Money may be a somewhat taboo topic in today’s society, but one thing we can all agree we like to talk about is how to save money! My husband and I are fans of the Dave Ramsey plan of getting out of debt. If you don’t know about the baby steps, check them out.
In early 2017 we paid off all of our credit card debt, for the last time! We have vowed not to have credit card debt anymore. Now, we will put things on a card when the situation warrants. (Like when it earns us points towards that 10th-anniversary trip, we are still trying to figure out a time to take, three years later.) Yes, we know this is not true Dave Ramsey. We’ve accepted that.
Then we worked on Baby Step 2, which is paying off all debt aside from a mortgage. We paid off our minivan three years ahead of schedule in February of 2019, and we were so excited!
Now we’re focused on Baby Step 3, which is a fully-funded emergency fund, or about six months of expenses. I’ll be the first to admit that it is hard to do things like, cancel Netflix to put more into savings. I mean, what is that $10 going to do in the grand scheme of things? Maybe not much, but if you could find an extra $100 this month, how would that help? Or an additional $500?
No, I’m not crazy. Nor am I suggesting you spend your time looking for spare change in the couch. Especially since you probably just moved and saw all the cheerios and Legos fall out of it. But I do have a few ideas.
Save each day.
There are several ways to save each day. You could take a dollar each day and put it aside. Or, do it all at once. Boom, $30. (Or do $5 a day.) Or you could save $1 on the 1st, $2 on the 2nd, etc. if you do that you’ll end up with $466 a month!
The smart way to eat out.
Ideally, we would cut our eating out, or ordering in, completely and save all the money, but that isn’t something we want to do. So I have some ideas on how you (and us!) can smartly do this. Start by establishing a reasonable budget for your eating out. Then pull that money out in cash. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
Or put that money on a gift card to the restaurant you want to eat at. Again, when it’s gone, it’s gone. I like to get a Dunkin Donuts coffee once a week. So if I put that on a gift card, I would be much more cautious with overspending.
Pack lunches. Just do it.
We meal prep and freezer cook and really have no reason to eat out. And with my instant pot, no excuse for not having something ready for dinner. We saved so much money this way. There’s no reason not to do this. Try it for a month and see what happens.
Fall Break without breaking the bank.
Fall Break here coincides with Thanksgiving, so it’s easy for us not to travel big. But we still want to have a little extra fun. So I’ve been stalking Groupon for some great, local ideas. We can save 50% at the local trampoline park. We can even save money on restaurants. It’s worth a little extra time to check that website.
Set a goal, and make it visual.
I love crossing things off a list, and so whenever I can find a way to make a challenge visually appealing, I take it. There are several ways to keep your family inspired to save extra money this month. You could make a simple thermometer that people can color in when they’ve added a dollar to the save jar. We used the “Debt Free” page and colored in a portion each time we got closer to our goal. Now we have an “Emergency Fund” image to color in. I once saw someone draw a detailed picture of their pickup truck and section of $500 blocks!
So what are we going to do this Fall? I’ve got a big goal, so we’re doing all of these things. I’d like to start 2020 with at least half of our emergency fund in the bank. So I’m going to:
- Stick to our entertainment budget each month.
- Only buy second-hand clothes in September.
- Have my very creative daughter make a goal chart for us.
- Keep packing lunches for my everyone, while giving each person one day a week to “eat out.”
- Use gift cards, coupon cards, and Groupon before deciding if we will eat out as a family.
I’m excited to see how much money we can save when we are intentional about it. What are you going to do to save money this month?