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Small Budget Family Life

Save Your Family Money Without Sacrificing Living

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Just a little planning will help you save money on every purchase

For this money saving guide, I include printables and a great exercise to help you get started. 

Are you looking for ways to become a money squirrel? This guide will help you with saving money on every purchase. No matter what day of the week, which season it is, there are many ways to save money.

How to Become a Money Squirrel

Is Your Current Savings Plan Not Working Like You Thought It Would?

Use These Ideas To Help You Reach Your Financial Goals

Reaching Your Savings Goals Can Be A Process

The more you implement things we talk about here on this site, the more you will notice how well you really are doing.

$Many of you are doubting yourself, doubting your ability to save money but you can do this.  I know, the tasks of paying household bills, buying food, diapers, formula and everything else is relentless. It can feel like you are in quicksand, every $50.00 pushing you further into the quicksand.

create financial plan
photo credit: Everyday Plus (free digital photos)

Are you searching for ways to save more money each month? You may feel like you’re already doing all you can do to save especially if you have kids.

That may not be the actual case, some people find they can still save a little more each month by making a few changes in their lifestyle.

Sometimes even after you already drop the cable TV and eliminated other bills, you may have to look a little deeper to find every cent going out. 

There are lots of ways to saving money each month to help you shop with a money-saving mindset and goal.  Many people look for sales and use coupons when shopping for groceries but that’s not the only way to save.

Research before you buy toys, clothing or any other big ticket item. It will be this research that will be the most beneficial for your bank account.  Search around and look for the best deal possible, even if it means buying second hand.

Buy in bulk when you can, and when it makes sense. Buy items at discount stores like the thrift store to help you save just a little bit more money each month.

Every Cent Matters! A ¢ more than you have to pay adds to the debt and a ¢ saved increases your savings account 😉

First Look At What Exactly You Spend Money On

Stop wasting money! This is what everyone will tell you. But not many will sit there with you creating a detailed itemized list to help you sort through what is a money waster. 

This may sound obvious but many people are not aware of how much money they are actually wasting. What you consider money wasting may be different from another person.

The internet bill may be a waste for one spouse, but it isn’t a waste for the other spouse, especially if they are the at-home spouse!

Be respectful on both sides, be compassionate, be realistic and compromise nicely with maturity. Money is a very sensitive and touchy topic for many of us.

Also, each person’s itemized list is going to be different, every family is different.

Put together a detailed itemized list of things you purchase each month.

You can either list it this way, which is a more broader list. Or you can dig deeper, whic is my recommenation to literally list out every single item.

  • Beverages
  • Take Out Food
  • Accessories
  • Skin Care
  • Hair Care
  • Entertainment
  • Clothing
  • Household Decor

The list can go on and on, this is just a starter list to help you begin the process of reduction or elimination. This can be a tempory status or a permanent status, it will depend on you.

To get the most out of this exercise, I recommend you find your shopping receipts. Now in a spreadsheet, list out each item you have purchased. If you got it multiple times, just change that number as you find them within your receipts

It can be as simple as a three column spreadsheet or set it up whichever way works for you. 

Once you have everything itemized for the last three to six months, then it is time to go in and label them!

Add up each receipt to figure out how much overall you have spent. Keep this number handy. After you have gone through this exercise, you will implement your new spending schedule.

You will then add up those numbers based on either a three month or six month time period. If you started this exercise with three months worth of receipts, then you will compare it to three months of receipts.

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You will be really amazed at yourself just how much money you are able to squirrel away!

There will be some things that will have no change, it will depend on the item. For example you may be only having one cup of coffee per day and maybe it’s only change is you make it from home instead of buying it ready to drink. 

The status of that item will be one of these

  • Temporary Reduction

A temporary reduction means that you want that item, but you will buy less of it. If you purchased that item thirty times within the last six months, it may be time to reduce that number. Determine how much you will reduce each item and add that in there.

This is one of the two statuses where an item can be moved to any status.

  • Permanent Reduction

A permanent reduction means you know that it is something you have been thinking about cutting out. This is your chance to get it down in writing for you to finally implement.

This item will be consistently reduced until you decide to get rid of it altogether if that is in its future at some point. Or maybe you learned that you are overindulging on that item and made the decision to reduce the number of times you have it in general.

Once an item has made it to the permanent reduction status, it can not be added back to its original status. The only moves this item can make are either temporary elimination or permanent elimination.

  • Temporary Elimination

A temporary elimination is great for items that are on a wish list or something that can be put on a temporary hold. Many people do this because a situation comes up where they really need to pay a specific bill such as rent, water, electricity or some emergency need. 

Once the emergency is taken care of, you can move it to its original status or you can do one of the reduction statuses. 

  • Permanent Elimination

Permanent elimination is when you have moved an item slowly through each of the statuses to wean yourself from it. When you slowly wean this item out of your life, the grief of its loss will not hit you so badly.

This is why people find themselves with remorse, some even will place the item into its original status on overdrive because they didn’t slowly move through the steps.

Before placing any item into the permanent elimination status, it must have spent at least two weeks in the previous statuses to allow yourself time to grieve its loss.

>I recommend starting with reduction, on a temporary status. Then after a month or two, you can decide if the temporary reduction should be changed to permanent reduction or move to the temporary elimination and the final move would be permanent elimination.

  • When you’re at the end of your paycheck and have no idea where it all went, it is imperative to write it all down.

Some questions to ask yourself to help you decide that items new status

  1. How many cups of coffee did you buy last month from your local coffee shop?
  2. How many times did you eat out when you could’ve eaten at home or brought your lunch to work?
  3. How many extra trips did you make to the store because you kept forgetting everything that’s on your list?
  4. What can I use to help me become more efficient with shopping?
  5. Am I planning out each purchase or impulse buying?
  6. Which items am I impulse buying and why?
  7. Am I buying when it is on sale?
  8. Am I buying mindlessly
  9. Am I actively and purposely searching and using discounts?
  10. Can it wait and for how long? Want, Need, Wishlist.
  11. What can I make at home instead of fast, ready and convenient?

Take a good look at your lifestyle and search for ways to stop wasting money how can you save money.

Remember, you will be tracking your purchases for the next three to six months and comparing it to before you created your itemized audit. 

Saving Money Is A Non-Negotiable Bill

If you are doing the Coupon and Sales Savings Challenge, then you know the monies saved will be placed into your savings account. You will not be spending a cent of it, unless it is for an emergency. 

$Saving Money Is A Non-Negotiable Bill. Bills are paid each month before doing anything else so treat saving money just like a bill. Determine how much you need to save each month and add it to your expenses. Choose a time to make the payment and deposit that amount just like to pay all your other bills. By saving a little bit  each month you’ll reach your financial goals. 

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I know these tips may sound simple, but they really can help even if it seems like you’re not making much of a difference, but the dollars will add up very quickly

It is usually the smallest tip we overlook that can throw off the whole system. 

Reward Programs for Saving Money On Every Purchase

Reward programs are the best way to save money on every item you purchase.  Every discount you can use will add up; before you know it, you will be closer to your savings goal.

Make a list of all the companies you shop from, even if it isn’t weekly. Include chain stores, corporations, online stores and even small companies, like your direct sales rep.

Find out which ones offer rewards and regular discounts. Maybe they have a 10% off once a month or get a free bag of dog/cat food after buying nine bags, maybe they offer a monthly subscription.

No matter what kind of rewards and incentives they have, write it down so that you can begin planning your purchases based around what they are offering and when.

Saving Money On Every Purchase Without Coupons

Another way to save money without coupons on food is to buy store brand. You can save a great deal on purchases when you buy the store brand. You will notice a difference in your bank account when you see how much you are saving. 

 If you do run across an item that you don’t like the quality of, you can always just switch back to the brand-name that you are used to. For everything else, continue saving money on items that you actually do like.

Even if you aren’t doing the #budgettakeover you can still save money in this saving money guide,

Use Rebate Apps to Save Money On Select Purchases

There are several apps you can put on your phone to use before and after shopping. Save money on everything from the grocery store, pharmacy items, clothing, and more.

These apps offer deals on things you are purchasing every single day. The great thing is, you can use several of these apps with the same receipt. Just scan your receipt, let it verify your purchases and you are all set. 

Here are a few that I use every single week, click each button to sign up and get started with getting back some of your money!

Buying household items, such as groceries and personal care, is one of the biggest expenses you will have especially if you have a large family like mine.

food shopping list. food shopping budget.
photo credit: Nunawwoofy (free digital photos)

To make matters worse the cost of food continues to rise we can’t control that which is why many people search for ways to cut down on food cost.

Combining sales and other discounts, coupons and rebates together will greatly reduce how much you spend. In the beginning, it will take up some time to get into the habit of actively putting together your shopping and purchases together in a way that you aren’t just spending, but you are saving too!

A Few Last Tips To Help You Increase Your Savings Efforts

A few items to help you get more out of saving your money is to invest in things that make it easy.

To help with getting your food to last longer, invest in things like a deep freezer, slow cooker, instant pot and rice cooker too. 

Invest in food containers that go from the freezer to microwave and right into the dishwasher. Meal planning, prep and portioning out food will increase the amount of food you have by at least 35% or more!

>What do you think about this money saving guide? What do you think about that exercise? Will you be trying out the exercise? If you do, I would love to hear about your experience with it, from the beginning and what your results are. Did I leave anything out? What else should people think about and consider? What are you doing that is different from the exercise given to help you with saving money? 

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