Are you always trying to scrounge up money at the end of the month to pay your bills instead of putting extra money away in your savings account? If that sounds like you then you will want to keep reading these money saving tips to stop feeling broke.
Disclosure: This page contains some affiliate links . Please know that I may receive a percentage or commission from a link included on this page, at no cost to you.
Step #1 – Start A Budget
I know this first step may not sound that important, but trust me it is. As someone that never used to keep a budget, I can personally attest that when you actually know where your money is going each month, you can better prepare for bills, unexpected expenses and most importantly start saving for retirement by investing.
Making a budget does not have to be complicated. You don’t need to have a fancy spreadsheet, you can simply keep a log in a notebook of expenses each month.
Just because you have a budget, doesn’t mean you have to stop spending on fun things.
A lot of times people feel as though a budget will hinder their flexibility of buying a lattes, a new outfit or going on a vacation. But in actuality it is the opposite.
A budget is just a way of being strategic with your money. In fact it will help you get to your dream vacation goals, paying off debt faster and knowing exactly how much you can spend on discretionary items such as lattes, clothes and travel.
Download for free the exact monthly budget spreadsheet I use each month by heading over to my resources page.
The formulas are already installed, so simply change the names of the categories and the amount of the bill each month.
Step #2 To Stop Feeling Broke – Meal Prep
The next best way to stop feeling broke is to do meal prep. That’s right, make big batch meals in advance and have the leftovers throughout the week.
When I started planning my lunches for work alone I saved nearly $400 a month! Looking back I am actually ashamed of how much money I used to spend on food at work. When I think about it now, its just insane to me.
But, when you plan ahead with meal prep you are preparing for financial success. I would find myself getting ready for work in a hurry and think to myself that I would be fine with skipping lunch and not bring anything with me.
However, once lunch time rolled around, of course I was hungry and then I would inevitably spend money. Immediately I would feel guilty for doing this. It was a bad pattern.
But now that I budget, and I know how much I can spend for say, a weekly lunch splurge with co-workers, or a fun weekend brunch with my husband I don’t feel guilty at all. Because I had intentionally set that money aside.
I am a big fan of making one pot crockpot slow cooker meals that can be parceled out into lunches each week. Here are my top 10 favorite crockpot recipes to get you inspired!
Step #3 – Stop Buying Brand Name Groceries
The grocery store is a great place to reign in spending. Just by making the switch from brand name goods to generic store brand products can save you lots of money.
I really enjoyed this article from Dave Ramsey where he breaks down the savings of generic vs. popular brands on specific dinner recipes. He lists out all the ingredients needed for taco night or a spaghetti dinner and shows the approximate savings.
According to his article it looks as though you can save around 25-30% just from swapping brand names for generic items.
The one exception where buying name brands vs. generic is actually cheaper is when you use coupons.
Step #4 – Cutting Back On Beauty
Trips to the hair salon, nail parlor and spa can add up fast. I go back and forth between hair styles and colors, but for the past year I have been sporting a more natural look that has saved me about $2000.
I have naturally brown hair, but for a while was getting blond highlights every 6 weeks that would cost me about $250 + tip.
Everyone wants to put their best self forward, not to mention that a trip to the hair salon can really make you feel refreshed.
But if you want to stop feeling broke, consider modifying your care routine to one that is less maintenance.
Since I have dyed my hair back to its natural brown state and I have settled on a longer hair style, I now only have to visit the salon two times a year.
Facials & Nails
Instead of visiting a fancy spa for a facial or getting a manicure and pedicure every month I now do at home facials and my own nails.
I like this article from Good Housekeeping magazine that gives 7 Expert Tips To Give Yourself the Best At Home Facial.
Glamour magazine breaks down the 10 Steps to the Perfect DIY At Home Manicure.
Step #5 – Don’t Buy The Latests Gadgets
Every year iPhone releases a model that has a better camera, more storage and pretty new colors. But the truth is for the most part that new iPhone won’t change your life that much and you will need to shell out upwards of $1000 to purchase it.
I am happy to say that I am still rocking the iPhone 6+ and it is working just fine. In fact in the past when I have bought phones, I have always bought them refurbished.
I think the trick with holding back on buying new shiny gadgets is to think of the need versus want. Of course most of need our phones to stay connected, but do we need the newest one each year? Probably not.
Step #6 To Stop Feeling Broke – Refinance Student Loan Debt
Anyone with student loan debt out there? Thought so. I for one have lots of different student loans. I have federal backed loans but also lots of private student loans. It can be very difficult to get ahead and stop feeling broke when you are paying massive amounts in monthly payments each month to feel like you are never going to get out of this student debt hole.
I have been out of college for over 10 years now and am still working on paying back the debt. But it wasn’t until recently that I really started to think about this debt more and how much I want to be relived from it.
I think one of the best ways to pay off your student debt faster include the following:
- Federal Loans – Try to find a government or non-profit job that allows you to join the Public Student Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). The trick with this is that if you work for the government or a qualifying non-profit for ten years, make all your payments on time, the remainder of debt will be forgiven.
- Private Loans – From personal experience the world of student loan debt is like the health insurance system. It seems to be a black hole filled with unanswered questions. But I do think that looking into consolidating private loans to get a lower interest rate is a great way to go. Not only will this potentially lower your monthly payments each month, but it also may allow you to pay the loans off quicker. I have head good things about First Republic Bank and SoFi.
Step #7 Cut Cable & Streaming Services
I have not had cable in years! Honestly I have a TV, but I don’t have cable, I don’t subscribe to Hulu, Netflix, nothing! My TV sits above the fireplace looking pretty, but that is pretty much it. This may seem extreme to some people but honestly I don’t miss it all.
Its not that I don’t watch any shows or movies at all. When a movie comes out that I want to see I can download it on Google Play for a one time payment of less than $5.
I don’t like being tied to a monthly subscription service because there are not that many shows or movies that I want to watch. I would personally rather spend my time outdoors on a hike, a trail run, with my dog, etc.
Step #8 To Stop Feeling Broke – Stop Ordering Take-Out
This is an obvious way to save money. Ordering take out food and leaving a tip on a regular basis adds up quickly. Not only does it cost more than making a meal at home, but often times we will induldge more, taking in higher calories.
When you cook your own food at home, you can make it a fun family time. Or you time. Throw on some headphones, turn on a podcast or your favorite music and tune out. Cooking is will now turn into a soothing, fun and therapeutic time.
Step #9 – Get Rid Of Your Gym Membership
Gym memberships add up. Mine is $70 a month. Now don’t get me wrong, its a nice gym, with a pool, sauna, steam, tons of cardio machines and weight machines for days. But it costs a lot of money…and sometimes I am guilty of not going as much as a should.
I am not saying don’t work out, actually the opposite. I want you to re-think your workout.
For me, I love running. Running is my favorite way to workout. I especially love trail running and being outdoors. I actually despise the treadmill. Side note, if you love running and you are thinking about running your first marathon, check out my post on How To Train and Run Your 1st Marathon.
I can complete all of my cardio workouts outside, so why do I need a treadmill at the gym?
I understand that unless you have free weights at home that you can’t achieve specific types of workouts, but perhaps you can go back to the tried and true methods of crunches, pushups and wall sits.
There are lots of way to get a great workout from home rather than at the gym.
Step #10 Coffee Habits
My last tip on how to stop feeling broke is to make your coffee at home. If you have been reading my blog for awhile you probably already know how obsessed I am with coffee. Even the logo on my home page is a cup of coffee.
But the truth is that everyday spending on cups of coffee, lattes or cappuccinos is not the best way to stop feeling broke.
As I mentioned in step #1, by budgeting in discretionary spending, and if you have the money for those splurges you can still enjoy that gourmet cup of joe.
If you love lattes, but can’t afford to buy them each day, I suggest purchasing an inexpensive handheld frother. Below are my picks for home coffee brewing that won’t break the bank.