With the New Year, lots of people make resolutions. To work out more, eat healthier, lose weight, work less, spend more time with family, etc etc. Now I’m the first to admit, resolutions rarely stick. It’s hard to keep a resolution for an entire year. But it’s a nice way to start the year off with some goals in mind, even if you end up slipping a little here and there. Personally my main goals for the year are:
- Be the best mommy and wife I can be
- Save more money
- Cut out almost all processed foods and make most things from scratch
- Stay active with the hubs and baby Poppy regardless of the season
- Plan more get-togethers with friends and family
- Put myself out there and meet new people
- Improve photography (practice, research and take classes)
- Focus my efforts on Sweetpoppyseed.com
Today I want to focus on #2. Save more money. I’m a pretty big fan of saving money. They say mo’ money mo’ problems but I politely disagree. There is no better feeling than saving money on groceries, clothing, or just stuff in general. And the more money saved, the more we have to spend on things that are truly important to our family: travel, baby, fun experiences, hobbies and new house. (Unfortunately my saving tips won’t yield enough to buy a new house, but maybe it can help buy a coffee table.. I need one!).
My theory is that thru little changes come big results. They are not life-changing things, but I promise that sticking to them will make a significant difference in your wallet.
- Make your own coffee
This is an obvious one but it saves so much money! $5 a day, $25 a week, $100 a month… you get it. . Whether you are using a normal drip coffee machine, Keurig, espresso maker or French press, it’s totally doable to make killer cup of coffee at home and then take it to work. Just give yourself a little extra time. I’ve got my morning coffee routine down to a 1 minute prep then press BREW, change a diaper and coffee is ready when I return (3-4 minutes later!). For a fancier brew, we sometimes bust out the espresso maker or french press.
I love this mug from Target: Aladdin Travel Mug because it’s microwavable. So if your drink gets cold, just heat it up in the mug and enjoy your savings.
Now when I do go out for coffee, it’s an extra fun treat 🙂
- Make your own lunch – Weekend food prep
This is a hard one sometimes. I totally get it. But you could save more than $30 a week!!! To make it easier, I give myself an hour or 2 on the weekends and plan out some easy meals. Grilled meats and roasted veggies, soups, salads, pasta salads, wraps or good old leftovers.The trick is to plan plan plan and portion things off for the week. Even if you can only fit in 2-3 homemade lunches a week, you will still see the monetary benefits.
- Plan your dinners for the week
This is the single best way I save money. On weekends I decide the dinner plans for the week, picking recipes to make and listing out the necessary groceries. With my detailed food list in hand, I stay focused at the grocery store only getting what I really need vs ending up with random ingredients. An added benefit is that I reduce the number of trips I take to the store during the week.
- Keep snacks at work/ your purse/ car
Stashing trail mix or granola bars at work, in your purse or car is a great way to save money and stay healthy. When I’m out and get the munchies (which happens a lot), I fill up on a healthy protein without the need to spend on snacks on the road. Currently the hubs has some cashews in his car, I have granola bars in my purse and car, and I sometimes sneak trail mix in the diaper bag. Granola bars and trail mix are my favorites right now since they don’t freeze in the winter. Once the warmer months hit, I tend to not keep things in my car but instead load up the purse with trail mix or apples.
- Eat leftovers
When I’m making a meal that saves well, I try to make a larger batch or double the recipe in order to save the leftovers. This is an easy way to save food for a work lunch or to freeze it for later. Lentils, quinoa bake, pasta, stuffed peppers or chili all make great leftovers. I vow to keep sharing my favorite leftover recipes on the blog so stand by 🙂
- Splurge on nice glass food containers
Invest in glass food containers especially if you reheat food in the microwave. These are great because they have a spill-proof lids and are oven-, microwave- and dishwasher-safe. My favorite are: Pro Glass Food Storage.
- Buy in bulk (nuts, beans, grains, spices)
An easy way that I cut costs at the grocery store is by buying nuts, grains, spices and beans in bulk. You know what I’m talking about, those cool bulk dispensers at your local co-op, Whole Foods and more recently Fresh Thyme Market (or Sprouts stores in the southern US). The price for bulk items are much lower than their packaged counterparts and it is a great way buy bigger or smaller quantities of an item since you measure it out yourself. I also love buying in bulk because it allows me to try new grains, nuts or spices in small quantities without the need to buy a big package of it.
By implementing these smart simple changes, I have definitely saved money over the last year and I hope to keep it going for 2016. So give them a try and I promise you will see the savings too!
What are your favorite tips money saving tips? Leave me a comment 🙂