Whether you’re saving for a holiday or something special, or if you’re just wanting to get your finances under control a bit more, there are easy ways you can save money without giving up spending it on what you want, and without missing out on the things you love.
You don’t have to start eating ramen noodles and beans for every meal and turning off all the lights to live by candlelight. Just a few small changes and actually thinking about how you spend your money and being intentional with it can make all the difference.
Here are some different ways to save money that you can adopt. Use one or two, or use them all. Whatever works for you.
1 – Find 10 Recipes You Love and Can Cook For Less Than $10
This is a big one. We spend SO much money on food. And it’s easy to do. By the time you spend $20 per kilogram for meat, add in some veggies and bits and pieces, you can easily spend upwards of $35 – $40 for a basic meal! Do that every night for a week and you’ll be spending $280 on dinners alone! That’s crazy!
Having a quick go to meal you can pull out at anytime you need, and that costs you less than $10 is a great way to ‘water down’ your food budget and keep your spending under control.
But it doesn’t mean you have to eat unhealthy food either. Dishes like quiche, zucchini noodles and chicken, roast chicken and veggies or even ‘brinner’ (that’s breakfast for dinner, bacon and eggs) can be quite budget friendly.
2 – Meal Plan
One of my friends had been raving about meal planning for ages and kept trying to get me to do it. Of course, I resisted for the longest time. But she swore by it, so we thought we would try it and oh my gosh it makes such a difference. I’m totally converted.
Rather than ducking to the shops every day to buy whatever we feel like for dinner that night (plus all the extras you buy each time) we can plan out our whole week and even plan to create meals with leftovers too.
We also include on our meal plans the times where we can or need to make extras for lunch the following day or if we can make a double batch of something and freeze it.
It’s also great to be able to use the sides from dinner one night as the snacks for the next day – things like roast carrots are super tasty little snacks, or cauliflower fried rice is another fave in our house.
3 – Grocery Shop Once a Week
As mentioned above, when you go to the grocery store every day, you tend to buy a whole lot more than what you need. If you create your meal plan, include some of your $10 meals, work out what groceries you need and go shopping once a week with a list, you are going to save a fortune.
We were able to reduce our spending on groceries by around $200 a month just by being smart and strategic about when we went grocery shopping.
You can even take it to the next level by shopping online and getting your groceries delivered to you. I guarantee the amount you pay for delivery will be far less than the amount you overspend when you go shopping. It’s a great way to stick to your list and only buy what you need.
Installing the Ebates browser extension means you can also get cashback on your purchases. To be honest, I was a bit skeptical to start off with, thinking it wouldn’t actually be worth it, but then I started getting cashback on things I was purchasing anyway (like Amazon) and it was a no-brainer. You can even get cashback on your groceries!
4 – Make Your Own Coffee
How many times do you grab a takeaway coffee on the way to work? Or when you travel somewhere? I used to do this all the time – at least 4 – 5 times a week. That’s at least $25 each week. Times that by two (because my husband drinks even more coffee than I do) and we were spending over $50 a week on takeaway coffee. That’s a lot of money.
Instead, we purchased good quality travel coffee cups and buy nicer coffee for home and make our coffees before we go anywhere. Plus I think our coffee tastes better anyway!
5 – Invite Friends Over For Dinner Instead of Going Out
We don’t exactly have the most active social life, but between the occasional dinner out with friends and dinners out with family, it’s easy to start spending a whole lot of money just to socialise!
Mix things up! You don’t have to miss out on your social life, but instead take turns in ‘hosting’ dinner. You’d spend around the same to feed everyone as what you would pay for your own dinner out and you get to take it in turns.
You still get to socialise, you also get to cook for others which is the best way to cook and you save a whole heap of money in the meantime.
6 – Create a Budget
It took me a long time to realise that budgets aren’t just for people on low incomes – they are for people who are smart about their money. Think about any successful bussiness, they wouldn’t fly blind with their income and expenses. They would know exactly what is coming in and going out and when.
Manage your money like a business would. Create an income and expenses spreadsheet (or write it all out on paper) and make sure you do one each pay cycle, because we have different expenses each pay cycle that you need to take into consideration.
You don’t have to cut everything out and aim to ‘save’ the most. You just have to be realistic with your expectations and aware of what your spending habits are. Get into the habit of creating a budget and watch your savings increase.
7 – Swap Out Expensive Products For Homemade Equivalents
Beauty products and cleaning products can cost a small fortune, but you can make amazing versions of some of these products at home for just a fraction of the cost. A simple search on Pinterest will give you a ton of inspiration and instruction on how you can do this for your home and beauty routine too.
One of my favourites is the facial scrub I use. I was spending a small fortune on expensive creams with scrubby bits in it, but when I started making it at home I not only saved money, but felt better knowing what it was I was putting on my face.
8 – Get Yourself a Side Hustle
Need to save more money but don’t have anywhere else you can cut your spending from? Get yourself a side hustle and earn a few more dollars. You don’t need to spend every spare moment ‘hustling’ but you can still earn a good extra supplement to your income.
There are so many different options for a side hustle and they can be a whole heap of fun too! Use the skills you already have or learn something new! You never know where your side hustle can lead you!
So while it may feel that you need to give up so much in order to save money, that’s not always the case. There are heaps of ways to save money without having to give up all the little luxuries you have or miss out on the exciting things in your life too!