So often I hear people say they would travel more if they could afford it. And honestly we are in the same shoes. We would travel every weekend if someone else was paying the bill, so I get it.
We do a lot of things in order to save money so that I can stay home with our kids. (I plan to spill it all soon, so make sure you are subscribed so you don’t miss it… just enter your email address down below and I’ll tell you the many ways we have saved money.)
Saving money never really sounded fun to me, but when I was pregnant we knew I wouldn’t be returning to work and it became my obsession! We had to save money because our family income was being cut in half, and our health insurance increased substantially.
I became a home economist. I began listening to Dave Ramsey‘s podcast, took Financial Peace University, read financial books by Ruth Soukup, Rachel Cruze, and Chris Hogan (I was on book launch teams for both Rachel and Chris! Getting to read their books before they came out was exciting, so of course I am a huge fan of them both.) I came to learn that a budget doesn’t mean someone is broke, but quite the opposite…. it means they decide where their money should go before it is gone. And I gotta tell you… I totally geek out over this stuff. (If you ever want to talk Roth vs Traditional 401K… count me in!!) Our family budgeting how much we spend at the grocery store and deciding not the see the latest blockbuster hit at the movies and instead waiting for it to hit the red box has allowed us to make memories traveling. If skipping the nice meal and instead going home and eating something we cook means more travel then our family is all for it. My son will never remember that time we skipped lunch at Olive Garden and ate at home, but he will never forget the Eiffel Tower!
These are 5 easy ways to save TODAY in order to get closer to your next family trip!
- As I said earlier… eat at home. If you work a typical Mon-Fri job this could equal significant savings… if you normally eat a $7 meal at work and instead took leftovers from home or a peanut butter/jelly sandwich you could save $140 a month. AND your leftovers are likely far more healthy! Just this one tip is enough for you to save up and take a beach vacation in just a few months! If you add in a daily $4 coffee that you could have brewed at home you will be at over $200 a month!! When we know we will be out of the house for awhile we try to pack a picnic. A family of 4 eating at a fast food place will cost more than $20, for that we can purchase fruit and Lunchables (my kids LOVE these) save some money as well as avoid the fried food. If time permits we enjoy our lunch at a park… my kids now prefer the picnics over the fast food. If we forget to pack a lunch we often just stop in at a grocery store and get what we need still saving far more than stopping at a drive-thru.
- We don’t go to the movies very often. At $9 a ticket we would spend close to $40 just to see the movie… and my kids can’t watch a movie without popcorn and a drink… thats look suspiciously like $50 to see a movie! We wait for a movie to come out on red box and rent it…. or if it’s Star Wars we go ahead and buy it… still saving a mountain of money as opposed to going to the movie. My son is currently reading all the books in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. He sees the books in Walmart and wants them… but if we instead borrow them from the library we will save $120 over the course of all 12 books! (We buy most of our books at the library book sale for $.50!)
- We save money on things we already buy! We use Ibotta on occasion. I do wish I remembered to do it more often. It works best when you pair it with your Facebook so that you can earn larger bonuses. I have only earned $13 so far, but have friends that have earned more than $200! If you use my referral link you will get a $10 welcome bonus. I also have signed up for and started to use ebates. This is cool as you can pair it with Amazon… which I use a ton!!! So if you are using your phone you would first open ebates and go to Amazon (or whatever site you wish to purchase from) through the ebates app. Use my referral link and get a $10 bonus just for signing up. I have also used Swagbucks many times in the past. You can use it similarly to ebates. You can also take surveys, look online for a daily swag code, and watch advertisements. With this company you are awarded swag bucks… which you can transfer into gift cards. I have traded in swag bucks for Amazon gift cards several times. Another app I use is the WalMart app… you scan your receipt with the savings catcher. Walmart scans the local sales from your area stores and if another store offered a better deal they will match it. It only takes a second and you can use it in conjunction with Ibotta and with ebates! I have earned $50 with the Wal-Mart app and I don’t always remember to scan my receipts (you have 7 days to do it).
- Pay with cash! This was something we started doing when we first started listening to Dave Ramsey… and boy did it bring our grocery bill down. When you walk into the store with a certain amount of cash you pay attention to what you put in your cart. If we ever forget our trip to the ATM we find that we spend a lot more than we had intended. Cash seems to just make you pay attention.
- Stay home! I rarely go to the store for just one thing or even for just a couple of things. I have found most things I can go without for a couple of days until we take a scheduled trip to town. We save on gas as well as those ‘while I’m here I should get this’ splurges! This of course would never apply to running low or out of coffee, that is considered an emergency and would demand an immediate trip to town.
I am working on a LONG list on other ways we have been saving money over the years! This list will be exclusively for my best blog friends! So if you want your name added to the list make sure you subscribe below (I will also send you my ebook for free, as well as my free printable packing list)!