Let me preface this post by saying that I am no budget expert. That would be my husband. He’s really good at it and frankly it frustrates me. No joke; talking about spending and bills used to be a heated topic in our house and it was all because I let it overwhelm me. Thankfully we are past that and now I know exactly what goes in and out and how much goes where. The truth is we spend a lot of money on food and entertainment. That’s pretty easy to do living in Houston since most people here eat dinner out four times a week. Source: HERE.
We definitely don’t eat out four times a week on the reg but it happens sometimes and then we spend time afterwards complaining about how cheap we both are and how that $8 popcorn wasn’t even that great anyways. Here are a few things that we’ve implemented over our four years of marriage that have helped us save money while still having fun.
1. We canceled our satellite television. We have basic cable and HBO Go and Netflix. I LIVE for Jeopardy these days. We used to have Hulu but none of my shows are currently on so I canceled that. Our monthly bill was $100+ and now it’s only $20. That’s almost a thousand dollars in savings plus it enables us to get outdoors more.
2. We love going to the movies but it can be expensive. We recently started going during the day (matinee movies are a few dollars cheaper per ticket). I also pack my own snacks. Judge me but I’m not paying $6 for popcorn loaded with heaps of nasty calories and artificial garbage. If you still have your student ID (thank you JMU) you can even use that to save a few dollars per ticket.
3. Canceled magazine subscriptions. Our library usually carries the latest issues of magazines and we also check out books (I was spending a lot on books there for a while but now I’m on my wait list for the latest titles). A lot of libraries even have the capability to add titles to your tablets if you are a digital reader. Oh and don’t forget about the music and DVD section! Free free free!
4. If you want to go out for a meal, go to breakfast or lunch. These dining options are usually way cheaper for the same amount of food. This has been a HUGE saver for us. Going for breakfast is also great because it forces you to get up early to start your day. I’m not a morning person.
5. Don’t order drinks when you have a meal out. Instead, ask for water. It’s healthier and free.
6. Geocaching. This is one of my favorite things to do, especially when traveling. Not sure what it is? It’s a game/treasure hunt that gets you outdoors. Visit Geocaching.com and type in your home address and these little treasures pop up with GPS coordinates. Plug them into your phone (or use the app) and get going outside. Sometimes clues pop up on the app sometimes not. Once you find it, there is usually a little slip of paper (finders log) for you to sign (we may or may not have a stamp with our code name on it). It’s so fun and it’s a great way to learn a new place. It’s magical and now that the weather is getting nicer, I know we are going to be geocaching more.
7. Take your own shopping bags. More and more places are starting to offer discount incentives to those who bring their own reusable shopping bags or simply say “I don’t need a bag” and then if they don’t offer the incentive, ask about it. It’s only a few cents but it’s better than nothing.
8. Be snooty. Meeting a friend somewhere for a hot beverage? Bring your own tea bags. I do it all the time and most places don’t charge for hot water…MOST…yes I’m calling you out MD Anderson Cancer Center. People will most likely look at you weird when you ask for hot water but who cares. It’s your money/body. Plus my tea is better.
9. And if none of these tips work for you, take a nap. Naps are free and you can’t spend money in your sleep. You’re welcome.
What money saving strategies work for you?? Comment below and I can add them into the post!