One thing that’s guaranteed to make anyone frantic and frenzied is worrying about money. Whether it’s an unplanned expense, or just that the paycheck doesn’t stretch far enough, there are ways you can save $10,000 in a year. It takes some planning and prioritizing, but the results are worth it.
There is nothing worse than losing sleep wondering how you’re going to pay your bills. It seems like there is always more going out than coming in. When this is the case, it means looking for ways to cut expenses in order to save money.
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I know a few people who don’t pay much attention to their budget, but none of those folks happen to live at my house.
We’ve always had to watch our pennies. And even if penny-pinching wasn’t a necessity, I’d probably be doing it anyway simply because that’s the way I was raised. My grandmother was a young married woman during the Great Depression and she had a huge influence on my thinking in many areas – money in particular.
And then there’s the fact that the hubby and I have never followed the herd. We made the decision to become a one-income family years ago – but with a twist. I had the higher paying job so it made sense for hubby to make the transition to become a stay-at-home dad to our three kids. It was just what our family needed since my job hours tended to be somewhat unpredictable and we wanted our kids to have the stability having a parent at home and available when they needed it.
So hubby took over the home while laying groundwork for the careers we’re now working in, while I went off to work. It wasn’t always easy. In fact, it was downright difficult at times. But it was worth it for our family. (And our experiences with this will be another post.)
But in order to make it all work, we watched our pocketbook like a hawk and became ruthless in sorting the “wants” from the “needs”.
And you know what? We found that a lot of things people “need” were things that we decided we could do without. Oh, they’re all nice things – but they weren’t the necessities we’d been led to believe they were.
So here are some things we decided to do without. We still do without most of these expenses since we discovered how little we really missed them.
Expenses we cut to save money
1. Save Money By Ditching Cable TV
I can hear it now. “But we have to have our cable TV! The kids would revolt if we cut if off.”
When we gave up our cable TV our kids ranged from ages 2-9. They were huge fans of Cartoon Network and I won’t lie – they missed it.
But a funny thing happened. Once the choice was no longer there, they began to do other things. Things like playing in the yard, having friends over for play dates, and reading books! This last one was the most interesting result because my kids were already readers. But after the cable was gone, they became avid readers! As a teacher, I thought it was the best thing that ever happened to my kids – and I was right.
From a purely financial standpoint, I figure that ditching the cable saved our family approximately $900. ($75.00 x 12 months = $900.00) That’s a significant savings and was a relatively easy place for us to start trimming.
Related Post: Yes, You CAN Save Money At The Grocery Store!
2. Cut Expenses By Doing Your Own Hair And Nails
Speaking of trimming, the next area was the hardest one for me personally. And that was giving up the salon haircuts.
I’d never gone to an expensive salon in the first place, so many people would see even greater savings than we did. But we still saved at least $240 each year on my haircuts alone. ($20 x 12 months = $240). By assuming another $10 a month for the other four people in the family, and you’ve saved another $480 per year for a grand total of $700 savings.
And then there is the issue of having your hair colored. I have to admit that I have never had my hair colored professionally. I know – that makes me a definite outlier. But I have lots of friends who spend a fortune getting their hair colored. I’m estimating a conservative $480 savings each year by coloring your hair at home. ($40.00 x 12 months)
There are a few essentials you’ll need when you decide to eliminate trips to the hair salon. But we found that investing in these essentials were well worth the price because of the money we saved…and continue to save. We’re still using these items.
- If you’ve got folks with very short hair, then a good set of hair clippers is a must. The one we’ve always used is battery operated but I actually like this one that’s rechargeable better (and I’d buy this one if I needed a new one). Ours has given countless haircuts to my hubby and boys through the years. Yes, we still start the haircut with scissors, but for trimming around ears and neckline, a good pair of clippers is a must.
- In order to give a haircut that doesn’t look like you put a bowl on someone’s head, you need to learn a few techniques. We actually got our copy of How To Cut Your Own Or Anyone Else’s Hair from my mom and it is still on our shelf. It’s more than a little worn and page corners are turned down. This book has saved us a bundle of money over the years!
- You’ll also need a good pair of hair scissors. This set includes a set of hair thinning shears and a razor (I’ve never managed cutting with a razor) so you’ll have everything you need in a nice little zipper case.
- A hair cape isn’t essential but it is handy. Yes, you can just drape a towel around shoulders, but it is a little more cumbersome and can be a pain shaking all of the hair out before you throw the towel in the washing machine. This cape is water repellent and covers clothing better than a regular old towel.
Okay, now with this next confession you’re probably going to want to check to see that I’m really a woman. I promise I am, but I’ve also never had a professional manicure or pedicure. And I’ve never felt one bit cheated either. In fact, I love nail polish and love changing my nail color a couple of times a week. I can buy a lot of nail polish (and share it with my daughter) for the $360 I estimate that I save ($30.00 x 12 months).
But even though I don’t go to the salon, I’m still a girl who likes to have my nails done. These are some products I use to keep my nails looking nice…and have a little fun with them.
- An electric nail set is great to help you deal with calluses, buff and shine nails, and just general nail maintenance.
- An aerosol nail spray is one of the two products I use to help my nail polish set and dry quickly. Spray and go is great when you’re busy.
- Out The Door nail top coat is the other product I use regularly to set nail polish quickly. I learned about this from a lady who used to work at a beauty salon and she swore by it so I gave it a shot. I love it!
- Finally, there are time when you want to have fun with your manicure. I used to look at the cute manicured nails with the glitter and other sparkly stuff with envy. That is until I found nail art sets that let me do the same things at home. Let me add a little bling to my nails and I’m a happy girl…and no one is the wiser.
You don’t have to spend a fortune at the salon…unless you just want to. I’m sure I’ve got friends who think I’m weird and that’s okay. But I’ll happily pocket the money while everyone is opening their wallet.
Related Post: A Frugal Idea To Make Your Home Smell Good
3. Eliminate Extra Vehicles
Now, this next expense is where we’ve saved the most money. And I admit right up front that it wouldn’t work for every family. But we lived for several years as a one-car family. This was a major money saver for us!
Assuming a car payment of $300 per month (and that’s conservative), we saved $3600 before we ever get to the maintenance and upkeep a vehicle requires. Assuming those expenses can be held to $200 monthly, we saved another $2400 on things like gasoline, tires, oil changes, taxes, license registration, etc.
Giving up that second car saved our family nearly $8000. That was enough money to make up for the inconvenience of having to coordinate schedules and sometimes having to wait for a ride.
Was it a pain? Sometimes it was.
Was it worth it? Definitely!
4. Watch Cell Phones Expenses
I know…we’re all addicted to our cell phones. We view them as absolute necessities.
But here’s the thing with cell phones…it’s not necessary to have the most expensive, latest, and fanciest model available.
Nor is it necessary to have unlimited everything.
I’m estimating that by using our current phones a little longer and comparing our plans, that we’re saving $600 each year.
Would it be nice to have the latest model? Maybe. But it’s definitely not worth the bragging rights when you consider what is coming out of my bank account to pay for it.
5. Netflix Is Not A Necessity
I’m probably the only person in my circle of friends who doesn’t have a Netflix subscription. Granted, I’d be on one of the lower priced plans, but at $10 each month, I’m saving $120 each year. In case you’re wondering what we do for entertainment – we’re huge supporters of the local library where we can borrow movies and TV series for free!
And since we do have good internet (and that’s not an area I’m willing to cut since we work online), we catch enough online entertainment on YouTube that we’re never bored.
6. Put Money Back In Your Pocket By Eating at Home
And finally, we’ve never been a family who went out for fancy restaurant meals. For one thing, the hubby is a marvelous cook! We’re lucky to have such a talented chef in the family. He’s one of those people who can taste a dish and then go home and recreate it (I know, lucky me!).
But with a family of 5, eating out at even a medium-priced restaurant would cost us at least $60 (and I’m being conservative here as well). While many people I know eat at restaurants at least once each week, I’m going to figure our savings based on one restaurant meal per month (VERY conservative!) for a savings of $720.
We’ve always found that planning meals and eating at home was much better for our wallets!
Grand Total: $9,660.00
Yes, we gave up some things that lots of people consider necessities. But you know what? We adapted and didn’t really miss them once the initial adjustment period was over. Some things required an attitude realignment, but having a parent at home and saving the money was a high priority for us. A serious look at your budget and a reclassification of your wants and needs may help you get your spending habits to a level you’re comfortable with too.
I’d love to hear your suggestions for saving money. I’m always looking for a new tip on how to stretch that dollar till it screams. One major way we saved money was through meal planning. The other thing we’ve always done is watch our grocery budget. We just see no need to spend money that we don’t need to…we’d rather do other things with it instead.
To track where your money goes so that you can actually SAVE money, a budget planner is a necessity. I really like this one from Life & Apples. It’s got a 2-page monthly spread as well as pages to track your debt, savings, and even plan for holiday spending. Check it out!