Wouldn’t it be great if you were able to increase your wedding dollars budget by saving some extra cash in the months prior to the big day that you could use for the honeymoon or to put toward something you really wanted for your wedding but at first couldn’t figure out a way to pull it off? Answer? YES!
We found some fantastic savings ideas that I bet you are not doing. These “how do you save money” tips are great not only for helping you save some extra cash for your BIG Day, but let’s think even bigger than that – we all need to learn how to watch what we spend because we don’t become financially independent by spending all that we have; we do it by finding ways to save and build on what we have!
Since we consider these tips very important and don’t want you to fall asleep while reading all 30 “how to save money tips,” we decided it best to break this up into 3 Parts.
So – How Do You Save Money? Part I:
- Cook at home often: If you both work, on top of finding time to plan a wedding, we understand this can be a bit difficult. But start out by reducing the times you eat out by one each week and slowly increase the frequency until you find a balance between saving money and getting stressed out. Find ways to make this doable! Maybe one time a week you make it a “combined” effort, another time it’s all up to you and the next time it’s all up to your fiancé. That way there’s only 1 of the 3 times that really felt a little stressful and each of you gets 2 times that it was no big deal. Go to Trader Joe’s and Costco, they have great pre-packaged meals you can heat up – and they’re good, I should know; we buy them all the time! Some are better than others; just keeping trying and tasting and you will find some real “foodie” jackpots!!
- Make your own coffee: My kids are Starbucks Caffe Latte (non-fat of course) addicts. It’s not financially healthy! Don’t get me wrong, I love it myself, and I treat myself a couple times a month, but that’s it. If you make a daily trip (or both of you x only 3 times a week) to any local specialty coffee shop, that’s over a thousand dollars a year, and that’s not counting any croissants or muffins you saw while you were there (which play havoc on the waistline as well). In the long wrong you would be better off purchasing a great coffee maker for $100, a grinder and coffee beans. You’ll save money, be able to enjoy a cup whenever you want one, and avoid the seeing the bakery goodies. I’ve found Green Mountain Coffee to be one of the tastiest around and if you purchase through their Café Express, they offer a savings.
- Brown bag lunch at least a few days a week: I understand that lunch out with co-workers, the boss, or even a friend or relative is great networking and/or quality time with loved ones, BUT it adds up fast! Find a balance between saving money with brown-bagging and making “connections” – as they are both important! I used to order a Cobb Salad with Iced Tea at a chain restaurant across the street from me at a hefty cost of $11.41 each time (not counting tip as it was take out!). I’ve since come to realize I can buy just as good a salad at Trader Joe’s or Costco for about 4 bucks per serving!
- Make a list before going shopping: You’ve heard the term “impulse buying;” well, they call it that for a reason. We all simply have a very tough time resisting temptations to purchase extras while shopping. In fact another tip wrapped up in this ought to be: DON’T go shopping on an empty stomach (that’s one of my main problems)! But back to the list… without a list, we buy items that we simply don’t need. Pre-plan your trips to the store by making a list before hand and sticking to it (NO impulse buying), and having a list helps you to get all you need in one trip avoiding another unnecessary trip and the temptation that goes with it!
- Go grocery shopping while you are in a hurry: OK, this is definitely a new idea I’m going to use – I hadn’t thought of this before, but it makes total sense! Armed with your grocery list and little time to carry out the task at hand due to something else you must (or want) to attend to, and you should be In-N-Out (not talking the burger place) with no repercussions lickity split.
- Watch out for expiration dates on perishable goods. Might seem simple, and it may not be one of the bigger savers; however, you’d be surprised how many people do not pay attention to expiration dates. There’s no point buying a gallon of milk if it’s going to turn sour within a couple of days. The same goes for meat, eggs, yogurt, spreads, deli/bakery items, etc. There are some people (my husband included, I’m sad to acknowledge) that say you can use a few items a few days after the expiration date; personally, I value my health more than money and would rather avoid buying such items in the first place!
- Buy in bulk whenever possible: For non-perishable items, buy in bulk whenever you find something on sale. Items you can stock up on are cereals, canned goods, rice, pasta, sodas, toothpaste, body wash, shampoo, TP, etc. Shopping at Costco or Sam’s Club type stores can save you quite a bit of money provided you stick strictly to your shopping list when you go to these places. I have to admit these places get me a bit – I always seem to walk out with one of those big round containers of red vines that were definitely not on my list! So, be truthful with yourself, if you don’t have the discipline, then going to those warehouse type stores is probably not worth it for you.
- Buy generic products whenever possible: Does it really matter whether your cereal is made by Kelloggs or is the store brand? Does it matter if your milk is Borden or the store brand? There are a few things I just can’t switch from my brand name product on (I am a Diet Coke fan), but for most other items I don’t mind generic store brands if they can save me money. Find what works for you, taste the items, give them a chance and then decide which items you can be OK with switching to generic brands. There are probably more than you think! Did you know that most of the items you think come from “somewhere” come from “somewhere else”?
- Use grocery store bags to line trash cans: This a great tip, unless you have a dog because then of course we need to use our grocery bags for, well, you know what… But this is the kind of thinking we need to be doing. Instead of buying garbage bags, line you smaller garbage cans with plastic grocery bags and you not only save money but are recycling at the same time!
- Bottle your own water: Drinking water is good for your health – we all know that. Bottled water is the most convenient as it can provide protection against accidental spills and of course it’s easy to carry around with you. That said, buy bottled water only once in a while, or better yet, buy a permanent type water holder, and then reuse that bottle to fill with your own water. If you are not happy with tap water, as I’m not (just a phobia I have) then invest in a Brita Filter Pitcher or something similar – in the long run it will save a lot of money!
How to Save Money Tips 11-20 will be published in the next couple weeks. Check back or subscribe to our website to be notified of when Part II is released.
Incorporate more and more of these tips into your life and the savings will add up, and you will be pleasantly surprised to find out that you can actually save thousands of dollars over the course of a year.
By Cheryl Cox, Editor of YourWeddingDollars.com, See “Note from the Editor” for more information on Cheryl and her credentials.