How Skilled Are You at Saving Money?
Take the Smart Saver Quiz to find out!
How many of these money-saving tips do you use? Give yourself one point for every item that you already do!
1. Eat Breakfast! You’ll eat less the rest of the day and you’ll be more productive too.
2. Bring your lunch to work. If you want to go out to lunch sometimes, make it just once a week. Friday is good for that as you can look forward to it all week.
3. Skip the coffee shop or limit it to once a week. Drink your coffee at home or in the car on the way to work. Again if you have it just once a week it’s more special.
4. Give up smoking. Talk to your doctor about ways to help you do this. It saves you a ton of money and it could also save your life. Give yourself a point if you are trying or if you don’t smoke now.
5. Buy clothes on sale. Look for high quality items that mix and match with things you already have. Build your work wardrobe around basic pieces in classic colors.
6. Drive your car as long as possible before getting a different one. Repairs are a lot cheaper than taking on new debt with a car loan. We usually get 10 years out of our vehicles. We are not embarrassed by this. If someone else wants to throw their money away on a new car every 2 years, that’s their problem. If you use public transportation you can do fine with one car instead of two. That saves not only on the price of the car, its repairs, and gas, but also cuts your insurance quite a bit.
7. Cook at home as much as possible. Keep some cooked meals in the freezer to microwave when you are short on time or are too tired. It’s easy to make these: just make twice as much as you need for a meal and freeze the extra servings. You’ll get a nice selection in the freezer pretty quickly.
8. Choose inexpensive hobbies. Phase out any expensive ones you have–or at least do them less often. Give yourself a point if you already have a low-cost hobby.
9. Entertain for less. Try potlucks and progressive dinners. Consider co-hosting a party with another couple to share expenses and work! Make some get-togethers BYOB. Give yourself a point if you have a good repertoire of inexpensive recipes that look and taste great.
10. Trade babysitting with another family that has kids about the same age as yours.
11. Take care of your clothes that you use for work. Take them off when you get home and change into comfortable clothes that you can wear for cooking. A grease stain on an old shirt is better than on a beautiful silk blouse. Get a good stain removal guide so you can keep your good clothes looking good as long as possible.
12. Never waste food. It’s like throwing money down the drain. Know what’s in your refrigerator and use produce in time. Leftovers make great lunches or late-night snacks. Or freeze them to use later. Give yourself a point if you almost never waste food.
13. Choose inexpensive entertainment. Playing with the kids is often more valuable than taking them to expensive places. Free museums, concerts, parks, etc.are fun as well as educational.
14. Reduce your television costs. Stop the cable service and consider using Netflix as well as shows you can see online. Many people get their entertainment and news online these days anyway.
15. Take up walking, bicycling, and/or hiking for exercise. Hiking is good for the whole family and gets the kids away from all those screens! Explore your local parks for good places to hike before taking on state parks and national parks. Get the kids to photograph things they see on the hikes. They can look at the photos again and again to enjoy it.
16. Grow something! Get your thumb a little green. You can find plenty of information online and you can learn as you go. Growing some of your vegetables can save on your grocery bills while bringing you the freshest tastiest veggies ever!
17. Run the dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer only when they are full. Use cold water on all your clothes except the whites. We use warm water only for whites and they always look good.
18. Keep kids’ activity costs down. Talk to other parents before you sign up to get a carpool going. Limit each child’s participation to one activity per season. Organize a uniform swap with other parents.
19. Shop around for car insurance. You can save a bundle by doing this.
20. Shop garage sales for kids’ play clothes. These are dirt cheap at yard sales, etc. and you won’t feel bad when they rip out the knees or get a bad stain.
21. Turn off extra lights and make sure you have energy-saving bulbs.
22. Buy Energy Saver appliances when you need to replace one.
23. Cut back on your alcohol consumption. Save it for the weekends or when you have friends over.
24. Drink more water. Cut out soda or limit it to the weekends. It’s healthier and cheaper to drink water.
25. Drink more tea. Just about any tea is good for you and some people say you can count a glass of tea as a serving of vegetables. Now that’s a deal. If you are a coffee drinker, try to have at least one cup of tea a day. It’s inexpensive and you can easily bring a tea bag with you wherever you go. Just pop one in a zip-top bag to keep it clean and handy.
26. Learn to use a needle and thread. You can put a button back on, fix a hem, and make minor repairs without a sewing machine. Think of all those clothes that can actually be worn again!
27. Make your shoes last longer. Don’t wear the same pair every day as it will get worn out faster. Alternate with another pair and you will get 1/3 more wear out of each pair. Clean and polish your shoes periodically to keep them in good shape too. (This does not apply to kids’ shoes because they outgrow shoes so quickly.)
28. Focus on your goals to avoid peer pressure to spend. Have an answer ready when a friend wants you to do something expensive with them. You can say, “I can’t; I’m saving up for ________.” Or “I’m on a money diet this month.” Whatever. Or you can find friends that spend money more like you do.
29. Take care of your teeth. Dental work is expensive and toothpaste is cheap. Also if you get gum disease it can weaken your heart.
30. Cut your utility bills by $700-800 every year. It’s not difficult and you can see a real difference from your efforts. Click here to see 5 ways to save big on utility bills that most people don’t know about. They include using insulated drapes, a water saving shower head, and a pressure cooker. Give yourself a point if you use any of these.
These are not the only ways to save money of course, but they are a good place to start. Keep track of what you are saving and consider putting that amount into a savings account. That way you won’t be so tempted to spend it on something else. These savings are an important cushion for unexpected expenses.
How did you score?
25-30 You’re a pro! Watch that savings account grow!
20-25 You are starting to save some serious cash.
15-20 You are a trend setter and have friends who think like you about money.
10-15 You are making good progress and are on your way to saving big time.
5-10 You are a newbie, but moving in the right direction. Just keep adding!
0-5 How did you find this blog? Just kidding. You have come to the right place!
How did you do?
Which tips do you want to start? Do you have any money-saving tips that you can share? Please put them in the comments section below!