Thursday, January 9, 2014

How To Save [More] Money

At the beginning of every year, well, more like every month, I tell myself that I am going to save more money than the last. And while I like to think I'm financially conservative, it seems that I'm always counting the days until my next paycheck.

I started thinking about everything that I spend money on and came up with these ideas to help me save more. I think they'll work for you, too!

1. Stop buying coffee. Probably something you've heard before but it's effective whether you're buying coffee at Starbucks or a local coffee shop. I spend $2.75 five mornings a week on coffee and I'd save over $700 if I just made a cup at my office.

2. Unsubscribe from all store emails. If you're like me, your inbox is flooded with email offers from stores like J.Crew, the Gap and even CVS. The sales always sound so great that I feel like I'd be crazy not to take advantage of them so by unsubscribing you will remove the temptation.

3. Stop online shopping. It'll save you the extra $5-$10 you spend on shipping for each order. Usually the same sales you were seeing via email also run at the stores so next time just go to the Gap for the new shirt you wanted.

4. Plan out your meals each week. Planning a menu & making a list of needed items will keep you from buying unnecessary things and keep you on budget.

5. Buy store brands. Oftentimes when you're buying a name brand you're paying for just that - the name. Buying the generic, store brand costs less but tastes the same.

6. Get a library card. And stop paying for things you can get for free. I use my Kindle all of the time and many libraries now offer e-books to rent online - you don't even need to go to the library to check them out. So many books at my fingertips, so little time!

7. Stop buying lunch and start brown bagging it. In Boston, sandwiches and salads cost upwards of $9. If you shop smart, you could spend $9 on lunch for the week if you make your sandwich at home. 

8. Take public transportation. Better yet, walk as much as you can. It will always be cheaper than a cab.

9. Use Groupon, LivingSocial, LevelUp, etc. If you're treating yourself, check deal sites to see if there are any great offers that will save you up to 50% on a dinner out. Groupon and LivingSocial offer great savings and LevelUp is a mobile app that rewards you with credits when you reach a certain spending threshold. (Click here for a $5 LevelUp credit for new users)

10. Ask for discounts and fees to be waived. It never hurts to just ask. My gym membership had a high sign up fee but I asked if there was any way to have it waived. They in turn asked me if I had health insurance or an MBTA card and because I did they were able to waive it. All I had to do was ask!

I recommend using a site like Mint to help you keep track of your spending. It lets you categorize your spending and you will see just what your Achilles heel is when it comes to money. My USAA credit card does all of this for me and it's really eye opening! 

Let me know what your strategy to save is!


  1. Be creative and have a date night at home. You can rent a movie and cook dinner which could cost you easily up to $100 depending on where you eat, buying drinks etc. Also I love doing my grocery shopping at Trader Joe's. Better quality foods at affordable prices. Plus the vegetables are always a great deal. This is a great blog on how to save money.

  2. Thank you, Inda!! These are great suggestions and I am definitely going to have to plan a date night at home soon. It's always amazing to me how quickly a night out adds up. Thanks for reading :)

    - Meg

  3. What a great post Meg! It's always nice to read reminders like this one. I've just recently cut up my credit card, unsubscribed from store mailing lists and decided to stop online shopping. All this because I recently sat down and calculated how much I spent within the last month, and it made me feel really ill!

    I must admit though, coffee is my weakness. I can't quit my morning Starbucks! So I think I'll just cut down to every other day.

  4. Thanks, Toni! Coffee is my weakness too so it's going to take some serious self control :) My office is moving which is going to make it more difficult to frequent my usual coffee shop - a blessing in disguise for me!

  5. Hey, Stopping by from the linkup! I'm a huge fan on planning your meals ahead of time for the week. We do this ALL the time and it's been tremendously helpful in helping us eat better and spend less money eating out and I DO love groupon/living social. In fact I just purchased a large metal print off of them for $4!!

  6. Thanks for stopping by, Tiffany! It always amazes me how much more I end up buying if I go to the grocery store without a game plan...or when I'm hungry. I'm on my way to check out The Fit Knitter now :)