly. Make a point to check those bills periodically and don’t be afraid to call the companies and negotiate a lower rate. Also check for hidden and/or extra charges – for example, you don’t need a “phone maintenance fee”. Further, many folks are discovering they can completely ditch their cable and utilize Hulu, Netflix, and other comparable services at a considerably lower rate. Others are discovering they can simply pick up a good book from the library. For free. 😉 Estimated savings: $20/month or $240/year.
Of course, if you do wish to utilize coupons, you can print coupons from the convenience of your home. Pair coupons with your smartphone apps to save big moolah! And I’m always happy to help teach you how to do that!
Got any additional money-saving tips that may also double as a healthful tip? Please comment below – I’d love to hear about it!
About Barbara: An Atlanta native, Barbara is a former classroom teacher with a knack for squeezing pennies and a love of sharing fugal living and parenting tips and advice for others. She adores her two young ginger kids, has a propensity for reading as much as possible, and enjoys a cool dip in the pool on a hot Southern day. In addition to running Atlanta’s Frugal Mom, Barbara teaches preschool, tries to make it to the gym, cringes at grammatical errors, and enjoys an occasional indulgence in Chick-fil-a’s sweet tea – all with a touch of snark, sarcasm, and a smile on her face.