The Easiest Steps to Save Money This Year

This post is sponsored by Allstate, but all opinions (as always) are my own!

Every year I set out with a similar goal: save more money. But it’s easier said than done! I’m a stress, boredom and social-shopper, so shopping is relaxing for me. This year, however, we want to save more money to be able to travel more and (sometime in the next few years) buy another home! Here are a few of the tips I’ll be using to save more money this year.

Make a Budget

Making a budget (and sticking to it) is the first step. It’s really important to know how much money you bring in each month compared to your monthly recurring expenses – things like rent/mortgage, insurance, utilities and other expenses that you’re unable to live without. I like to use an Excel spreadsheet to calculate my monthly or yearly expenses vs. my paycheck. It’s a great way to see where you might be able to eliminate some costs like reducing your cable bill or cell phone bill. Budgeting and allocating my “spending” money is not a strong talent of mine, but I’m getting better.

Once you’ve calculated how much your bills cost you compared to how much money you’re bringing in, hopefully you have some extra cash. With your remaining amount of money, you can split that up into savings, fun money, food and any other important monthly things you spend on like travel, gas, clothes, hair salon, therapy, etc.

Remove your Credit Card from Your Wallet

This one is so simple and so easy. Rooney recently ate one of my credit cards (it made her very sick and we almost had to take her to the ER, so I don’t recommend letting your dog do this!) and I didn’t order a replacement for a few weeks. It helped me avoid silly charges (like Starbucks when I didn’t need it) and also helped me avoid wasting money on things I couldn’t afford but impulsively wanted to buy (like clothes). If you’ve had a hard time controlling your spending, try leaving your credit card at home and only using cash or debit cards! Besides impulse shopping, here are a few other bad financial habits you should break.

Shop Your Closet

The easiest way to save money is to avoid spending it. This may mean reusing things you already own! I was once the type of person who needed a new outfit each time I had a special event. Now, I’ll shop my closet to recreate a new outfit… or I’ll avoid the event altogether! 😉 You may also be able to borrow items from friends or family. We didn’t have a pressure washer until my dad bought one for Andy for Christmas, and instead we would just borrow my parents’ when we needed it! We’ve also been able to borrow friends’ trucks for moving instead of renting a U-Haul and when I wanted to try quilting, I borrowed my mom’s sewing machine. This also allows you to try new things before you invest in something for the long haul.

Shop Secondhand

Just like borrowing from friends or family, sometimes a second hand or thrifted item is just as good as a new item. If you’ve been following for a bit, you know I love thrifting and estate sale shopping! You can find amazing items very inexpensively if you’re patient and willing to dig or shop around. Not only are the items inexpensive, but they can also be super unique and one-of-a-kind!

Break Up with Subscriptions

Let’s be honest, there are some monthly subscription services that sound cheap, but when you calculate how much they cost per year, you’re shocked! Things like gym memberships (when you never go), iPhone apps, movie channels and subscription boxes are luxury services that you may not actually need. Notice I didn’t mention Netflix, because you know you need that one! Just try to share it with someone else like a roommate, best friend or sibling.

How to Save on Monthly Purchases

Spending money on things like food, gas and clothes are impossible to avoid. But you can find ways to save! For groceries, use this helpful guide to save money at the grocery store. We’ve also really enjoyed ordering catered meals from our favorite local healthy restaurant and eating it for dinner each day of the week instead of wasting money on groceries when we’re too tired to cook at the end of a long work day.

Anytime I shop online, I look for a coupon. I always use the Honey Chrome extension which automatically applies tons of coupon codes found all around the web for your favorite sites. When this app doesn’t work (it always works), I’ll check a store’s Instagram or Facebook page to see if they have any current promotions. In this day and age, it’s so much easier to find a coupon code to save a little bit of money!

What are your best money saving tips? Leave them in a comment below and help us all out!

This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. As the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most–but to guiding people to live the Good Life, every day.

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