One of the biggest stresses can be the worry over money. As the holiday season approaches, many people may find themselves spending money that they don’t have or charging things that they shouldn’t. When I decided to stay at home with my first son six years ago, I learned some helpful tips on saving money. I still practice these today even though money is not as tight as it once was. I still think these are great ways to save throughout the year.
1. Make coffee at home. Don’t get me wrong, I love Starbucks as much as the next coffee addict but if you are accustomed to buying your coffee daily or even a few times a week, you can save a substantial amount of cash by simply investing in a small coffee maker for your home or office. Even the most frequent café customers will start to appreciate a steaming cup of coffee while they read the weekend paper with the convenience of never having to leave their home. If you don’t drink coffee but like an afternoon soda, buy cases from the store and bring a can to work. If you are buying it from a vending machine, even 50 cents a day can add up over a month or year. Put the money that you save in a container for your vacation fund. You’ll be surprised at how fast it grows! (If you can quit the caffeine, it is even better for your health and wallet but that is just not something that I am able to do.)
2. Pack a lunch instead of buying one. This not only will save you $5-$15 a day, it is healthier for you. It takes more time and planning but you can load up on fresh fruits, vegetables, and enough protein to keep your body functioning at its best.
3. Don’t buy gifts just to give them. I used to be very guilty of this one. It was Christmas so I would buy my Dad the shirt that he would never wear or my husband the book that he would never read, just to have something to put under the tree. Years ago, I started making gifts for people that I could never quite decide what to buy for. Make a small scrapbook that illustrate great memories or frame a favorite picture. I can tell you that gifts that were made for me are treasured more than even the most expensive ones.