If you are wanting to save money, but don’t know where to start, here are some Budget Hacks for Saving Money!
Follow these Practical Budget Hacks for Saving Money so that you are in control of your money and it’s not controlling you. These are some of my favorite ways to squeeze extra money out of the budget to either save for that vacation you’ve been wanting to take, pay off debt, or build your emergency fund.
Budget Hacks for Saving Money
1) Hava a Goal
The easiest way to save money in your budget is to have a goal. The “why” behind the madness. If you don’t have a “why” or a goal, you aren’t motivated enough to make the small changes. Sometimes saving money or squeezing extra money out of your budget has to be intentional. But to be intentional you have to have a reason motivating the sacrifice. Maybe your goal is getting out of debt, maybe it’s wanting to take a nice vacation this year. Perhaps you are truing to build your emergency fund, or save for a house! Whatever your goal is, keep that goal in perspective and realize that sacrifice now will cause success later!
2) Pay Cash
Paying cash is SOO important. I have been a budgeter for a long time, but every time I get really focused and actually go to the bank to take out cash for specific budgeted items, I spend SO much less. The categories that are most important to spend cash on are groceries, eating out, snacks, and entertainment.
Some of the other categories like gas, rent/utilities, or online bills are set fees due each month where you’re not tempted to overspend. Get cash out for the vague areas where you are tempted just to swipe your debt or credit card because “you know you have money”. It will really help to keep you accountable.
3) Use Envelopes
Since paying cash for items like eating out, entertainment, and snacks can save you SO much money, be sure that you have a way to separate the cash so that you know exactly how much you have to spend on each item. That way you don’t use your grocery money for eating out. Or your entertainment money for groceries! It really helps you keep track of how much you have left to spend on each category so that you don’t overspend.
I have also found that I make wiser decisions when I have cash in envelopes because I never want to actually spend it all. I end up spending less each transaction because I don’t want to spend all of my money!
4) Cut Non-Essential Categories by $10-$20
This is one of the easiest ways that my Husband and I have saved extra money to reach our goals. We can cut our food budget by $20, entertainment by $10, hubby/wife money by $20-$40, eating out by $20, and clothing money by $10-$20. That’s $80 – $110 simply by cutting back a little bit.
What does that look like practically? Eating out one less time, using coupons or shopping for the best deals at the store – or perhaps just throwing in a couple more meals of spaghetti or beans and cornbread. Sometimes it’s the simple changes that can really add up, but if you don’t have a budget, you won’t even know where to pull money from in the first place – and if you don’t have a goal, you won’t know where to put the money after you save it!
5) Meal Planning
I don’t know about you, but for me and my family, grocery shopping and eating out tend to take a majority of our budget each month. Something that has really helped us cut down in this area is meal planning.
Simply writing out our meals for the week can save us time, energy, and money. Knowing there is a plan takes away the the last minute, “what’s for dinner”. Having a meal plan, grocery shopping ahead of time, and following the plan can take a huge strain off your budget and sometimes gives you room to downsize this area of your budget.
6) Freezer Cooking
Another way we save money on “food” is Freezer cooking. There are only two of us right now because we don’t have kids yet, so I try to cook enough each time for 2 meals – one now, and one later. I am a HUGE Food Saver Freezer Meal Diva because I do not like leftovers. I like freezer meals because when you cook them they taste fresh and like you just spent hours cooking. Freezer Meals are just as easy as leftovers, but you can wait a week or two before you eat the same meal!
Freezer meals can save you SO much money in the budget because you already have meals prepared and ready to go. You don’t get stuck going to a restaurant last minute or through the drive through because you already have an easy meal prepared at home that takes little time and effort. Plus, if you have the meal plan in place you know exactly what you’re going to be having and your freezer meal can be set out to thaw in the fridge ahead of time!
7) Get Organized
It’s amazing how much money you can save in a month just by being organized. This is true for so many areas of your house, the kitchen, closets, rooms, refrigerator, laundry room, pantry, and more. For me, having organized areas of my home makes sticking to the plan so much easier.
For example, if my kitchen is cleaned and organized, I don’t mind putting a freezer meal in the oven and throwing dinner together. If my closet is clean and orderly I am less likely to run to the store to buy a new outfit because I know I still have things in my closet to wear (and where to find them). If my pantry is organized I know exactly what ingredients I have for my meal plan so I don’t have to run to the store last minute. Being organized in life helps to cut down on the last minute purchases that tend to drain the budget.
These 6 simple steps are easy to implement in your life if you have a goal. Figure out your purpose and why you want to be intentional about saving money. Once you know your “why” it helps you deny the temptation to say “well, I have the money”, and to know that even though you may have the money, you want to use that money for a bigger purpose than that fast food hamburger or new blouse.
Sometimes it’s hard to start saving money, but once you start you see the difference it makes and it becomes addicting! Learn to love the feeling of contentment and satisfaction by sticking to a plan and saving money!
If you are looking for somewhere to start, here’s one of my favorite Freezer Meal Recipes for Homemade Lasagna!