Ways to Save More Money: 30 Frugal Money Saving Tips

ways to save

If you’re looking for ways to save money but aren’t sure where to start or you need new ways to save money I have you covered! Just in time for day three of #blogtober, here is my list of 30 frugal money-saving tips to help you save money every single day.

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  1. If you haven’t already, get on a budget and evaluate spending over the last few months for insight ASAP.
  2. Set your thermostat on a schedule.
  3. Shop with a grocery list and only buy what is on the list.
  4. Meal plan prior to making the above-mentioned grocery list.
  5. Put that meal plan into use and cook at home.
  6. Shop around for home and auto insurance on a yearly basis.
  7. Drink homebrew coffee most days.
  8. Use cashback apps such as Ibotta (referral code itxrhcs) and Fetch Rewards app (referral code 8H9Y1) to earn cash back or gift cards to major retailers on purchases you already make! Use my referral codes and we both get free points!
  9. Cut the cable already!
  10. Buy clothes second hand to save lots of money on your wardrobe – especially for the kids since they need clothes more often.
  11. Participate in a no-spend challenge on a regular basis.
  12. Understand the difference between being frugal and being cheap – know when you need to pay for quality to avoid repeat purchases.
  13. Plan your errands and trips out of the house to save money on gas
  14. Take advantage of free shipping with Prime – and enjoy streaming Prime Video to get more bang for your buck!
  15. Don’t be too brand loyal
  16. Set up auto bill pay on utilities, the mortgage, insurance, and schedule recurring transfers to savings. Pay yourself first and you’ll spend/waste less money!
  17. Take on some home improvement tasks yourself instead of hiring out simple odd jobs. And do your own lawn care!
  18. Wash and vacuum out your car at home.
  19. Don’t buy bottled water; get a reusable water bottle and bring water with you everywhere
  20. Don’t overpay for your gym membership; the workout is just as good at the cheaper gym as it is at the elite clubs and often includes a trainer.
  21. Or, skip the gym and use free workout videos on YouTube or Prime! There are videos featuring several popular programs such as H.I.I.T included in your Prime membership!
  22. Invite friends over for dinner or take turns hosting potlucks instead of going out to eat together. You don’t have to be antisocial to save money!
  23. Take advantage of the free activities your local library has to offer – free movie screenings, book clubs, workshops, computer classes, storytime for the kids, even yoga! Libraries have it going on these days! They’re also a great place to schedule play dates and catch up with other moms while the kids pick out books and play puzzles!
  24. Unplug small appliances and electronics when not charging or in use to save money on your electric bill.
  25. Skip traditional portrait sessions and book the kids in seasonal mini sessions – local deals are usually promoted on Facebook. Ask for recommendations if you have trouble finding any offered near you.
  26. Send out a fun Christmas video to friends and family instead of the usual card. Save on postage, cards, and get bonus points for creativity!
  27. Cancel magazine subscriptions.
  28. Cut back on one-time-use products such as paper towels.
  29. Buy concentrated cleaning solutions and DIY your own cleaning products. It’s healthier and better for the environment!
  30. Be sure to subscribe and never miss a post and follow a Life on a Dime on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

Tell me your favorite ways to save in the comments! Or let me know if you implement some of mine and you find them helpful! I love to hear from you! I’ll be back with more new content tomorrow for #blogtober day 4! Hope to see you then!

It’s the 30th! End the Month Strong with These 4 Simple Tips

end the month strong

Can you believe it’s September 30th already! Where has this year gone?! It’s hard to believe there are only three months left to 2019! Some days it seems like we just moved but in reality that happened six months ago! That may have something to do with the fact that most walls are still bare, but I’m a minimalist on a budget, so… If you’re wondering where the month went and aren’t quite prepared for October I’ve got you covered! Here are a few simple tips to end the month strong and get ready for next month.

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Update Monthly Spending Transactions to End the Month Strong

Make sure you update your spending transactions for the month and make any necessary adjustments to the budget. Come in under budget?! Congratulations! Make an extra snowflake payment to end the month strong and save yourself some interest next month. Already paid off your consumer debt? Send that money to savings or make an extra principal payment on the mortgage! Reflect back on the goals you set after reading Three Questions to Ask Yourself Each Month to Get Those Goals Accomplished.

Come in a little over budget? Don’t beat yourself up too much about it. If you came in under budget in any other categories reallocate those funds to the category that got out of control. If it looks like you come in under or over in particular categories on a monthly basis make an adjustment for next month.

Scan Those Receipts for Cash Back!

Did you know you can scan receipts for popular cashback apps that are up to two weeks old?! Dig those receipts out of your purse and start scanning! Just this week on Ibotta alone there are any item offers on dry cat food, training pants (this one is major – Huggies has $1 off if you are brand loyal in this category), yogurt, vine-ripe tomatoes, laundry detergent, waffles, diapers, probiotic beverages, yogurt, salsa, almond butter, body wash… I could keep going. If you don’t currently use Ibotta download the app or get on their site and use my referral code itxrhcs to get started; it’s free to you and I can earn $5. You can earn up to $50 for referrals once you sign up!

After you scan those receipts in Ibotta open the Fetch Rewards app and scan all your grocery receipts there too! Use my referral code 8H9Y1 to get started and we’ll both get 2,000 points when you scan your first receipt! Redeem points for gift cards to major retailers such as Amazon or make room for date night at restaurants such as Olive Garden or The Cheesecake Factory!

Set Savings on Auto-Pilot Wherever Possible to End the Month Strong

If you have monthly savings goals, sinking funds you contribute to, or retirement accounts outside of work make sure you contributed the budgeted amount this month and if you haven’t already set them up on auto-transfers so the money goes where it needs to automatically every month.

We recently split our monthly savings goal into two smaller deposits corresponding with payday rather than one large deposit. Since they were smaller I upped the overall amount a little. Little changes like this can help you end the month strong every month and meet your savings goals easier. Pay yourself first and you won’t be tempted to spend money earmarked for savings or retirement!

Get Next Month’s Budget Ready so You can Start Strong!

Once you’ve tied up all the loose ends to end this month strong it’s time to make sure you’re ready for next month! Set yourself up for success by completing that budget! You just made things easier for next month by automating your savings and sinking funds contributions – make sure the budget reflects this update.

Consistency is key here; make sure to update your budget throughout the month every month and the 30th or 31st won’t be so stressful. Check out my previous article on 3 Month End Actions to Take for Continued Budgeting Success for more tips on how to end the month strong.

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Subscribe to the blog and never miss a post! Blogtober is coming and I’ll have something new for you every day. I have lots of exciting things planned including new recipes, frugal fall fashion, top Amazon finds, some DIYs… You can also follow a Life on a Dime on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook! We’re also on YouTube now so subscribe now before the next video hits later this week!

Ways to Pay off Debt: The Debt Snowball vs The Debt Avalanche

pay off debt

Two of the most common ways to pay off debt are the debt snowball and the debt avalanche. Chances are you’ve probably heard of at least one of them, if not both. I’m going to outline the basic concepts as well as the pros and cons of using both to pay off debt.

Using the Debt Snowball to Pay off Debt

If you’ve listened to a single Dave Ramsey podcast or spent five minutes looking at #debtfreecommunity online you’ve probably heard of the debt snowball.

To follow this method you simply write down all your debts from smallest to largest. You then take the smallest debt and find any money you can in your budget to add to the monthly payment. You pay only the minimum amount due on all other debts.

Once the smallest debt is knocked out you take your snowball amount (which should have grown from when you started) and you add it on top of the minimum payment of your next smallest debt. This process is continued until you have a very large snowball to throw at your largest debt. Once you are done the size of your snowball is now your money to keep every month!

Congratulations! You’re out of debt and are now free to save and invest that money! Following the common baby steps, you then build up your emergency fund before investing in retirement and saving for a house down payment (if you plan to buy a house).

Pros & Cons of the Snowball

The pros of this method (beyond the obvious fact that you pay off your debt) are mostly psychological; it’s easier to stick with it for the long haul and knock out all your debt when you see measurable progress. By starting with the smallest debt you feel the momentum faster and stay pumped to keep going.

The biggest con of this method is that you can pay out more money in interest if you aren’t as “gazelle intense” as you can possibly be the entire time or you have a lot of higher interest debt. If you slack off or take your time on your smaller debts but you have one credit card that is maxed out at a high-interest rate you’re going to pay more interest just making the minimum payments until you make it to that debt with your snowball. If you’re a huge numbers geek you may have a problem with this.

We used the debt snowball to pay down credit card and furniture debt early in our marriage as well as pay off vehicles early, but didn’t get very far on student loan debt with the snowball.

Most adherents of the snowball method also pause retirement investment during the snowball. I didn’t pause my retirement contribution til I was really feeling concerned about job security and felt the urge to get more intense and stay home with our kids. They are our why for being debt-free after all.

The Debt Avalanche

The debt avalanche method involves paying debts according to their interest rate rather than the individual balances. List your debts from the highest to lowest interest rate and pay them off in that order. Make only the minimum payment on the smaller interest debts until you reach them in the avalanche (downhill momentum) Some people only aggressively pay off the highest interest rates before focusing more intensely on investments. It makes more sense to some people to invest money at a much higher return than they are “losing” on lower interest debts such as their mortgage.

Bear in mind people who invest more aggressively while carrying some lower interest consumer debt typically have more disposable income at their fingertips. If you don’t feel like you can both pay off your debt and invest at the same time, then don’t. Get your debt out of the way and the invest.

Pros & Cons of the Avalanche

The biggest and most obvious pro is the amount of money saved on interest. If you are a numbers geek you may love this method. It also allows a little more flexibility in that most adherents still invest in retirement while paying down their debt. This is awesome especially if your employer offers a match. Even while paying down debt at least invest up to the match; it’s free money you’re using to pay for your future! It also seems a little less intense than the snowball.

The cons include the potential to casually carry debt if you aren’t very intense or diligent in avoiding low-interest debt. Another con is the potential for misguided attempts at using the avalanche to ONLY pay on the higher interest debts and neglect the other debts.

Use the Method that Works for You to Pay off Debt

You can use either method to pay off debt. The most important thing is that you pay it off! Paying off debt is one of the best things you can do financially. The goal is to earn interest, not pay it.

Compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn’t, pays it.

Albert Einstein

I personally prefer a mix of the two; if you have one or two really high-interest debts knock those out and then follow the snowball. And take advantage of any employer matched retirement contributions. Chances are you won’t miss the median match of 3% pre-tax income.

Get Those Goals! 3 ?s to Ask Yourself Every Month

get those goals

Three Questions to Ask Yourself Each Month to Get Those Goals Accomplished!

If you’re like me you set goals on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly… fill in the blank basis. Sometimes I set a goal for what I can get done in the 30 minutes or hour I have before I leave the house or pick up a kid somewhere (please tell me I’m not the only one who finds it easier to get stuff done when they’re not home).

That’s all well and good, but what about our big goals? Our game-changing, earthmoving possibilities we entertain? What are we doing about those? Slowly but surely we are working on ours. Here are three questions to ask yourself every month to help ensure your monthly plan and budget are helping you achieve your goals.

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Three Questions

1. What is your goal?

What are you focusing on this month? Maybe you have two smaller goals you want to accomplish this coming month. Maybe you have short term goals as well as one big, longterm goal (financial security on anybody else’s list?).

It’s going to be pretty hard to get those goals accomplished you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve. Am I right? It may seem like a no brainer, but stop and think about how often you set a monthly budget or fill your calendar for the month with no obvious goal or overall plan. I am so guilty of this. Part of being more intentional (my word for the last four months of this year since I forgot the word I started the year with) is having a goal. Your plans should help you move toward that goal. So write down your goal or goals you hope to accomplish in the next month.

2. What action(s) do you need to take this coming month to move you closer to accomplishing this goal?

Figure out what actions you can take this next month to bring you closer to your goal and then if necessary, build this into your budget! If you set a goal of saving $1,000 by the end of the year but do not add savings to the monthly budget what will that do? Not much. If you don’t have a budget, you need to get one set up ASAP! I encourage you to email me if you need help.

We recently started a sinking fund for auto maintenance. You can read my article, How to Fund Auto Maintenance – Our New Sinking Fund for more on that or check out all posts on that category by clicking here. I’m clearly a fan.

Anyway, we wouldn’t be able to set up the account if we didn’t put in the budget. Furthermore, we won’t make the account grow if we aren’t intentional about budgeting money to deposit going forward. So you include your goals in your budget. No, it may not be comfortable, but it is necessary.

If your goals do not require money you need to budget time to accomplish them. One of my goals for September (which I actually started early, yeah me!) is to fit in some sort of physical activity every day. Even if I do not go to the gym I need to get off my butt and move to get those goals!

Yesterday I walked a few laps up and down our driveway. It is a long driveway, but it didn’t take much effort and I felt better.

3. How will you measure your progress with this goal? Bonus points if you ask for an accountability partner to help you get those goals.

If you’re going to set a goal and work toward it you have to have a way of measuring your progress. If your goal is financial you can set an overall goal to accomplish, divide by the number of months you think it will take, and put that number in your budget. Then every month you can look at what you managed to save, compare it to your goal, and adjust the next month so you stay on track.

If your goal is more related to how you will spend your time and not your money download a fun calendar online and check off the days you meet your goal. Visuals can be great motivators; start a goal journal to chronicle your successes.

A lot of people do these on social media for additional accountability and motivation. Add a daily or weekly update to your stories and cheer others on while you’re at it! There are even accounts that share goal setting visuals.

The #debtfreecommunity is a source of great encouragement and support. Check them out on Instagram! They’re also a funny bunch. No online community seems complete without the meme accounts. These people cover it all; they even have a fitness hashtag!

Now You’re Ready to Get Those Goals!

Yes, it really is that simple to get started! The key is being intentional in the day-to-day. But if you have a plan and you commit to that plan and you make yourself accountable I have no doubt you can reach your goals! You may even surpass them!

What are you waiting for? Go get those goals! And find a Life on a Dime on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook to let me know how you’re doing. I would love to cheer you on!