Ways I save money on the regular.

  • February 21, 2017
  • By Kathy@MoreCoffeeLessTalky

I'm always cognizant of my finances but this year I'm laser-focused because work fuck off time happens in November so my budget needs to be on point.  I don't have the time, nor the desire, to adjust my lifestyle (read: I want to continue to buy what I want, when I want and do what I want) when not working so I'm scrutinizing my expenses with a magnifying glass and pumping up the jam (even more) with savings.

I've been on a spending freeze (for the most part) since the holidays ended.  The $24 sweat  pants and $2 yarn don't count since that's practically free when you consider those prices.  Anyway, my point is that frivolous, daily spending is what's really dangerous because that's where money leaks out and you don't even noticing until it's too late.

The two biggest expenses that don't seem to make a significant impact at time of purchase but actually does, is food and drink.  One often thinks that the small price of a coffee is nothing but add that up for the week, especially if you get more than just a basic coffee, and that's a pretty big chunk of money leaving your wallet.

I did a little experiment just for this post:  3 weeks ago, I took out $200.  That's a lot of spending money (something that I never do; at most, I only have $20 on me) and a long time to have it burning a hole in my wallet.  At the end of the 3 weeks, I wanted to see how much money was left over based on my daily spending habits.

Result: I have $215.  I think I already had the $15 to start with by my point - I didn't spend a dime in those 3 weeks.

{the $200 went back into the bank}

Here's how I don't spend during the week (or weekend, for that matter):

I don't buy food when I'm at work.  I've been bringing my lunch to work since 2012...that's FIVE YEARS of not spending any money on food when at work.  Pretty impressive, right?

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I bring my lunch AND dinner since I workout at 630pm and I go straight from work.  This means I won't have time to go home to eat so I bring my dinner with me.  An average lunch at work costs around $12 (including drink and taxes) which could mean $60 spent if I bought lunch each day. Fuck that noise.  I lug a huge cooler to work that's stuffed with healthy food I make at home and that $60 stays in my wallet.

If I feel snackish, I have a drawer of healthy snacks that get replenished so things like nuts, Lara bars, coconut shreds etc are handy so I don't have to go downstairs to buy anything.

This includes drinks - I drink my coffee at home before I leave for the office and while I'm at work, I only drink water (refillable bottle and the water cooler at work).

I don't buy food when I'm out.  Call me a creature of habit, but I eat at certain times:  7:30am, 12pm, 530pm.  I plan my outings (errands etc) around these times so I don't have to run around hungry trying to find something to eat which prevents two things:  me eating crap and me spending money.

I also have healthy snacks in my purse at all times so I can eat those to hold me over until I get home.

I very rarely buy drinks when I'm out.  That's what my S'well bottle is for -- I fill that up and lug that around with  me everywhere.  The only time I buy coffee is when I have a gift card, a free coffee that I've stolen from my husband (from "roll up the rim") or free Starbucks rewards.

I don't go out much.  This pretty much takes care of seeing things that would normally tempt me to spend money. I rarely go to the mall and if I do, I stay away from stores like Sephora or Indigo; places where they lure you in with bright lighting and pretty packages.  It's not that I don't go out to avoid spending; it's that my old lady grumpiness prevents me from wanting to go out and be around humans.

There are other ways I save money (maybe another post?) - make my own things (soap, hats, scarves, craft things, planner items), participate in reward programs (ie. reviewing books that gives me 10 points per review and points = $), participate in money-back programs (ebates).

What are some things you do to save money on a daily basis?

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  1. My best ways of avoiding spending money are not watching tv (no ads, no temptations), shopping with a list/avoiding temptation stores (Target/mall), and making sure all those ad emails go to my spam email address/unsubscribing if I give companies my personal email. Rarely am I aware there are even sales going on until someone else tells me. If I do "need" something, I wait until I have a coupon or I hunt for sales. I used to be so bad about just going clearance shopping and realized I loved nothing I wore and it just wasn't worth it.

  2. I keep track of my spending & you know its bad when you set up categories for spending for "Coffee" & for "Eating out" & "Groceries"... I legit spend so much at Starbucks, its embarrassing... & lunch? I wish I didnt spend so much. Both the hubs & I buy our lunch every day... & usually buy dinner out 4 or 5 days a week. We'd be millionaires if I was more domestic.

  3. Eating out is definitely what takes up most of the money. I always bring my lunch so I don't spend money there but we're not as good with dinner just because we like eating at a lot of different places. But since we save a lot in other places, it doesn't bug me too much that most of our entertainment money goes to beer and food!

  4. Bravo on the whole avoiding buying lunch/dinner and eating out thing. That is our downfall. All our utilities are low, we've been good about meal planning/only buying groceries we need, and we don't spend on random stuff typically... but my husband enjoys going out to eat. It's something we've talked about, so at least (I guess) we know we're consciously doing it and, if we had to, we could stop and save more money.

  5. I bring breakfast and lunch (not coffee - that is my jam and I have no desire to give it up). I will buy lunch once a week every other week. I like doing that. I always have water with me in my S'well bottle.

  6. This is so interesting to me. I did a spending challenge last summer where I was allowed $30 for the week. I found that when I had a finite amount of cash in my hands, I spent FAR less then when I can mindlessly swipe. I think I need to go back to this ASAP.

  7. I try to limit my eating out but since it's pretty much a hobby for me (and my job lol), it's hard. I've gotten a LOT better about packing my lunch. It's way more convenient anyway.

  8. Once upon a time I used to eat EVERY meal out. It was not kind to my pocketbook (which thankfully could afford it so at least I wasn't creating debt over lunch) or my waistline. Later, I calculated that I was on average spending $700 on dining out per month. Oh Lordy. So many better uses for that money! I try to avoid the stores unless I have a purpose and a list. I am an emotional shopper so I will treat myself stupidly for a temporary high so browsing is not a good option to cure the blues for me.

  9. ooh i am curious about the reviewing books.
    food is my #1. i don't spend money on drinks, ever. i drink water or free diet coke at work, i don't drink coffee so i'm never tempted by starbucks and the like. but food? eat out for lunch once or twice a week, grab snacks from the vending machine, a little extra when i do the grocery shopping, etc etc. it's the little things - the vending machine or walking over to walgreens to grab a candy bar that really add up for me and i need to learn how to stop.
    i stay out of the mall or target etc, and when i go to the grocery i stay away from the fun aisles that sell makeup or whatever.

  10. When I am working full time in the office I only go out to lunch on Fridays with my lunch club girls and I will never give that up because it is good for the soul. I usually spend between $8-12 that day. I usually grab a special coffee from DD or SB once a week too (usually a day that I want to cry because ughhhh why is it only Tuesday or something) to cheer me up but the rest of the coffee I drink at home. I carry around my water cup everywhere I go too and I gave up soda finally so I am never tempted by the vending machines.

  11. I rarely buy drinks when I'm out. I almost always have my water bottle on me, even if I'm running an errand that takes a total of 20 minutes, and if it's going to be longer, I either eat beforehand or bring a snack. Also, I can't eat most convenient snacks so that helps, too.

    I'm not a big spender in general so when I do spend, I'm okay with it (books, makeup, things like that). But making my own stuff? Nope. I am not crafty at all.

  12. I'm so glad I am not a coffee drinker but my husband is and he spends a fortune on it. I know he looks at it like "it's only $3.00," but he does it several times a week and it adds up! We also spend too much on going out to eat but we have cut way back since buying our house and having a kid. Lol.

  13. This is awesome! Oh yes, please do another post! I love it. Our money goes away quickly when we eat out or grab drinks. Which we do frequently. Right now we are riding the balance of not being too hard on ourselves ("hey, we're making steps! we just moved. We're doing way better than we were last year, even though we want to do better!"), and still making changes. It's tough. If we're too hard on ourselves we tend to freeze and stop making progress in all areas. I want to build habits (exercising more frequently, flossing, cooking at home, etc.) so I can't expect to do all of them perfectly right off the bat. So I'm trying SUPER HARD to get there. So far 2017 (despite the move!) has been super good on all improvement fronts. I hope to keep making more/different progress as the year goes. Which definitely means more meal prep/healthy meals! Yeah, definitely share your next post! Not going out to places to shop definitely helps me too! Or just plain staying home on purpose. Reading, netflix, stuff we need to do, creative things are often quite free! XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  14. I used to get lunch somewhere a few times a week but for the past year or two, I've been bringing my lunch to work every single day which has helped so much! Even if it's just a bunch of random things in our kitchen all thrown into a bag, hah. Sometimes I'll get a McDonalds iced coffee (which is still WAY cheaper than Starbucks) but I usually just make coffee at home. I love using Ebates too!

  15. I like your hermity ways of not spending lol. I bought wawa for lunch at work today, because I wanted to escape my office, though. I don't have a window so sometimes I go stir crazy. Hopefully once baby life is less crazy I can plan a little better. I can dream, right. And actually cook again one day. I don't go out much either but I have Amazon Prime and it is both helpful and dangerous. Mostly it's cheaper to buy things there than in store so I'm seeing it as helpful.