So I am experiencing a time in my life that is not so fun. It is called being broke… If you asked me 10 years ago if I thought I would ever be in this situation, I would say your crazy. I always thought I was very good with my money. Boy was I wrong! I am drowning in student loan and credit card debt, and I decided it is time to get out. This is a list of things that I have already cut out or am trying my hardest to cut out. I come from a family of shoppers, so I have a really hard time saying no to things. My number one tip for those of your struggling with money is to STOP shopping at Target. I don’t know about you, but every time I go to get one item, I come out spending at least $50 more than I wanted to. I try to avoid Target as much as I can because of this reason. I have also started using coupons more. I highly recommend that you check out The Krazy Koupon Lady. They have an app that shows you all the deals in your area and how to get them. I never thought I would be a coupon gir but when you are low on cash, you try to spend the least amount of money possible.
1.Restaurant and fast food
If you are struggling with money, I think the first thing people tend to do is cut back on going out to eat or stopping at a fast food restaurant. This is hard to do these days with how busy out lives have become, but if you can try to prepare some meals ahead of time that you can quickly put together at dinner time! I think being prepared for the week is important so that your not stopping at a drive through because you are so hungry.
2.Specialty coffee drinks
I used to have a big problem buying frappe’ drinks from coffee shops. I wish I would have never tried them because they are deliciousness! It was really hard for me to cut down on specialty coffee drinks from coffee shops. Once I did it for about two weeks, I finally got used to it and it hasn’t been so hard. The main thing for me was the sugar I believe. If you think sugar isn’t addicting, you haven’t met me. I have been eating sugar like crazy lately and it needs to stop. It is pretty sad when your recycling bin is full of plastic cups-oops!
3.Clothes and accessories
Unless you haven’t shopped for clothes in like 10 years, I would suggest drastically cutting down on shopping for yourself and your kids if you can. With kids, this can be kind of hard since they are constantly growing so maybe set aside a little bit every month to buy things that you absolutely need. I would also suggest shopping at second hand stores, Ebay or stores where you can find things for cheap. Before I had my daughter, I really had no concept of money and would buy new clothing all the time. I quickly learned that this will make you broke as a joke so don’t follow in my footsteps.
This could have gone with the clothing and accessories category, but let’s be honest and say that this is a totally separate issue. I used to be obsessed with shoes until I realized how expensive they are. I cut out buying shoes a long time ago so if you are one that keeps buying them and you don’t really have the funds…STOP IT NOW!
In my opinion, house decorations should come last in your budget. I totally understand making sure that your house feels like home, but you have to get the necessities covered first! There are a lot of cheap things you can do for your home, so maybe head to the craft store and put together your own decorations. There are a ton of holiday decorations you can create on your own as well!
We quickly realized that we were spending way too much money on food, so we had to decide what we really NEED in our house. Writing a weekly grocery list has helped me tremendously. I also learned that I cannot bring my daughter shopping with me because she probably adds $20 worth of snacks in the cart every time. Packaged snacks are not even good for you and are way too overpriced. Try baking and home or eating fruit for a healthy snack!
This has been another hard one for me. What can I say, I am addicted to caffeine!!! I have however, started buying cans of soda instead of stopping at Mcdonalds or something and buying one there. This saves a lot of money. I also try to have a can every other day instead of every day. Again, this is a challenge for me!
I feel like I could write a whole blog post about my experience with buying expensive cosmetics. The number one thing I have found is that the most expensive does not always mean better. I have probably spent thousands of dollars on different cleansers, toners, moisturizers and makeup for my horrible acne prone skin. No matter what I do, nothing has really helped until I realized that I was eating the wrong foods. I have significantly cut back on dairy and my face has cleared up a ton. I also use cheap dial soap for my face cleanser and ACV for a face toner. Both have been working fine and I have saved a ton of money. Makeup can get a little tricky. I like to spend more money on my foundation because I like to have something that won’t clog my pores. I have found that there are great drugstore lipsticks, eye liner, mascara and eyeshadows. Better yet, just cut out makeup completely if you can handle it!
I try not to buy a lot of toys for my daughter because one, she doesn’t play with many toys and two, she usually gets a ton of stuff from family and friends. I think too many toys can get overwhelming for kids anyways. If you absolutely need something, check out garage sales and secondhand stores. If your child really wants something, set up a chore chart for them and teach them how to save their money so that they can buy it themselves. My daughter loves putting money in her piggybank and then going to the store and paying for her things herself. It is a great lesson!
Vitamins and minerals are important for our every day diets and so I don’t think your should cut your daily multivitamin out of your diet. I think had to sit down and decide which supplements I should take because mine were getting to be way too expensive. Some supplements I decided to cut out were my hair, skin and nails, a probiotic and a cleanse I was doing. This has saved me a ton of money every month.
I think it is crazy how expensive meat is. I try to avoid it as much as possible and buy things like eggs, protein shakes, dairy products and other sources of dairy products to save money. If you are absolutely craving meat, check your local grocery store for coupons or discounts. I know that buying meat in bulk can save money as well!
Do you have an expensive hobby that you could cut back on? Some people spend a lot of money on their hobbies and you might have to take a step back and ask yourself if you really need to be spending money on that. I wanted to get into painting until I realized how expensive it would be for me to buy my own supplies.
13. Organic food
I haven’t been much of an organic food shopper, so this one doesn’t apply to me. If you are looking to save some money it might be a good idea to cut back on organic food. I stopped buying organic eggs because they were like $4.00 for a dozen eggs vs. $99 for Target’s store brand eggs. I get that they might not be as healthy, but I feel like there are worse things to harm your body!
14. Movies and games
Movies and games are a huge money sucker! I never buy my own dvds or games because I think they are a huge waste of money. There are so many better things you can do in this life instead of sitting at home playing games and watching TV. Also, the price for cable is absolutely insane and I personally would never pay it (my boyfriend does because of his sports channels). Have you been to a movie with the family lately? For 3 of us to go it costs us about $60 if we want to get the amazing buttery popcorn and Icee drinks. With that said, we rarely go to a movie because it is so expensive.
TVs, cameras, phones and other electronic devices are very expensive and I think it is important that you save up for these big purchases. I have done this completely wrong in my life and put things on credit cards and I am going to be paying may more than I would have had if I had saved my money. Don’t be like me!
Gifts can get pretty expensive, especially since it seems like every month there is either a holiday or a birthday. If you can, make something on your own that will save you money or go in on a gift with someone else. Pinterest has a ton of homemade ideas and it’s the thought that counts, right?
I personally don’t spend a lot of money on books, but I know people who do. If you are trying to save money check out your local library, ebay or ask a friend. Depending on how many books your read, they can be pretty expensive. Also, do you really need to BUY a book to keep? I don’t know a lot of people who read the same book multiple times so try borrowing one! The same goes for kids. I rarely buy books for my daughter because we can get the same books at the library. Also, she usually attaches to one book so we don’t even need a huge selection of books for her.
You may have to put off your yearly vacation with your friend this year if you are not making enough money. This will be depressing, but you can do it! Instead, maybe do something fun near home. You don’t want to use your credit cards because it will not be worth it in the long run.
19. Monthly subscriptions/memberships
You may not think that your $10 a month Spotify account isn’t making you broke, think again. If you are very low on cash, these monthly memberships can add up. If you have about 5 monthly memberships that are $10 each, that’s $50 extra a month! There are some memberships that you may need to keep, and that is understandable but just make sure it is something you absolutely need.
20. Professional hair services
As a hairstylist, I understand that getting your hair done is important. However, it is not a need and you may need to cut it out for a few months until you get your expenses under control. I would suggest doing a balayage or something close to your natural color so that you don’t notice the regrowth as bad. This is what I decided to do and I haven’t colored my hair in about 6 months. For haircuts, try to find a friend who knows hair, cut it yourself or go somewhere cheap.
I hope that this blog post will inspire you to cut back on buying things you don’t need. Another thing that I am constantly doing is checking my bank account everyday. I write down exactly what I need to pay for that week and make sure I have enough money. I find that if I physically write it down, I have a better chance of following it. If you would like more tips, click here to find out 8 simple ways to make and save money online. Thanks for reading!