Saving money is something everyone wants to be able to do without the struggle. What struggle? The struggle of always feeling like you’re depriving yourself or you don’t have the freedom to just buy what you want when you want to.
I totally get it. That’s why this list isn’t full of ideas that leave you feeling restrained inside of a suffocatingly tight budget. And I’m all for having a tight budget, by the way. But this list is full of simple money-saving hacks for families will actually inspire you to keep saving in other areas!
And that’s the feeling we want to create, doing one good thing and deciding to build on it with another good choice. Like when you go to the gym and pass on the deep dish with extra cheese and grab a grilled chicken lettuce wrap instead!
If you hate living on a budget this list is perfect for you because they are no-brainers and leave you feeling empowered. When I started using many of these tricks and tools, I never felt restricted like I used to but instead felt in control and highly motivated to find other creative ways to keep my money where I want it… in my bank account!
Ok, let’s get saving!
11 Realistic Ways to Save Money
1 – Use Cash Back Apps When You Shop
Using cashback apps when you’re already doing your regular household shopping is like getting paid to shop. Duh! It’s a no-brainer and oh so simple. This works when you’re shopping online with apps like Ebates and when you’ve already completed your in-store shopping with apps like Ibotta.
2 – Use the New and Improved Envelope System for Groceries
When I first saw this video I was floored! I think Jordan is amazing and she really challenged me to my core. I totally wasn’t searching for money-saving tips when I saw this video but it grabbed me and I couldn’t have seen it at a better time.
I was really feeling the pinch in my grocery budget and was totally focusing my attention on earning more income because I didn’t think it was possible to go any lower on what I was currently spending on groceries each month… until I saw this! I immediately felt inspired and empowered at the same time. I’ve been sticking to this plan for a few months and it literally has saved my family hundreds already! Check it out for yourself…
3 – Use the Trim App
This FREE app is totally amazing! It’s like having a trusted money saving personal assistant who likes to securely analyze your spending and let you know areas where you could be saving a ton of money.
It looks for recurring subscriptions and recommends canceling if you’re not used it. How many of those do we ALL have! And to top it off, it’ll even cancel them for you if you tell it to. Crazy right. It will negotiate your Comcast cable bill and other insurance costs. Basically, this app does all the things we don’t want to do ourselves. Check out Trim here!
4 – Use Groupon to Plan Your Vacations and Local Activities
I can’t say enough about Groupon! You can literally save thousands per year by checking Groupon before your family goes on vacation, signs up for kid’s activities like gymnastics or dance, dining out, or making large purchases like a new car seat.
You can use Groupon for other expenses like shopping their daily deals and buying new power tools at a steep discount. I’ve used them for deals on haircuts, spa treatments, dental cleanings, and chiropractic services.
5 – Cook at Home
Yeah, I know you’ve heard this one a million times. But so did I until I finally started doing it! Look, I think I secretly enjoyed making excuses why I couldn’t pull together a meal and had to eat out or stop for a pizza. But there are two reasons I finally woke up and stopped.
The first is, it’s bad for my family’s health. The food I was grabbing wasn’t McDonald’s every night but it was far from kale salads. I realized that I could make food at home that wasn’t crammed with too much salt, fat, and salt. The reason I wasn’t buying yummy dinner salads (which my family also likes) is that a chicken strip meal is much cheaper than a bunch of salads. Our eating out budget was pretty small.
That brings me to my second reason. IT WAS KILLING my budget. Not only could I make that family sized dinner salad at home for literally a fraction of the price, it wasn’t that hard… really. All I did was start meal planning and that made all the difference in the world. You can actually buy your own amazing meal plans here for $5 a month! Yeah, it’s really just $5 with no catch!
6 – Cut the Cable Cord
We’ve cut the cord as a family years ago and we haven’t looked back! We’ve even got our entire extended family on board. As long as you have a strong internet connection, you can easily save money on your family’s TV and movie watching and not experience delays and lost connections.
With all the resources available to you today it no longer makes sense to stick with expensive cable. First, you need a streaming device. We use and LOVE our Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire Stick. Honestly, they both work the same and the Amazon Fire Stick is much cheaper.
Next you need to sign up for your streaming subscription. This service will deliver your shows and movies. We use Hulu and Netflix almost exclusively and there’s hardly a time when we don’t have something to watch!
7 – DO Sweat the Small Stuff
It’s so easy to think that small $1, $3, and $5 purchases don’t make a difference but let me tell you how quickly they ADD UP! And for most people, it’s the little “unnoticed” purchases that are breaking your budget every single month.
Think about how many times your kids ask you to buy that $2 toy in the checkout aisle (my least favorite place EVER), or how many times you grab a $5 meal at Chik-Fil-A, or get that $4 afternoon caffeine fix at Starbucks.
Look at this… just making one single (probably mindless) $5 purchase a day for a month adds up to $150! If you just tell yourself on that one little purchase, you just got back a HUGE chunk of change each month. That adds up to $1800 per year.
8 – Pack the Snacks
When I finally started doing this one, it was a totally money-saving gamechanger! I’m typically that mom… the one who’s always forgetting to pack everything that’s needed for the day. I’m totally jealous of my mom friends who pack their ninja-mombags with every possible snack, toy, and wipe for every possible scenario that could happen that day.
I’m not sure I’ll ever get there, but I have gotten wise to packing snacks when I’m out with the kids. I think I secretly enjoyed those fast-food runs when my kiddos said those magic words – I’m hungry! But once I realized that these way-too-many fast food stops were killing my budget, I had to make a change.
It’s more work on the front end, but my kids and I are eating MUCH healthier and our family is saving hundreds each month! Stopping for lunch out isn’t a small purchase, it’s more like $20+ if I’m really trying hard to be cheap.
Here’s a tip, pack delicious and fresh foods like fruit, cheese sticks, yogurt pouches, and simple sandwiches so your kids will never feel deprived. Mine haven’t!
9 – Make Large Purchases at the End of the Month
This tip is really empowering because you taking advantage of needs of the salesperson instead of your own needs. Typically when buying large items like furniture and cars, the sales individuals will be trying to meet their personal sales quotas at the end of the month.
This is where you’re able to gain some leverage and have a much higher chance of working out a discount.
10 – Stay Active and Exercise Every Day
As the saying goes, pay now or pay later, you will pay for good health. Health care costs are rising and insurance companies are covering basic costs less and less. I’ve even had insurance companies deny parts of my kids’ well checkups. That’s crazy to me but should show us that we need to be even more mindful of how we care for our health.
When we exercise every day and eat a healthy diet, we’re more likely to need fewer doctors and hospital visits. And that means fewer copays. That means only showing up for your yearly well checkups, and those are usually FREE!
Not to mention how great you’ll feel and look as a result of living a healthier lifestyle. And that’s a really big cherry on top!
11 – Only Carry Large Bills
If you carry cash often to spend on your regular household shopping, always carry large bills. There’s a natural instinct to keep that bill intact. I’ve found myself digging in my purse for a penny because I didn’t want to break a five dollar bill!
It’s amazing how we can tell ourselves we don’t need that small thing if it means we need to break that hundred.
That’s our list of amazing money-saving hacks for families! What are your money-saving hacks? Share in the comments below and let us know how you save money every month!