I don’t budget. Instead, I am acutely aware of my spending every single day. Whether I’m grocery shopping, out with my family or hanging out at home, I try my best to make choices that will save money. And by doing that every single day, you absolutely will see your bank account grow. Here are 15 ways to save money in everyday life.
Do you want to get Starbucks (or any other splurge) for free…every single day?! I’m talking un-budgeted, completely extra money in your pocket each and every day.
If you’d like to have an extra $5-$100 EVERY DAY to spend on fun stuff for yourself and your family, keep reading…
I don’t purchase Starbucks with our family money, but instead find unique ways to make extra money every day. My coffee costs $3.19/day, so I strive to make at least that per day in an off-the-wall way. (Usually I end up making more!) Below are five unique ways to make money every single day!
We’ve all been there: bills are due, things around the house keep breaking, a child gets sick, we of course need to eat, and basically the expenses just don’t stop rolling in.
I would say our “low” point was right after our first daughter was born (this was about four years ago). I had quit my full-time job when she was born and was just starting to break into freelancing. My husband was working for himself in construction and remodeling. We had just gotten back from a week-long family reunion (that my parents so graciously paid for or else we would not have been there) which meant my husband missed an entire week of work. We had savings, but for a few months, we were forced to make so many withdrawals that we were practically down to nothing.
I hated that feeling. Every day I woke up with a pit in my stomach. We lived in a very, very modest house (we purchased our first home for less than $150K), we ate pasta with sauteed onions for dinner multiple times per week, we didn’t go out to eat, and we by no means went shopping for fun. We were on a super tight budget, and even then we were still just scraping by.
Can anyone else relate to this?
Stressing about money sucks, period. And heck, I’ll say it, being on a tight budget sucks, too!
Fast-forward four years later (now), and we’ve completely changed our situation. I can honestly say that I haven’t been stressed about money (in that sense) in a while, and it feels incredible. I’m sleeping better, I’m happier and have a healthier outlook on life, my relationship with my husband is better than ever, and I’m truly enjoying life.
Want to know what I did to stop stressing about money? Grab a cup of coffee, this one’s a long one…
John and I are just your average couple. We both work full-time with average salaries. We have our own side businesses. John works in construction and gets roughly one job per month. I am a freelance writer and blogger, making between $500-$3,000 extra per month (you can read my income reports here). We’re not unlike any other couple or family that I’ve met. We have kids, we have bills, and we work hard.
However, John and I have a big goal to become millionaires at some point in our lives (the sooner, the better). Here is our four-step plan on how to become a millionaire. As a disclaimer, this would be a “perfect” scenario. I know life can, and most likely will, throw us curveballs that will set us back. One of us might get laid off, we might have a medical emergency. You can’t predict the future; but I think it’s always good to have a plan and goals in mind 😉
Valentine’s Day is just a few weeks away! I will admit that I love this holiday. Not for the roses or the gifts, but because it’s a day to profess my love to my husband. Sure, I do this everyday, but it just feels extra-special on Valentine’s Day.
However, the idea of spending money on a silly holiday is not my cup of tea, so I try to find little ways to show romance on Valentine’s Day without spending a fortune. Here are my ideas for this year – I hope you’re able to use a few of them, too!
8 Ideas for Valentine’s Day on a Budget
Breakfast in bed
Who says you have to wait until dinner to do something special for your love? I know for a fact I would win “Wife of the Year” if I made breakfast in bed for my husband, so this year, I will try my best to do that 🙂 A few yummy ideas include heart-shaped waffles or pancakes (add some red food coloring or make them red velvet flavored!), these strawberries and cream doughnuts, or a red fruit platter (strawberries, raspberries, watermelon) and heart-shaped bacon (fold the bacon into a heart and bake in the oven).
Be a helping hand for the day
We have two little girls, and I’ll be the first to admit that I serve them all day and make my husband fend for himself. Since Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, I plan to serve him all day and meet his needs. This will be small things – such as taking out the trash for him (his chore), getting him his coffee in the morning and asking him if he needs anything while I’m up. I know, I know, this is probably stuff I should be doing anyways. But, with young kids, I will admit that I don’t do these things as often as I should. Maybe Valentine’s Day will jump-start a good habit for me.
Give a good, spa-like massage
My husband loves when I give him a massage. Because of this, I do try and give him one a few times a week, but he’s lucky if they last more than five minutes. On Valentine’s Day, I plan on creating a spa-like experience for him in our bedroom: candles, soft music playing, lotion, etc. I’ll also bring in a timer and give him a full, 30-minute massage this time.
Start a project together
One of the best ways to bond with your husband is to do something together, side by side. Recently, my husband and I have painted our kitchen nook table white and we did a puzzle together. Think of a project to start with your husband and begin it on Valentine’s Day!
Cook dinner together
Right after we had our first baby, we started Friday Night Date Night where we made dinner together after our daughter went to sleep. However, three years later and with another baby in the mix, this has slowly fizzled out of our routine. For Valentine’s Day this year, the main thing I want to do is make dinner together after the kids go to bed, just like old times. I’m thinking my husband will grill the steak and I’ll make a few sides (a favorite of mine is chopped Brussels sprouts sauteed with olive oil and about 1/4 cup of pesto!).
Write a love letter
Ok, this is not something I can see myself doing, but I thought I’d throw it out there in case it helps any of you! Write your husband a love letter telling him how much you appreciate him and love him. Even though I would probably never do this, I can’t say I wouldn’t be completely blown away if my husband did this for me! (Hmmm, perhaps I should write him one!)
Go on a long walk, hand in hand
Late in the morning or early in the evening, grab your honey and head out for a walk, weather permitted. You can walk around your neighborhood or drive to a local park or nature preserve. My husband and I have come up with some of our best ideas while walking and chatting side by side.
Talk about your goals for your relationship
These types of conversations are my absolute favorite. Ask your husband first what he would like to see more of in 2016. Then, think about areas you’d like to see your relationship progress. Perhaps you want to run a marathon together or take an epic summer vacation. Or, maybe you just want to make little changes that will improve your relationship, such as limiting the amount of time you spend in front of technology or making sure Date Night actually happens. My most favorite part of being married is that we get to do life together, and I don’t ever want to stop doing life with John. This year, our huge goal is to purchase a rental property. But, I’d be curious to see what else he would like to see us do!
Valentine’s Day really does not have to be about expensive gifts and fancy meals out, but it also doesn’t have to be completely skipped altogether. This year, enjoy the holiday for what it is by showing your spouse just how much they mean to you without having to break your budget.
What are you planning this year for Valentine’s Day?!
Have you set your goals for the New Year yet? While I’m continually setting goals, there is something exciting about a New Year upon us. A fresh start, a new beginning, a change of pace. While my goals for this next year are a tad simpler than in years’ past, there’s one goal my husband and I both are going to enact into our daily lives, and that’s saving money.
My husband and I are naturally savers, but the last half of this year has really gotten the best of us. We’re back into our weekly Starbucks habit, I haven’t budgeted for a grocery store trip in months and I’ve impulse bought more times than I’d care to admit. Thankfully, none of these bad habits have resulted in debt. But they have resulted in us having significantly less in savings than we could have had.
You live and learn—so there’s no point in rehashing all that we did wrong. Instead, we’re focusing on the future and what we can change in order to save more money.
Here are 8 easy ways we plan to save money in 2016.
Happy Thanksgiving Eve, everyone!
I’ve been thinking recently a lot about the “why” behind doing what I do. For any new readers, I am a wife and mom to two toddler girls, I work full-time, I freelance write and I blog. Not to mention cleaning the house, running errands and all that. To be honest, I don’t feel like it’s too much, but I do have very little downtime. When I’m home, I’m normally doing something productive (I count playing with my kids as productive, haha) except after 9:00 pm. Then, I watch a show with John and we go to sleep. I really love my life, but the busyness of it all recently got me asking “Why?
Christmas Can Be Merry and Bright, Even if Your Wallet is Light
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and the high street merchants and online retailers couldn’t be happier. For people who are financially strapped, though, the coming Yule season isn’t necessarily such a cheering prospect. At this time of year more than any other, the pressure to spend on gifts and festivities is sometimes overwhelming. But you can have a joyful Christmas even if you’re short on cash.
What you can do to make the season brighter?
Meanwhile here you are, trying to make merry with a light wallet. A festive Christmas on a limited budget requires a combination of practicality and creativity to be sure. There are of course the obvious practical strategies such as cutting costs wherever feasible. You can save money on gas, for instance, simply by doing most of your shopping online. But if you just love the experience of shopping at a brick-and-mortar store, keep in mind that many retailers offer fuel promotions. Monitor the Web and your local media for the latest deals. There are many other ways to save as well, which include choosing and using credit cards wisely.
Cold weather is upon us! Are you looking for some free activities to keep your kids busy during the winter? As a mother of three little girls, if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that bored kids = crazy kids and a frustrated mom! This year, I’m making it a point to keep them busy for the sake of ALL of our sanity!
We just moved in three weeks ago, but there is already a long list of items that John and I want to update on our home. For any new readers, John is a general contractor/handyman. He owned his own handyman company here in Charlotte and he worked for himself when we lived in Phoenix as a sort of jack-of-all-trades. While I’m lucky that John can do a decent amount of updates himself, he can’t do everything and there are some areas where we’ll need to hire out (coughelecticalworkcough).
So, here’s what we’re planning on doing to our home over the next few years.
New House Remodel Checklist
Paint the entryway. This is something John will, thankfully, do on his own. The walls were a yellowy color (which you can see in the photo) and I wanted them to be a blue/grey like we had in our rental house. Yeah, the color I chose was a LOT darker and more blue than it looked in the store. Unfortunately, we purchased 5 gallons of this color and most likely won’t use any of it. We bought samples of two other colors this past weekend (both natural tans) that I hope will look good. John’s deadline for this project is the end of October (when my parent’s are visiting!). I’ll make sure to post an update once this is done.
Update: We chose a color and John painted over the blue!! Yay! The entryway looks good now, but we still have a long way to go. The ceilings are super high by the front door (which you can’t see), plus we’ll need to paint the upstairs foyer because all those walls are connected.
Fix the gas stove. We have a gas stove that I actually really like even though I thought I’d hate it. Unfortunately, about a week ago the electrical part blew out. John tried fixing it but just can’t get to the bottom of the problem. If you turn the stove on, gas comes out but it doesn’t light. So for now we’re using a lighter to light it when we need to cook. My dad might be able to fix this problem, but if not we will rely on Contractor Connection to hook us up with someone who can get the job done. Contractor Connection connects consumers to quality professionals for any of your home remodeling needs. Estimates are free and quality is guaranteed. You can’t beat that, especially for people like us who are new to the area.
Remodel the kitchen. This is a project that will be done within the next 2-3 years. Kitchen remodels are expensive and we need to save money before diving into this project. Luckily, I do like the layout of the kitchen, so all of the changes will be strictly cosmetic. We want to change the back splash, add granite countertops, remove the wallpaper, repaint the kitchen, and get new appliances (everything except the fridge). John can do some of the work (wallpaper, painting, and installing new appliances), but the rest we’ll have to hire out. While John technically could do it by himself, he really does not have the time with working FT and having the kids. I do not want to live in a construction zone (especially in the kitchen!) for any longer than I have to.
If you are also in need of a kitchen remodel, call Contractor Connection to get a free quote. Preferred contractors come with a 3-year workmanship warranty.
Paint every other area of the house. The paint colors in here aren’t necessarily bad, but they’re not our taste. Eventually, this whole house will be painted. The entryway is first on the list because the yellowy color was just something that I couldn’t get on board with. Everything else will be completed within two years, hopefully. Again, John will do all of the painting but it’s just a matter of finding the time.
Furnish the house. Does this count as remodeling? I’m saying “yes” simply because it could probably cost us as much as a kitchen remodel (just kidding, sort of). Our house is furnished for the most part, with the exception of three rooms: the formal living area, the bedroom attached to the master, and the screened in porch. The screened in porch is our first priority and the only reason we don’t have it furnished now is because it’s really hard to find patio furniture this time of year in Charlotte. We will probably order something online from Home Depot within the next few weeks, though. Next up will be the formal living room. I want a simple couch, a rug and a coffee table. Finally, we’re turning the room attached to the master into a media room. The homeowner before us used this room as an office, but it has a tiny tiny window, is far from the rest of the house and there’s already a room I can use as an office downstairs (plus let’s be real, I work on the couch). So, after much debacle on what to do with that room, we finally agreed on a media room. Realistically, we probably won’t furnish this for 3-5 years as it’s definitely not a priority.
Redo the flooring. The carpet is brand new – yay! And I’m a weirdo who actually likes carpet in the bedrooms. It’s cozier to me and I kind of like vacuuming. The rest of the house is light hardwoods. While I don’t mind them, I prefer dark hardwood floors. This is something John can hopefully refinish instead of replace, which would save us a ton of money.
How to Save Money on Home Improvements
Insource whatever you can. Small projects and things like painting can normally be done by yourself. There’s no need to hire someone to do something you can do on your own, especially if you’re on a budget.
Outsource when needed and do so strategically. John worked in the construction business for more than 15 years and we can both tell you that it is HARD to find good, quality work. There are many contractors out there who will take significantly longer on a project than they originally told you, or they just won’t show up one day, or they’ll end up charging you a lot more than you originally thought. It can be a mess. If you have to outsource, interview a good amount of potential candidates before deciding. Ask friends and neighbors for referrals and use trusted sites like Contractor Connection to find the right contractor for the job.
Save up money and pay in cash. Unless the project is absolutely necessary (such as flood damage, mold, a foundation issue, etc), save up for it and pay in cash. John and I are currently rebuilding our emergency fund. Once that’s complete, we will save up for our remodeling projects. Going into debt for granite counters or new furniture is never a good idea. And if you’ve been around my blog for a while, you know I’m all about enjoying life! However, that doesn’t mean financing non-necessities that really won’t add that much happiness to your life.
In your current home, what is it that you want to update?!
This post was sponsored by Contractor Connection. However, all opinions expressed are my own. Thank you for supporting the frugal millionaire blog through posts like these!