You’ve crunched the numbers, redone the budget and it’s not adding up. You are still coming up short. If you’re spending more than you earn, this can be a huge source of stress on you and your family. These 7 drastic money saving measures are intended to help you get on top of your finances fast. Some of them are a little extreme, so I don’t recommend setting them in place for the long term, but if things are tight this month, then tighten the belt with these 7 ways to significantly lower your expenses.
1. Start with a Bare Bones Budget.
Take a look at your current budget. See where your is money is going and whether there are any obvious cuts that can be made. Be ruthless. This is short term solution to get you back in control of your spending. Stop Eating Out, Cancel Cable, Ditch the gym and all subscriptions. Go over each and every single expense from last month and ask yourself whether you can possible do without it for a bit. Possible Savings $200 – $300 per month.
–>> CHECKLIST: 200 Ruthless Ways to Cut your Spending & Save Money Every Month
–>> The Budget Printable every Household Should Complete Each Month
2. Downsize your living Space.
If you own your home, consider renting out a room for a couple months. Get the kids bunking and take in a house guest. If you are renting, consider moving to a smaller unit or cheaper suburb. Possible Savings (or money coming into the home): $150 – $200 per month.
3. Meal Plan like a Boss
Saving money on food is one of the easiest ways for a family to balance that budget. And Meal Planning is the number one thing you need to put in place if you are serious about cutting grocery costs. Set aside an hour each week to go through what’s in your pantry, weekly store sales, and current coupons and write out your weeks meal plan and grocery list. Possible Savings $100 – $150 per month.
If you have never tried meal planning before, I recommend trying the $5 Meal Plan to get you started! You can try it free for 14 days. Which is TWO WEEKS worth of budget meal plans where every meal will cost about $2 per person (or less).
4. Stop Going to the Store (as much)
How many times have you gone to to the store for bread and walked out having spent an extra $50. That unplanned spending is HARD to resist. So avoid temptation as much as possible. Reduce the number of times you go to the store by either shopping once every two weeks instead of weekly or get your groceries delivered. Check if your local Store delivers to you, and if not – consider changing supermarkets. Find out if Amazon Delivers to your area and take advantage of their new service Prime Pantry. You can get a 30 Day Free Trial of the service here. Possible Savings $20 / shopping trip = $80 – $100 per month.
5. Declutter your Home & Mind
It’s amazing what a household clutter purge can do to your mindset. You cannot expect to get on top of your finances if your life and home are in disarray. No more buying things you’ve already got, no more late fees on bills buried beneath a stack of school newsletters, no more splurging money on items you simply do not need.
Decluttering is not just about having a clean home. An uncluttered home encourages order in your life. Establishing a Household filing system, Organising your Pantry, Setting up Cleaning Routines and getting rid of unessential household items will save you money and eliminate the overwhelm you may be feeling right now. Possible Savings $90 – $120 per month.
6. Commit to a No Spend Challenge
A no spend day or week or month can really help you be accountable for your spending. It way too easy to mindlessly spend money. By saying no to everything except the Bare Bones Budget Items for a set period of time, you can really get a good idea on how you might have been wasting money.
I know it can seem difficult to save money when you have a family. As a Mom, it’s easy to feel guilty about our lack of finances and saying ‘No’ to our kids all the time can be hard.
Have an action plan in place. Make a list of some no-spend activities that you can do as a family. Just because you are on a budget, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have some fun. Here’s my list of 51 No Spend Activities to enjoy with the Family. Possible Savings $100 – $150 month.
7. Cut your Impulse Spending with this One Little Trick
A great trick I use when I’m cutting expenses is to have a system that helps me delay my spending and stop impulse purchases.
Rather than buying something I think I need right now, I commit to buying it only after I have saved for it. It stops impulsive spending and gives me a ‘cooling off period’ to find out if I actually do need it.
Often, the urge or ‘need for the item’ wanes after a couple days.
What I do: For any item over $60 (this is just a number I use, do feel free to set your own), print off a Savings Tracker Worksheet (you can get the free printable template here). Write down the item and Cost at the top. This is your savings goal. Attach an envelope to the worksheet and start saving. Put your cash directly into your envelope and only buy it when you’ve saved enough to pay for it.
It’s simple, but it really works to stop spending but also lets you feel as if you’re not depriving yourself all together.
Saving money is not a skill we are all born with.
Some people are naturally frugal (like Elise from Frugal Farm Wife who put together this $20 Weekly Meal plan), but the rest of us need to put in a little more effort. The Good news is, with a little planning and intentional (non) spending – You can do this!