10 essential tips for saving money

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Let’s face it: saving money and pinching pennies is not glamorous. But choosing to live a thrifty, frugal lifestyle can pay off in more than dollars and cents – it helps you prioritize where you spend your money, how you spend your money, and that trickles down through your entire household. There are a million ways to save a little here and a little there, but here are our top 10 ways to keep your pennies without feeling the pinch.

  1. Check in with your checking account. Keep track of what you are spending and where. When my best friend was pregnant, the only thing that kept her morning sickness away was mint frappe chino from Starbucks. She was shocked to see how much she had spent on those frothy, chilly treats when she checked her bank account at the end of the month and saw that Starbucks had earned $60! She said she would never have recognized the build up of that spending unless she saw it in black and white.
  2. Give yourself a little budget. Allot $10 or $20 to just yourself every week for whatever you want. This adds some fun to your month, allows for eating lunch out one day, a movie ticket, or an impulse buy at Target.
  3. Challenge yourself with “No Spend Days.” Decide that there are days in your week when you will not spend even a penny on anything. See how many of these No Spend Days you can do each week. Pro Tip: The easiest way to successful No Spend Days is to stay out of all stores on those days!
  4. Eat out of your pantry! Once a month for a whole week, make your meals out of the ingredients you have on hand in your pantry and freezer. This is a great way to “rotate” your pantry and freezer and use up items before they expire. Pro Tip: It’s easy to eat out of your pantry during garden season!
  5. Time to brown bag it: packing your own lunch can save you $50 a week or more, depending on how often you eat out for lunch. Don’t overthink this, and get inspired by your lunches Mom packed when you were a kid. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pretzel sticks, even cheese and crackers will work. Check out our blog post on Brown Bagging It for more inspiration. Or, you could pack leftovers.
  6. Speaking of leftovers – they can save you a lot of money just by being there. You’ve already spent the money on groceries and made the food, so eating your leftovers is like doubling your return on that investment! Leftovers you throw away are a waste of time and money! So eat them up!
  7. Speaking of cooking: make your crockpot your best friend. Planning ahead with a crock pot will help keep you from eating out. Just don’t forget to plug it in when you “set it and forget it.” Ooops. Check out our Pinterest board of crockpot recipes for inspiration.
  8. Say goodbye to cable. This is incredibly tough to do at first, believe me. When I lost my job last year, the first luxury to go was cable. With our Roku and subscriptions to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, we don’t miss cable at all.
  9. Keep snacks in your car. Even if I ate lunch, I would catch myself stopping through the drive thru on the way home from work for a snack. Little bags of almonds in my car help me skip the fries and the cost.
  10. Are you ready for this? ONLY DRINK WATER. Have you ever gone to your favorite pizza place and ordered the $25 two-pies-and-dessert deal only to get a $40 bill? The cost of soda when eating out is astronomical, and the cost of drinking soda at home isn’t a whole lot better. Water is good for you, it’s free or very cheap, and it isn’t loaded with sugar and caffeine. Need some flavor in your life? Add a slice of lemon. Cheaper AND healthier? Sounds like a winner.

We’re always here to help you reach your financial goals! Call us at Painesville Credit Union at 440-352-8974 to set up a financial counseling session, open a savings account, or finance your dream car or house!

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Making Life a Little Better is a blog by Painesville Community Credit Union. We're here to help you borrow and save money, plan for your family's future, and find the best chili recipe in Ohio (and maybe the world). Learn more about Painesville Community Credit Union here: www.painesvillecu.org.

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