One of the most common things people want to know is how to save money each month. I seriously hear this all the time! It doesn’t matter if you’re on Baby Step 1 or Baby Step 7, people love saving on their monthly expenses. That’s because no matter how much money you make or how padded your emergency fund is, saving on the basics feels like giving yourself a raise!
It may not be easy, and it does take a lot of intentionality—but it’s totally doable. Here’s how to save money every month on your necessities.
Saving Money Each Month in Your Food Budget
Let’s start with food. We all need to eat, but saving money in the food category—especially during these coronavirus times—can be a real struggle. According to the USDA, grocery prices have gone up an average of about 3% since June of last year (and even higher on some items like beef and pork).1 So, here are my three tips on how to save money each month on food.
Shop seasonal produce.
According to the USDA, fruit is one of the few groceries seeing a price decrease.2 Use this to your advantage and buy what’s in season to save the most money each month!
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Have you ever noticed that strawberries are more expensive in the winter? That’s because they’re harder to get that time of the year. But you’ll find the best prices on avocados, grapefruit and kale at the end of the year when they’re in season. Here’s a handy cheat sheet so you can reference what time of year you’ll find the best deals on produce:
Cook at home.
We all know one of the best ways to stretch your food budget is to avoid dining out. But we also know that’s easier said than done, especially if you’ve been almost exclusively cooking at home since March (thanks, COVID). Takeout is such a tempting option right now.
Trust me, I get it. Eating at restaurants is one of my favorite things in this world. But you guys, there’s no room for debate on this one. The average American household spends nearly $3,500 each year eating out.3 That’s a lot of money you’ll save each month if you cut restaurants out of your budget.
And listen, if you have the money to spend, that’s awesome! But if you need to come up with some cash, and you’re refusing to give up this lifestyle of eating out all the time, that ultimately means eating out is more important to you than your financial goals. Only you can decide what’s most important to you. Are you really going to let 2-for-$20 night at Chili’s or a couple after-work happy hours highjack your true priorities and values?
Meal plan like a boss.
Coming into the kitchen exhausted after a long day of work and knowing you still have to cook is one of the worst feelings in the world. But you can avoid that feeling if you have a good plan in place. So, in the Cruze household, we meal plan!
Meal planning helps you stick to your grocery budget. It’s also perfect for buying groceries in bulk, and that can help you save money—especially when you shop generic store brands or whatever’s on sale. I recently had Cassy Joy Garcia, who wrote Cook Once, Eat All Week, on my show, and she shared her best recipes for meal planning:
Save Money With a Little DIY Home Maintenance
You can spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year paying other people to maintain everything inside and outside your home. Those costs include things you may not have control over, like property taxes or homeowners association fees. But many other costs can be reduced or even eliminated with some good old-fashioned DIY.
Do your own yardwork.
If you’re really wondering how to save money on home expenses every month, don’t hire out for yardwork. Instead, try doing these tasks yourself:
- Mowing the grass
- Raking the leaves
- Shoveling snow
- Hauling your trash to the dump
- Washing your car in the driveway
- Picking up your pet’s poop
Before you think I’m crazy with that last one, there are people who pay someone else to come scoop their pet’s poop. It’s a thing! In fact, if you really want to put money back into your budget each month, maybe get a side gig doing that yourself.
Make simple repairs around the house.
You guys. You’d be shocked at how easy it is to do some odd jobs like install your dishwasher, fix your dryer, or even change the filter in your car. YouTube has really changed the game of home repairs, and you can find step-by-step instructions on how to do anything these days.
Do your own cleaning.
I know, I know this one’s a chore. But if you really want to save money each month (and burn some calories while you’re at it), consider doing all the cleaning yourself, even if it’s just for a season while you’re getting out of debt or building up your emergency fund.
Shop Around If You Really Want to Save Money Each Month
From grocery stores (Aldi is amazing—#notanad) to television services to insurance coverage, I can’t recommend this enough: You need to explore all your options to seek out the best deal.
Take auto insurance for example. We’ve found that when people shop around with Ramsey’s Endorsed Local Providers, they save an average of over $700 a year, and 50% of them actually get more coverage!4 Don’t miss out on saving money just because you haven’t compared a few numbers in a while.
Cell phone providers are another great example. According to a Consumer Reports survey of over 100,000 cell phone subscribers, more than half of those who switched providers saved money on their monthly phone bills.5
And by ditching cable for good or reevaluating your streaming subscriptions, you could save hundreds of dollars or more every year.
Reset Your Mindset Every Month
I want you to start each month with a winning mindset. No matter what happened last month, the past is the past. It’s a new month, you’ve got your budget, and you’ve got these tips and strategies. You can take control of your money!
It just starts with making some small tweaks, changing habits, and making goals. I know that’s easier said than done, which is why I wrote my brand-new book, Know Yourself, Know Your Money. This book will show you how to make lasting change so you can make actual progress with your money like never before!
Buy yours today and you’ll also get the audiobook (read by me!), the e-book and my video course on a top money fear for free. Don’t wait—you can only get these bonus items for free if you preorder!