It is a very scary thought being the sole provider for my daughter, working on call without a guaranteed income coming in. I have read many books and scanned various articles on how to save money but most did not make enough of a difference or just didn’t apply to my current situation.
Don’t sacrifice or eliminate the things you love; just ration them
The one thing in the world that I did not want to give up (but was totally emptying my pockets) was coffee. I know many of you can relate to this expensive habit and my triple grande vanilla soy lattes, at over 5 bucks a pop twice a day were killing me. Solution? Make it at home. I don’t have a fancy espresso machine but if you brew a little regular coffee extra strong, use your own soy and regular sugar or flavour, it’s close enough! I went from $11 a day to around 82 cents a day for a savings of almost $150 per month. I was shocked.
Other money saving techniques:
Cook large one pot dinners, save some to take the following day for lunch and freeze the rest for another day. Never buy lunch at work. Bring your own and include snacks to resist the urge to buy a 2 dollar muffin. I Saved $140 a month! It was crazy how my coffee was costing more than my lunch!
Watch online movies for free.
I called the credit card company, asked to get a line of credit with a low interest rate. If you don’t qualify many will offer you the option of cutting your current card interest rate. I cut mine from 19 percent to 10. Not bad at all right?
I was physically writing down and adding up the amounts that I was spending on small daily things like coffee and I was completely amazed at how much it had added up.
I now make a detailed weekly budget broken down from my monthly budget and set aside cash for everything I will need for the week. I no longer carry my wallet with me, I only take my ID and the cash I need for the day. I rest assured knowing that the credit cards are set aside in case I need them, but knowing I can’t just whip them out on impulse. If an emergency does come up, for example my daughter had an emergency dental procedure that she wasn’t covered for, I logged it in my budget book and tried to make up for the cost later.
Vacations are expensive and definitely aren’t a regular tradition for us so now we have a “Mexico jar” in which we throw all of our spare change, couch coins that we find and left over money from the week into the jar. Just like I was amazed at how the coffee spending added up I was doubly amazed by the amount that adds up from spare change. Mexico here we come!
I’m still working on ways to cut costs (without having to resort to becoming one of those extreme couponers) and hopefully I will cut my spending in half. It’s an ongoing work in progress but the savings are my motivation and the payoff will be fantastic!