Hi friends! Happy Thursday!
I haven’t done a financial post in a while, so that’s what I wanted to bring you today! The post about paying off my student loans opened up a ton of conversations + was really well received, so I know my readers DO appreciate this subject.
Drew + I continue to do a monthly financial meeting + a quarterly “no spend month”. We just completed both of those, so that’s what spurred this post! Financial health is a vital part of our overall health. My husband Drew loves this subject, so I always get a few pointers from him when putting these posts together.
10 Money Saving Tips
- Do not have credit card debt. When Drew + I talked about this list, he told me this had to be number one. Make sure you can pay off your credit card balance monthly. If you don’t, you’ll get yourself trapped into a hard to end revolving debt cycle. Drew + I pay off all of our credit cards in full each month, no exceptions. If you cannot afford something, do not buy it. If you cannot be responsible with a credit card, don’t have one.
- Thou shall not get a manicure/pedicure every month. This is an easy way to save money. I love getting a manicure/pedicure just as much as the next girl, but when I started to get serious about finances I knew this was one place I needed to change my ways. As a single, working gal I always had a fresh manicure/pedicure. Now that I’m older + wiser, I get them for special occasions or as a treat. As an example I got one when I was 39 weeks pregnant because momma needed a good foot rub + I’m going to get one for my upcoming birthday. I also haven’t colored my hair in 5 years because that’s expensive too! Look at where you could eliminate or space out spending on beauty.
- No spend month. Each quarter Drew + I do a no spend month. This means we don’t eat out, pay for entertainment, or buy clothes. We purchase groceries + necessities for all 3 of us, but challenge ourselves to get nothing beyond that. My personal credit card is about 1/4 of what it typically is, so it makes a big impact for us. It’s also a great reminder each quarter that happiness is truly not associated with material things + a date at home can be just as special + romantic as a night out.
- Monthly financial sit down. Whether you are single or a part of a couple, it is important to sit down + look at your finances EVERY month. Otherwise you are just doing whatever you want + not truly thinking about where you can improve (or celebrate how good the month was).
- Pack your lunch + coffee (!). I’ve had this conversation with many coworkers. You are spending WAY too much money if you are getting yourself lunch + coffee every.single.day. A couple of my gal friends were purchasing EVERY meal instead of grocery shopping. If you buy lunch ($10) + coffee ($4) each day that is at least $14/day. By packing your own + skipping the Starbucks line for a home brew you’ll save over $2,000/year. That’s a TON of money.
- Drive a 2003 Jeep. Drew + I are conservative when it comes to big purchases. My trusty Jeep still gets the job done, so we will not purchase a new (or newly used) SUV until this changes. Many of my friends have purchased new cars + cannot believe I’m still rolling around in this baby, but if we can avoid another monthly payment we will! The Jeep has been paid in full for many, many years. We plan to purchase our next vehicle in cash + will continue to work toward that goal.
- Prioritize. We talk about things we want to do in the future + then prioritize. For example, we want to make a home gym + want a king size bed (for when the baby + future babies start crawling in with us). Together we will WAIT + SAVE for these purchases. We give them priority numbers + move down the list, adjusting when life shifts.
- Plan. Life won’t always go as planned, but Drew + I were diligent about getting my student loans paid off before bringing a baby into the world. We knew that a baby would bring on new expenses + we wanted to start saving for the baby’s education instead of paying off mine. We also wanted to be in a position where I could work part-time + stay-at-home part-time, so even though my ovaries were saying BABY NOW…we waited until we were in a good financial position (+for Drew to feel ready). Go back + read See You Later Student Loans: Practical Tips for Paying Off Debt if you are interested in learning about how we paid of our $34,000 in student loans in 2 years. I’m not saying this is the way everyone needs to do it, but I would recommend a plan on how you are going to afford the next steps in your life whether it be buying a home, getting married, starting a family, traveling the world, etc.
- Have goals. Without goals, how do you measure progress? To get to be where you want to be financially, means that you have to know where you are going. Do you have a monthly, quarterly, or annual amount that you want to save or pay off? Take time to measure where you are doing well + where you are falling short, adjusting your actions accordingly.
- Do you really need it? Do you have to have it? Can you live without it? This one comes from my dad. When we would come to him needing money for something, he would ask us these questions. Of course sometimes I said yes, yes, yes even if it was me wanting money for a pair of jeans. But now, I really think about purchases even letting an item sit in an online shopping cart for days while I contemplate if I really need it. If it goes out of stock, it wasn’t meant to be.
Hope you picked up a tip or two from this post!