small ways to save money

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between the two of us, james is definitely the better saver. I’ve always been good at saving up for big things, but my achilles heel are the every day, little purchases that quickly add up. $5 for coffee here, $5 for snacks there…and just like that, $100 has gone out the window. with the new year, james & I have doubled down on making sure we know exactly where our money’s going, so we’ve worked hard on cutting out little expenses here & there. here are the small ways we’ve found to save money.

coffee | we’re both big coffee drinkers, so our starbucks bill gets massive quickly. we’ve always brewed our own coffee at home, but when we were lazy or just didn’t make the time to prepare our tumblers in the morning, it was all too easy to stop by the drive through on the way in to work. we now make sure we give ourselves time to prepare our own coffee in the morning by getting up 10 minutes earlier. james’ work provides free coffee during the day, so he’s been refilling in-house. as for me, I limit myself to my 16 oz. tumbler in the morning and only grab coffee from outside on saturday mornings on my way in to my 8 a.m. class when I really need that espresso.

eating out | we actually pack our lunch most days, but again, it was all too easy to opt for delivery on busy, stressful days. the thing is, those busy, stressful days come around often. to prevent us from boxing ourselves in a corner, we now pack our lunches the night before so that in the morning, there’s no excuse – we just grab them & go. we also try to limit eating out to when it’s intentional, such as a dinner we’ve scheduled and planned out together or a dinner out with friends, so that the time & money are well spent.

groceries | we would buy indiscriminately in bulk and then find ourselves throwing out a lot of things that had gone bad. it’s not just money wasted; there are too many people going without or going with not enough for us to regularly be throwing away spoiled food. now we buy our groceries every four days, and we’re intentional about using what we have in the fridge before heading out to buy more. making a weekly meal plan has been great for that. we also make a list of what we need before we go to the store & we try not to shop when we’re hungry, which helps in cutting down on a lot of unnecessary purchases.

subscriptions | we cut down on a lot of our subscriptions. I narrowed my magazine subscriptions to just one. I also unsubscribed from a whole bunch of email lists. I’m still amazed at how much less stressful my inbox is that it’s no longer flooded by every type of email. I also unsubscribed from other “membership” services and kept just one. james & I are news junkies, so we signed up for a new york times digital subscription but we share just the one account and we used my student email address to avail of the economically friendly student rate. we kept our netflix streaming & hulu plus subscriptions, but we rarely go out to see movies, so we felt it was a justified expense.

avoiding impulse purchases | this, too, has to do with just sticking to lists, as well as avoiding certain store sections (cough, target beauty section, cough) or certain stores in general (cough, target, cough). “just looking” always gets you in trouble, so now I try to get in & out as quickly as possible before something catches my eye.

how do you save money?

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