We’re a family on a budget… because we’ve got goals! From Jon finishing his degree debt free to buying our vehicles without financing them to paying off medical bills to saving for a down payment on a house (currently!), there’s always been a good reason to budget and save.
You don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck is a post that explains how we budget and the tools we use to do it.
Whatever your savings goals are – whether they’re big item purchases or just some extra money in your pocket – there are almost always little changes you can make to save a few dollars here and there. Below are 5 practical changes we made that, when added up, save us over $203/month (that’s $2,436/year!). Hellooo, house fund!
From least to greatest savings, here they are….
Paper Towels: Saving at least $5/month
Haircuts: Saving at least $20/month
Coffee: Saving at least $28/month
- Use a to-go mug and brew at home instead of buying coffee drinks out.
- I also love a good chai (or any chai, honestly), and recently started buying a mix at the store for the price of one drink, and I can indulge at home. Such a “comfort drink” for me!
Fast Food: Saving at least $40/month
The first year we were married, we grabbed fast food at least once a week. We tried to keep it light with Subway or Jimmy John’s, but let’s be honest: it’s fast food. And it’s not that cheap. Might seem cheap, but at even just $5/person per week, we were spending over $40 month. (I LOVE Qdoba and Chipotle, and I think it’s great quick food, but that’s an eat-out treat now instead of making it a regular weekly meal.) I was working outside the home, so I really had to purpose to have easy go-to meals for busy days and nights. The crock pot and freezer became my friend. Spaghetti, tacos, and fried rice are always easy make at home “fast food” meals.
And finally, *drum roll, please*….. the easiest change we’ve made with the biggest return:
Switching cell phone service to Ting: Saving over $110/month
We were with V****** previously and were paying around $160/month for two phones. *gag* There just didn’t seem to be any way around a huge phone bill for the two of us if we wanted to actually use our phones. Until Ting. It’s $6 per line, and then we just pay for what we use (S, M, L, XL “buckets” of talk/text/data). If I use more data one month, our bill will be a little higher, but if I don’t the following month the bill goes down. Our average bill for 2 phones (1 smart phone) has been $44.61/month, including all taxes and fees. (Jon gave up his smart phone for a while, mostly just for the break of it. Adding it back on wouldn’t have made our bill go up much at all since I use very little data since we’re around Wifi most days.)
A few things I love about Ting:
- Ting uses the Sprint network, so there’s great coverage most places. If it’s not available it roams on Verizon, no cost to you. We’ve never had a problem with coverage! (We sold both of our old Verizon iPhones and bought used Sprint compatible phones.)
- No contracts.
- They will help cover your Early Termination Fee. They’ll pay 25% of it up to $75! And trust me, anything you have to pay to get out of your contract you’ll save in just a few months with Ting.
You can learn more about Ting, and save $25 on your first bill if you use this referral link! (If anyone signs up with Ting using that link, we also get $25 credit. Other than than though, I’m not getting any compensation for this shoutout for Ting… We just love the company and are so glad to have switched! A lot of our family members have made the switch as well, and most of what we hear is “Why didn’t we make the switch sooner?!”)
If you’re wondering if you would save money, head over to Ting.com and use their savings calculator. They’ll look at your past phone usage and calculate what your bill would be if you switch.
Other ways we save but are harder to quantify:
- We keep the temperature in our house pretty cool, use a space heater, a heated mattress pad, and made a stairwell curtain. More on those heating tips here.
- Jon does most of our car maintenance. He’s saved us hundreds there by being willing to research, learn, and do the work himself.