10 Ways To Save Money This Year – Part 2
This is the second part of our two-part series “10 Ways To Save Money This Year”. If you have not read the first five ways to save money, you can do that here: http://padoozles.com/10-ways-to-save-money-this-year-part-1/.
Let’s save more money this year!
In the last post, these were our first five money saving steps to focus on this year:
- Be determined to save money every day.
- Find ways to save on groceries.
- Take steps to pay off any credit card or debt as you can.
- Take advantage of a tough economy that affects businesses.
- Take steps to save on monthly bills and utilities.
Of course, there was a little more to those money saving strategies than listed right here, so you’ll want to read more about those in the previous post. For now though, let’s get rolling on more things you can do this year to start saving more money.
10 WAYS TO SAVE MONEY THIS YEAR – PART 2
6. Set aside a cheap date night with your spouse at the very beginning of every month to discuss monthly goals, upcoming purchases, and special needs you know you may be facing that month.
Have you ever thought about how you might as well be upfront and honest with the Lord about your thoughts, deeds, and actions in life because… well, what is in your life “IS” (or perhaps what was “WAS”)… and He knows it all anyway? If you have ever come clean with God, then you already know that when you do that, life actually seems so much better and your vision is so much clearer! God’s yoke really is lighter, you know.
Well, being upfront and honest with your spouse… and yourself… is a very important part of money management. If you face your battle with some prior forethought, advanced planning, and a soul mate you have brought to battle with you, you will have a better chance of doing the right things when you come across those speed bumps and challenges that month. Bring what “IS” and “IS TO BE” to light with your spouse before it happens, and you’ll be amazed how much better you will handle your finances when those expected financial tests actually come to your door.
Take paper. Takes notes. Focus on the upcoming month the most, but also let each other know about other things a little further down the road that you might have some concern over or that you might need to be planning for. This will help prepare you both for not only what is coming up more immediately but will help you start thinking about ways to handle other things coming up in the not-so-far future.
Brainstorm. Make some decisions if you need to. Give some suggestions or thoughts when that seems more appropriate. Encourage one another. Be a resource and a sounding board, not a bump on a log or a bummer. Then let each other fly like an eagle in the roles you each have.
Before I leave this area of thought, note that I did just say “date night” with your spouse.
It doesn’t matter if your time together is at night time, at a breakfast buffet, on the weekend, in the middle of the day, or in the middle of the night (providing you both are wide awake). However, if you want to make economic battle plans and prepare for a financial win for your family, you NEED to have a special time together that is not hindered by children, pets, the news, cell phone notifications, or any other distractions that could keep you focusing on what you need to do as a couple.
Talk money. Talk life. Take it all to God. Just don’t do it with distractions, disruptions, and interruptions galore. You’ll take the work you do during this time much more seriously and leave that time much more energized if you tackle this chore without everyday life beating you up while you are doing it.
7. Make family vacation choices this year that will keep you within your spending ability this time.
I may be a little odd. Perhaps I have just been blessed in this one area, but somehow I have been able to figure out how to have really cheap family vacations that have been really great (or at least great most of the time – great ALL the time if you ask me – great most of the time if you ask my kids). I’ll have to write about some of our inexpensive family getaways and how we did them someday!
That said, I will tell you that you CAN find fun things to do for trips and vacations that don’t have to break your bank.
Even if you love going on an actual vacation and don’t want to give that up this year, you can figure out ways to have a vacation you can afford if you really want one. You may not go where you had wished you could go this year. You may not do the kinds of activities you hear about others doing this year. You can find really cool things to experience in life though. You can have fun with your family. AND you can feel really, really good you made wise decisions instead of using credit or taking money from other places it is needed.
Here are some of the tricks to figuring out some cheap vacation ideas for your family:
Get on that computer of yours and start researching some places.
Look for free or inexpensive activities you can do there.
Then look at the lodging options at your destination of choice. Don’t assume anything yet. Be creative if need be.
Cut down the nights if need be. If you can’t afford more, then don’t stay more. Or spend some time in one place and stay someplace else for a while. We have combined hotel stays some nights with primitive campsites on other nights, and it has been wonderful (again, wonderful if you ask ME). hehe
If what you started planning feels like too much, then start all over again with something different and go until you discover what you feel you CAN do this year.
The point with all this is: Have a vacation with your family this year. With life as hard as it is, you all need some fun time together as a family. Just do whatever it is that you can afford.
But don’t look over at your neighbor when you do. Just enjoy what YOU are doing with your family this year.
And enjoy the savings.
8. Make a list of twelve things you want to do or learn this year that will help you save money in little ways or make extra money to help out.
For instance, some of the things I know I want to do this year include:
- Find 20 good bean recipes,
- Make bone broth from scratch for homemade soups,
- Make all my own clothes detergent, dishwasher detergent, and olive oil soap with tea tree oil,
- Learn how to market products online (to help me make money),
- Set up two niche blogs for my husband, which he requested (to help HIM make more money)
- Figure out how to buy two things free per month using sales and promotions coupled with apps, coupons, and /or rebates,
- Spend a romantic weekend getaway with my husband using Military Space A (a great savings for active duty military families and military retiree families),
- Save on one thing each month in a way in which I can share the savings with someone else.
If your list includes some things that help reduce expenses, then you will soon find yourself with additional funds to pay down debt, to put money into savings, or to set aside for something special down the road.
9. Start a savings account this year using some of the money you have saved throughout the year.
My husband and I have an old savings account we have not paid much attention to in more recent years. Sorry guys, but that is the way it is. At least I am being truthful here!
Our daughter Amy told me about a 52 week money challenge she saw on one of her favorite websites around the beginning of this year. I’ll need to find out what that website is and let you know.
Anyway, when I didn’t do anything myself about the challenge (or our savings account), she came into my bedroom with a printed copy of the 52 week savings challenge. I looked at it, and it actually seemed do-able for us!
Beginning a little late in the year, but making up for those first couple of lost weeks, we are putting one dollar extra in each week into a savings account. In a nutshell, the plan is such that you put $1.00 into your savings account on January 1. One week later, you put $2.00 into that savings account. One week later, you put $3.00, and so forth.
Looking at the challenge on paper, it looked like it could get a little tricky by the end of the year when we saw we would be putting $50.00 in our savings one week, $51.00 in the very next week, and then $52.00 in the very next week, the last week of the year (especially at a time when my husband’s teaching income goes down).
Then the Spirit inspired me just enough to know it was possible. If we worked hard at managing our money and saving money more and more throughout the year, we should HAVE the funds necessary to save more and more throughout the year.
That realization is not only the impetus that motivated my husband and I to jump on this plan to save money every week, it is now also the motivation for me to work really hard every day this year to be disciplined and save money everywhere I can.
I’ve got to share this too. I now wake up so excited on Thursdays! That’s the day we put our extra dollars into our savings account. It just feels good to do that after so long of savings neglect.
If you have a bigger cash flow, your savings plan may be much larger obviously. You may adjust your savings plan for larger amounts or decide to begin investing, or to invest more. If your budget is even tighter than ours (and ours is pretty tight, but I know some people have more to deal with than even we do), then you might need to adjust amounts to fit your budget or to design a savings plan in a different way.
But I do encourage you to begin saving something this year, even if it is $10.00 this month and $15.00 next month, or $10.00 each month even. Without fail, mind you!!! I bet you’ll begin to feel more and more in control of life if you put something, ANYTHING, into a savings account on some kind of planned schedule.
You’ll also enjoy seeing that savings at the end of the year.
Did you know that putting $1.00 more in each week results in a balance of $1,378.00 saved after 52 weeks? See why I’m motivated to follow good financial principles throughout the year to do that now?
10. Go to the Lord every day.
Thank Him. Praise Him. Give Him your worries. Ask Him every day to direct your path and to bless every decision you make that day, every single day this year. Then know you are in good hands every moment of it.
With God at your side , you have all the resources you really need. You can do this!
Best wishes for you all.