This is an older post that I’ve updated a little bit to reshare with you all now!
Over the past few years, David & I have encountered more than our fair share of financial issues.
There was that time we had to pull Maddie from part day preschool because our BAH didn’t get switched from Alaska Georiga and the Army was taking back $350 a month from us, even thought it was their mistake.
There was the time that David wrecked his bike (that we took out a loan for) and then bought another bike (because we can’t do just one vehicle).
We’ve had blown tires, car trouble, dog issues, etc etc. Between life, kids, and things that come up, we’ve learned how to save quite a bit of money monthly.
Some months we put that extra bit into savings, other months we splurge on things we’ve wanted/needed for a while.
But today I decided I’d share with you the simple ways we save money every month and hopefully they can help a few of you guys out as well.
A cable/internet combo bill around here runs $150-$200 depending on what extra channels you have. So there’s an easy cut right there! If you absolutely need cable, see if you can’t cut down on the channels to save a few bucks every month.
We have Netflix ($10 monthly).
We have Amazon Prime ($90 a year). – 2 day shipping + some free TV shows & lots of other good perks that you can read about here.
And we have Hulu Plus. ($8 monthly). Sign up here & we both get two weeks free (if I’m not mistaken) I know you get at least a week free trial, so what’s the harm?!
-Netflix updates by the Season. Wanna watch Sons of Anarchy from the beginning? Gilmore Girls? FRIENDS? Netflix is the way to go! You can even set up profiles for everyone! I have one, David has one & the kids have one that takes them straight to Netflix Kids meaning no chance of them watching some adults TV show.
-Hulu adds shows daily. Shows that come on cable on Tuesday night are on Hulu Wednesday night. We’re not missing out on any of our shows and Hulu also has TONS of movies & series on there.
So where as some people pay $150-$200 a month, we pay $54 for internet and then $16 a month for Hulu + Netflix.
I don’t know about you, but $70 is a much better number than $150-$200 (and some people pay for Netflix/Hulu ON TOP of that cable/internet bill).
David just recently switched back to a smart phone. He just had a basic flip phone. Yup, you read that right. He had a flip phone. It cost us $15 from Walmart and he’s on no contract with AT&T.
I had an Iphone.
Our phone bill was $90 a month.
We have unlimited texts, tons of rollover minutes because we never really talk on the phone, the lowest minute plan they offer (which I think is like 700 minutes) and I dropped my unlimited data (I was grandfathered into it once AT&T took that option off the table) to the lowest data plan they offer because it was cheaper than keeping my unlimited plan.
Two smart phones with shared date, minutes & texts before we made the switch was costing us almost $200 a month. It was like $190 something. So we’re saving about $100 a month just by changing up our phone plans.
We are HUGE thrift store fans! Our home decor comes from thrift stores, our clothes too, random things – thrift stores are the way to go and MUCH cheaper! I needed shelves for our living room, Target had some for $24 for two mini ones.
I managed to snag up two mini ones from the local thrift store for $6. Plus a can of paint to paint them the color I wanted ($4). $10 beats $24! And I had leftover paint to use on other things.
Kids clothes get outgrow SO quickly that we usually check Goodwill and local thrift shops for them even over stores like Once Upon a Child.
Shoes & jackets & coats are sometimes thrifted, sometimes new. Sometimes we’ll go ahead and buy new if we find good ones that will last for a while and sometimes we’ll grab up some cheap ones still in great shape from thrift stores.
Our clothes — same. Sales racks, thrift stores! I hate paying full price for anything.
And then there are sites like thredUP that is basically one big consignment shop for Women & Kids (shoes, purses, clothes, etc etc). You can also SELL too!
Groupon is another great site. It’s how I usually buy my Starbucks (because we all know that I’m a junkie). You can snag deals like $10 Starbucks card for $5! – That’s a BOGO, people!
Bing.com is another! David uses it to search and he earns points just by searching! Those points he later redeems for things like Amazon gift cards that he then turns around and uses to buy the GoPro headset he wants, etc etc. (he saved up and ended up gettings his $13 headset for $1.86!)
There’s about a bajillion more, but these are just some that we use. So, find some that work for you and dive in.
Groceries and other household essentials
When it comes to grocery shopping, that’s probably the one things we’re not cheap/skimpy on.
We go through a lot of food, snacks, toilet paper, pet food, etc etc.
I shop at the commissary (on base) for most of our food.
Meal planning definitely helps and keeps me from over shopping.
I don’t really coupon often but that does help if you can manage to not buy everything just because you have a coupon for it (I’m guilty of that).
Like I said, meal planning does help. It gives me an idea of what I’ll need for the next 2 weeks to make meals with.
And we shop at Sam’s Club. I buy some of our snacks from here (gummies for the kids, mini chip bags for packed lunches, random things like that), I buy our cleaning wipes from here (generic), dish soap tabs & laundry detergent as well as ground turkey & chicken.
David & I spent a day writing down prices at the commissary & then another writing down Sam’s ?Club prices so we could compare them. A lot of things ended up being cheaper for us at the commissary but I know not everyone has access to a commissary like we do, so my best advice is to do like we did and just compare prices store to store.
We have three checking accounts set up
One : David’s account. I transfer over an “allowance” every payday for him and that’s what he uses for gas in his bike, food, drinks, etc etc so that I don’t get any surprises from the bank account because he forgot to tell me about having to grab lunch here or there or what not. He used to just keep receipts for me to look through, but they get lost easily and this way, he can just log in and check his balance and keep up with how much he’s spent here and there.
Two: The bill account. I’ve set up our bills to come from this account so that I can transfer money over to it and not have to worry about forgetting that a certain bill still has to clear in another 4/5 days because it’s already deducted and in the other account.
I’ve set up our bills so that just about the same amount comes from the first of the month paycheck as it does from the mid month paycheck so that we have the same amount of spending money leftover each pay period.
Three: The regular account. It’s the main account that all the money goes into before I split it out to where it needs to be.
The leftover money is what we live on until whenever, what I use for groceries, gas, kid stuff, etc etc.
We have a fourth account for savings and just transfer money over as we go.
Overall, my best advice is to sit down, write up a budget, factor in everything you pay/buy monthly, and just see what you can get paid off, what you can cut down on, what you don’t even really use, etc etc and go from there.
I hope these tips help you the way they’ve helped us!
Good luck and happy saving!