5 Little Things I Rarely Spend Money On That Have a BIG Impact
The first time that my husband and I took a hard look at our budget, we were living off of $17,000 as a family of 4 and were at a breaking point. We realized that we needed to get in control of our spending before we spent ourselves into bankruptcy.
When we finally got looking at our spending, we realized that it wasn’t the big stuff that was killing us. It was the little stuff.
It wasn’t like either of us went out and bought diamond jewelry each month that was putting us into a money pit; it was the vending machine snacks, the expensive haircuts, the trips to Starbucks, the food shopping when we were hungry. Everything that we thought was so small was adding up!
Since then, we realized that we needed to change the way that we look at “small things” in our budget. We didn’t need to cut anything out, just change the way that we chose to see every penny that we spent.
Even now, we still rarely spend money on these five things.
1. Full priced clothes
I can’t stand the idea of buying clothes at full price when I can go to a second-hand shop (whether it’s a thrift shop or the Goodwill) and get them for a tiny fraction of the price.
I started doing this for my sons who were just growing like weeds and outgrowing, putting holes in knees or staining every article of clothing I got them. I’ve never bought jeans for my sons for more than $3!
Even when I buy jeans for my husband and myself, we’ve never paid more than $5 a pair. The best deals are for maternity clothes! I bought a whole maternity wardrobe from Goodwill for $20. I’m not kidding.
You can’t beat free! Asking friends and family if they have any hand-me-downs is free! When second-hand stores or hand-me-downs from family are an option, I just don’t even shop for clothes in the retail stores anymore.
2. Going out to eat
We made it a point in our budget to set aside $20 each month to going out to eat. It wasn’t easy at first, but soon, we became pros at saving a lot of money while still enjoying ourselves going out. Even my husband makes sure that he packs his own lunch and snacks at work so he doesn’t need to spend any more money .
3. Home decor
I love to decorate. I could spend hours on Pinterest looking at the perfect decor for every occasion. But then I get sticker shock when I find out how much it costs to decorate like that!
You can also do quite a lot with items from the dollar store. You just need to have a little creativity and a little help from Pinterest and you’ll have tons of ideas for very little money!
I hardly ever buy toys for my kids. For crying out loud, my kids had a blast playing with an empty cardboard box from Costco and a box of crayons! Why on earth would I need to take out a second mortgage on buying them toys?!
If I do buy them toys, I get them from yard sales and save them for special occasions.
We don’t have cable. That was one of the first things we got rid of when we were looking at our budget. But “entertainment” is more than that. The last time we went to the movies was when I was trying to induce labor with our oldest son… in 2010. I can’t justify $20 per ticket to see a movie on a Friday night.
Concerts are another big expense that got cut out. My husband loves going to concerts but at $40 or more each month, it was too much. Now he picks one or two each year that wind up saving us tons of money and it makes the shows more special for him.
Sporting events are another big expense that got cut from our budget. We are huge sports fans in our house; football, baseball, soccer, hockey, just to name a few! But even going to our local baseball teams’ home games at $5 a ticket really adds up (and forget about it with NFL games!). We still go to the games, but it’s a special occasion and requires us to save up money in order to pay for the tickets with cash.
When we took a hard look at our budget, we realized how many things we could cut back on or get rid of completely. When you have to make the decision to make a budget and stick to it, cutting out the unnecessary expenses is the first step. It took a while to get into the habit of sticking to our budget, but it was well worth it!
What do you cut back on to save money?