I am a penny-pincher, whereas my fiance is a huge spender. He makes 3 times as much as I do, yet I always have money set aside for a rainy day, and he burns through his earnings as fast as he can make them. So I sat him down and went over his spending with him to help him realize why he never has money, and I always have a nest egg set aside. You can do this too, and it’s a great way to figure out where you can definitely cut corners and set aside a decent amount of money every month.
First of all, how much do you spend on fast food? This is the biggest wasted expense that people are often guilty of. My fiance gets his lunches made for him in advance, yet he’s always stopping at the gas station for an iced tea or a burrito, and I’m always teasing him about the Burger King wrappers I find in his truck. Turns out, despite the meals I prepare for him, he spends about $3 a day on junk food, and often more. He buys a $2 iced tea nearly every day, and wonders why he’s always broke. So we went out and bought powdered iced tea packets and keep jugs of pre-made tea in the fridge, and bought supplies to make burgers and roast beef sandwiches so he isn’t tempted to hit the gas station so often. In doing so, he saves an average of $25 a week in having his lunches and favorite drinks prepared at home and when he stops at the gas station, more often than not, he just buys gas.
Eating out is another biggie. If you eat out once a week, you’re spending an average of $20 for 2 people, plus tip. My fiance loves to treat me on dates, but I hate to eat out because it costs so much (even though he won’t let me pay for the meal). So we’ve begun going to the local drive-thru, getting a large shake to share, and driving down to the river to enjoy it. A $5 date and a wonderful atmosphere. We often pack a lunch and go into the mountains looking for big game animals rather than sitting down in a restaurant and wasting money. Since restaurants are boring anyhow, if you think outside the box you can get a great night out without spending a huge amount of money.
Do you drive a gas guzzler? My fiance’s truck gets about 15 mpg, whereas my Malibu gets about 26 mpg. As such, whenever we go somewhere, unless it’s up in the mountains, we take my car to save on gas. Drive the vehicle that gets the most gas mileage more often for errands and traveling, and you’ll save money that way.
Quit buying bottled water! That’s $1 a day if you buy at least one bottle of water daily. My fiance refuses to drink the tap water in our house, and came up with his own way of saving money on buying his bottled water (I’m so proud). He gets huge jugs from his job site, brings them home with him and fills them up at Wal-Mart, where they have the Culligan water filter for pennies. He spends about $2 a week on bottled water and carries around his huge jugs with him to refill his smaller water bottles. Where he used to spend about $3 a day on bottled water, he now spends far less. Utilize your local Walmart or Win-co for bottling your own water and save a decent amount of money.
Going to the movies is another one. Luckily, neither me nor my fiance can stand sitting still in a movie theatre for a few hours, so we hit the nearest Red Box and just get a movie and a bag of chips and enjoy our movie at home. You can save a lot of money this way if you can wait for your flick to hit the shelves.
Buying little odds and ends that you don’t need is another one. Every time we go to Walmart we buy all sorts of things we don’t need, so to keep from being attracted to all the cool things in different aisles, we forgo Walmart unless we need to buy bullets or shotgun shells and go to our local grocery store instead. Having a membership to the savings clubs of Smiths, Ridleys, and Albertsons can save you big dollars at the register. We also only grocery shop when we absolutely have to and stock up. The less you go shopping, the less you spend on needless things.
Hit the local dollar store for simple things you need before you go to the grocery store. Luckily, we have 4 dollar stores within a block of Walmart, so we hit one of those first for thermal socks, cleaning supplies, junk food, and plastic storage bowls etc before we go to the grocery store. We’ve hit some major deals in doing this, and you can too.
If you smoke or chew, buy from the smoke shop and buy in bulk. My fiance always gets his Copenhagen and Camels in multi-paks and keeps his chew in the freezer until he gets to it. Keeps him from hitting the gas station every day, and saves a lot of money as opposed to buying a single pack of smokes or chew daily.
If the kids want pizza for dinner, buy a frozen pizza and cook it at home. If they want ice cream for dessert, buy a gallon of their favorite flavor and call it good. If you get your kids in the habit of eating out at restaurants and fast food, they’ll beg for it always and expect you to cave in. You’ll save a lot more money by just treating them at home. We take the kids to a fast food restaurant now and then and they always just order off the dollar menus and get water. Kids learn by example; if you’re cheap, they will be too, and will still be happy about it.
My fiance now saves over $200 a month by curbing his spending habits on things he doesn’t really need. In fact, once he gets paid, he puts a decent amount of money in my savings account, knowing he would have to kill me to get me to access those funds. I just keep track of his money and my money, and the nest egg is growing nicely. We have a lot of money to save for a rainy day, have a huge change jar that we put loose change and $1 bills in, and are learning new ways all the time to save even more. You can, too.