Our holiday shopping spree is rapidly coming to an end with just days left before Christmas arrives. New Year’s Eve is right around the corner and with it all our debts and bills from the holiday season will be coming home to “nest” and you need to find ways to save money to pay money. Or maybe you just want to make saving money each month your New Year’s Eve resolution. Whatever the reason, these monthly money saving tips will help!
I practice what I preach here and my husband, a financial analyst, and I have created a monthly family budget and we meet regularly to talk about money. Recently we sat down to stock of our family’s finances. As a family of six, we’ve been hit with rising in expenses as well as losses on investments. We met for a brainstorming session to see just how we could make our paychecks go further and save more money.
We were able to come up with a plan to save $300.00 each month. Here’s how:
Tips for Saving Money #1: Eliminate Services You Don’t Use
Our first stop reviewing our monthly expenses led us to our AT&T Bundle invoice. Yours may have a different name but basically it is your cable, DirecTV or pay for channels television bill. We realized that we were $9.99 each month per premium channel like Cinemax and HBO. While we enjoy watching movies, the reality is that with busy working and parenting schedules, we just weren’t able to watch these movies at the times that they were on. Dropping the premium channels saved us $20.00 per month.
Total monthly savings: $20
Tips for Saving Money # 2: Reduce Unused Entertainment Expenses
Next we examined our entertainment expenses. We feel that we do well in this area using Entertainment Book, promotions, discounts and coupons whenever possible. Much our entertainment ends up being free or low cost using coupons and clubs like Simon Kidgets and Moxie Moms. Still we were back to the movie factor. We were using Blockbuster Online $15.99 a month. Further, you had to rent at least four movies each month to get your free movies in store. Realizing that there was a movie on our entertainment center that we had rented 6 ago, we saw that this was an expense that we could easily cut because we weren’t getting the value for our money.
Instead, next time I went to Blockbuster I signed up for the Rewards program. It is $10.00 to join for one year. With it you get your first rental free (getting back $5.00 of your membership) and on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday it is rent one get one free. Perfect for our family, as there can be a grown up movie and a children’s movie each time we go. Now I control what we spend on movies and when.
Cumulative Total of Monthly Savings: $35.99
Tips for Saving Money # 3: Look at Your Communication Expenses
We also examined our cell phone bills with Verizon. We saw that we were not using our full amount of minutes as our bundle package at homes includes unlimited long distance. We called Verizon and asked for discount ideas including corporate (we work from home) and school ( our son is in college). We changed our plan to Friends and Family and lowered the minutes. We shaved about 15% off of our phone bills which means a savings of $37.00 each month.
Cumulative Total of Monthly Savings: $72.99
Tips for Saving Money # 4: Packing Lunches
A look at our debit card and credit card statements let us quickly know where much of our money was going each month. We saw that my husband was spending about $6.00 a day for lunch. This of course doesn’t even factor in the gas money for going out to get lunch. With an estimate of 20 working days per month, lunches out were costing us about $120.00 per month. By using reusable containers and packing leftovers, we’re going green and saving money too. Not to mention that his packed lunch is healthier.
Cumulative Total of Monthly Savings: $192.99
Tips for Saving Money # 5 : Clip Coupons but Wisely
Clipping coupons isn’t the most fun thing that I do but I have found that when you follow these clipping coupon rules, coupons do save money. There are rules to couponing:
Coupon Rule 1: Don’t cut it if you don’t use it.
Coupon Rule 2: Don’t buy anything just because you have a coupon.
Coupon Rule 3: Make the most of coupons by stocking up when grocery items are on sale.
On a recent trip to the grocery store we saved $45.00 with coupons. Overall, we’ve found that we can save around $110.00 per month using coupons. In addition to Sunday circular coupons, we use Coupons.com, Smart Source and Red Plum.
Clipping coupons is hard work and I admit I do not always enjoy it. However, last month we saved $110.00 at the grocery store. Our most recent grocery trip, we had a savings of over $45.00 with coupons.
Cumulative Total of Monthly Savings: $302
How do we get these money saving tips accomplished? Each of you take some of the responsibility to gather information or to eliminate services or expenses. Give each other 24 hours and check back in. Make decisions based on your research and start your savings. Accountability makes sure that the job is done and that way there is no putting it off until another day when you are not so busy. Because guess what that day never comes and the money keeps being spent.
What could you do with an extra $300.00 a month? Start a savings? Pay off your Christmas shopping? Pay off debt? These are real money saving options that have worked for our family and we hope that you will use will use these tips to help your family start saving money now too.