updated - April 5, 2020 Sunday EDT
If you're constantly strapped for cash, wondering where all your money went and wishing you could do more, then you need to change your plan. Of course, telling yourself you're going to save money isn't always easy. Luckily, we've got you covered. Here are seven simple ways to save money each month.
Plan your meals for the entire week
Planning your meals for the entire week not only saves money, but it can lead to healthier eating habits as well.
Cooking your food at home can especially save you money as it allows you to buy in bulk and restaurants (aka food that's cooked for you) are typically more money than a meal you cook for yourself. This practice can also save you time as you can cook your meals one to three times a week as opposed to cooking every morning and evening or driving somewhere for lunch.
Cooking at home saves you money and you know exactly what you're putting in your body.
Pick up a side hustle
If you're not burned out from your job and also don't have another way to make more money (perhaps you're on salary), then picking up a side hustle can give you a few extra hundred dollars or more a month. Your side hustle can even be a passion project, such as writing or doing comedy gigs at clubs. Or it could be mowing lawns and shoveling snow on the weekends.
Cut back on monthly payments and subscriptions
Just as fast as we started saving money by cutting cable, the streaming wars appeared. Our favorite movies and TV shows are changing companies and there seems to be a new streaming service every month. While we'd all like to subscribe to every single one, it's not practical when trying to save money.
The solution: Cut back on monthly payments and subscriptions. Figure out bills you actually don't need, disable them, and move on.
Electricity providers are another department you should look into. Are you getting the best deal on your electricity plan? Compare your options with iSelect. There's no reason you can't save money on your electricity bill, but you do need to take action with research and making a switch.
Budget your rewards/entertainment
Everyone's savings situation is different. Some people can't afford to eat out once a week or a month. Others can cut back and save money by eliminating two restaurant days a week, as opposed to eating at a restaurant five days a week.
While certain situations call for drastic measures, mental health is important and it's vital to treat yourself from time to time-just make sure you're smart about it. You're allowed to go to the movies, but make sure to create a monthly movie budget. The same applies to clothes, eating out, and other entertainment options.
Take advantage of cashback rewards
While there are pros and cons to using credit cards, capitalizing on rewards can put money back in your pocket. As long as you don't overspend and stick to your budget, you can actually receive money for your everyday and monthly purchases.
There are even some banks that offer cash back services with debit cards.
Above all else, look for deals and save money on items you typically purchase.
Save money with solar panels
This method isn't for everyone. However, as NerdWallet states, "Consider solar if you have a high utility bill, live in a prime location and qualify for tax breaks or other savings."
By incorporating solar panels in Arizona, you can save money on your bills and help the environment. Lowering your utility bill is a great way to cut back, and tax rebates and incentives can really help out come tax season.
Learn to say "no" and stick to your budget
Only you know what you can afford. Your friends and family members should understand your financial situation, but it's up to you to have discipline and stick to your budget. Saying yes to every outing and expense is the opposite of cutting back and saving, and it can lead to a downward spiral that wrecks your finances.
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