NOTE: This was originally posted in 2012. We’ve recently revised the article (October 2016) to include updated links!
Saving money is something that seems to be the topic of conversation lately. Changing three daily habits can immediately start to save you money every day. While these three habit changes take some effort, they will drastically and positively affect your daily spending and monthly costs. Deciding to make frugality a lifestyle will get your finances where you need them to be.
Stop the Fast Food Routine
Getting fast food can be quick and convenient. However, it is disastrous to your monthly finances. Think about how much you spend on fast good meals each week for your family. It can add up quickly in a year’s time.
Terrified of the kitchen? YouTube to the rescue!
Whether you’re slipping in a quick video while waiting for the kids at school or gathering around the laptop with the whole family, these are some of my favorite sources for cooking techniques and new recipes:
If you can cut out most of the fast food stops and cook at home, you will save an astounding amount of money. At the same time, you will be able to control what goes into your food and how it is handled.
Get the kids in the kitchen while you’re at it! Not only does this help them to learn where their food comes from and set them up for cooking success themselves, it’s a way to squeeze in a little extra family time!
Have younger kids that you can’t necessarily hand a knife or turn loose with a saute pan? Doesn’t mean they can’t feel like their included. One of the favorite activities of my 3-year-old son is stirring the vegetable peels and trimmings of whatever I’m cooking around in a pan while I prep dinner.
He’s content, he’s interacting with his food and he feels like he’s getting some quality dad time. It’s a win for everyone!
Pack Lunches for Kids and 9-to-5ers
While as a freelancer you probably already have the ability to walk into the kitchen and grab a meal, that doesn’t mean the whole family has the same opportunities.
With a little preparation, you can be sure that your family is eating great and save a nice bundle of bills in the process. If they are spending $6 to $10 each day for lunches, beverages, and a pick-me-up snack for a five-day workweek, those purchases add up to $30 to $50 a week.
That is an astonishing $1560 to $2600 a year!
Buy lunchtime favorites the grocery store and prepare them at home for a fraction of the cost.
Don’t forget those bottled waters and other beverages they’re buying from vending machines or corner stores either. Those are marked up to a premium, wallet-draining price.
Simply buying a case of bottled waters or other beverages will save you huge amounts of money each month even if you don’t always get a lunch packed.
Try this and watch your savings add up each week!
Get it While It’s Hot
Couponing was a crazy trend there for a while with people getting card loads of stuff for pennies on the dollar. Even if you have no desire to become a crazy coupon shopper, you can use some couponing habits to your benefit without any clipping or printing using this tip!
Coupon shoppers know to stock up when a deal is cheap enough. Grocery stores are constantly having sale promotions, and taking advantage of those promotions will save you money in the end, while stocking your freezer or cabinets.
In fact, if you keep track of prices, there’s a good chance that your local shops put certain things on sale in a repeating cycle. Once you know the schedule, you’ll know exactly how much to pick up to last until the next sale!
For example, if your local grocery store has boneless skinless chicken breasts on sale for $1.99 per pound, grab a few pounds at once instead of a single meal. Just toss the extra in your freezer for later.
This will give you the chance to maximize your savings on the chicken right now. When you are ready for another chicken dinner, you will not have to buy it at a higher price when the discounts have passed along.
For more tips on determining store sale cycles and maximizing your savings without turning coupon into a part-time job, check out these sites:
If you’re looking to get into couponing a bit more, Live Like You Are Rich has an awesome comprehensive guide. Using everything they offer looks exhausting to me, but I’ve found some of my favorite money savers picking and choosing from their guide!
This post marks a new milestone for Family Freelancer! It’s our first guest post! Have a question or comment for me or Anne Marie? Just leave it in the comments below! Have a great weekend!