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I have been known to squeeze my pennies so hard that they squeak – or so my mom teases me. I love a good bargain and getting a great deal. That means I have to have strategies to ensure that I’m not just buying because I’m hungry, but that I’m really getting a good deal on what we need. I will share 5 of the simple things I do to save money on a weekly basis.
1. Pay For Your Groceries With Cash
For some reason, paying for things with cash seems more painful to me than swiping my credit card. Therefore, if I use cash, I’m less likely to overspend or overbuy because my money will run out of my wallet. I take out our monthly grocery money at the beginning of each month and keep track of how much I have left before I go shopping.
2. Develop an Envelope System
The envelope system is a method taught by many financial planning experts. The process is simple. You develop the categories of spending for the month and then physically put the cash for those categories into the envelopes. When the money is gone, you are done spending or have to take from another envelope.
Early on in our marriage, we set up an envelope system. Over the years some aspects of this have worked really well and we’ve gotten lazy in other areas, but we have an envelope system for groceries. At the beginning of the month, I withdraw the allotted amount of the budget for our groceries and then that goes into my envelope for groceries.
This process started out of necessity as we lived 3 hours from a town with more than a tiny grocery store with imported produce passed it’s prime. So, we made a monthly trip to town and stocked up at Costco and the grocery store. I knew exactly how much cash I had left for groceries for the month just by looking inside my wallet. This encouraged me to develop a very consistent grocery list process every month before we went to town.
I now live close to many grocery opportunities, but I still withdraw the grocery money at the beginning of each month. If I don’t have cash left at the end of the month, then I have to re-evaluate where that money is coming from. I love this wallet from Amazon because it has dividers that can be used for your envelope categories!
3. Take Time to Plan a Menu and Create a Shopping List
If you want to make the most of the money in your wallet or envelope, you need to have an accurate list of the things that you need to purchase. If you wander through the grocery store with an empty stomach and no list, you will likely come out with junk food for right now, but not the right things to get you through the week.
I like to sit down on the first day of the month and make my grocery list. I know there are certain stores that have better prices than others and I list those items by store. Otherwise, I make my list by dry goods, canned, fresh, frozen, dairy and misc. Miscellaneous includes toilet paper, soap, cat food, etc. This is what works for me. Find a way to create your list that will help you find the items in the store so your shopping time is minimized.
While you are creating your grocery list, take some time to look at your calendar to make sure that you have noted special occasions that you might need a card, gift or special ingredients for a cake. Spending less money also includes making sure that your shopping trips are planned wisely.
I had a friend, many years ago, who would call me in the afternoon, wondering what she was going to make for supper. Once she had that figured out, she would drive to the store to purchase the items for the meal. It never occurred to her to buy enough of the items for three meals and perhaps plan out her menu for a week at a time and create a list. So, every afternoon, I saw my friend drive past my house for her daily grocery run. She shopped at the corner store because she didn’t want to drive all the way in to town. I can’t even imagine how much her monthly grocery bill was and I’m quite certain that she didn’t have any idea how much it was either!
Another easy way to spend less money is to pack a lunch. If you or your spouse work outside the home, then lunch can become a real drain on your finances if you don’t plan ahead. With a little planning, you can create a few extra portions for supper each night and box them up and take them for lunch. Many foods also freeze well which allows for more variety if you have 4 different frozen leftover boxes rather than 4 servings of the same thing to eat all week. If you consider that even eating lunch at Taco Bell every day is at least $6 if you get the meal. If you figure that $6 x 20 workdays in the month would be $120 just for Taco Bell. You can buy a lot of groceries and eat much more healthfully for $120 or less each month if you do some careful planning.
On Sunday morning I like to plan out my lunches for the week. I hate to think about what I’m going to pack early in the morning, so if I plan my lunches once a week, it is so much easier.
5. Plan Your Errands to Save Time and Money on Trips to Town
The last tip for spending less is to plan your trips. By making a list and looking at your calendar, you can plan all of your errands in one trip rather than making multiple trips to town for this or that thing you forgot. This saves money for gas, but your time is also valuable. Every time you step into a store, you are more likely to buy something, so plan your trips carefully.
To recap – 5 tips for spending less money…
- Use Cash
- Create and envelope system
- Shop with a list
- Pack a lunch
- Plan your trips to the store to include all your errands
What is your best tip for saving money each week? Drop a comment below. I’d love to hear from you. If you’ve enjoyed this post, please like my page and share it with a friend!
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60 thoughts on “5 Easy Things You Can Do To Save Money This Week!”
You gave great tips, Karen! The envelope system is wonderful. I agree on planning and buying groceries for more days than 1. We buy for the week. I reuse the leftovers too, no wasting food(money). I would add, beware of buying bulk. Unless is something you need and use a lot of, otherwise you end up paying more in the long run.
Definitely agree on buying in bulk. That’s where the menu planning really helps your grocery spending because you buy what you need.
Excellent tips!!!!! That grocery shopping with cash feels scary BUT I am trying it !!!!! I will post a follow-up in 30 days. I shop with a plan already just tallying the $$$ as they go in the cart should be budget changing!
I’d love to hear how it goes for you. ?
I’m pretty good with 2, 3, 4, but I definitely stray from cash (get lazy) and need to work on strategizing my errands more!! Thanks for the tips!!
So far I only try the cash and envelope system, I also found that if we don’t bring the kids for grocery shopping, there is a significant amount different
That’s a great tip too.
I practice all these already and I can testify that they really do work! The biggest challenge is accepting the discipline of the task so you can stick with it!
Yes, discipline is hard sometimes. ?. Good for you.
I really needed to read this! These are really great ideas to save money. I need to start using cash and the envelope system. Thank you for reminding me how great those options are!
Sure thing. Glad it was helpful.
Great tips! We used to do cash but hardly ever do anymore! 😉
Being aware of what you are spending is the biggest battle to sticking to the budget. No matter how you spend your money.
We do the envelope system and I have also found that when using cash rather than credit, I spend less!
True for me as well.
Love the envelope idea!! How clever!
These are all great tips! You sometimes get lazy and end up paying for it!
Menu planning is a total game changer. It’s more economical and saves time at the same time. Thank you for sharing!
You are welcome.
Packing a lunch is something that I need to get better at along with setting a budget for groceries. It is where most of my money goes and it is crazy to think how much I have spent hungry shopping!
It can happen so quickly too. You can always start packing your lunch this week. ?
I have such a hard time ith the envelope system. i guess i just don’t wanna follow a cash plan 🙁
It does take concentration to stay on track and not just pull out the plastic card. ?
I do a menu each week. Not only does it save us money – it helps us to eat healthier too
Good for you!
I try to plan my trips for minimal driving. It saves on had and I hate driving so if I can skip an extra trip I’m even happier!
That’s a great strategy!
Fantastic list! I really like the envelope system idea.
Great tips! Although we have fallen off the meal planning, it is definitely a great way to save money!
It does take time but the outcome is better.
I like the idea of paying with cash! I typically use my card, so this might be good to try!
Hope it works out well for you!
I did the envelope system for a while but then it didn’t work for us because we weren’t following through with it ?
Yes that does happen here too. ?
Love these ideas!
Love these ideas!
Thanks for the tips! I definitely want to try the envelope method, I just keep making excuses not to. I am working on planning out meals better too.
Good job on meal planning!
There are some great money saving ideas there. I really like the envelope idea.
Great tips. It’s amazing how much money we save when we use cash. We are a lot more selective of what goes in the basket when we use cash.
Planning a menu is something I need to work on. Sometimes I do awesome with a menu then we go months without one?
Menu planning can be hard when we are busy but it always make my busy easier in the long run. Good luck.
I go back and forth between weekly menu planning and daily grocery trips. It definitely costs less overall when I’m on top of things and planning even a few days at a time. My downfall though is that my grocery shopping time falls in the early afternoon, after I’ve spent the morning teaching and before I’ve had lunch. Never shop hungry as my mom always told me and I can tell you it’s a real thing. I’m starving when I shop so I tend to buy more “right now” items than I would otherwise. At least those expenditures are limited when I shop less often. 🙂
I totally understand the trying to get things done when you’ve finished teaching but are hungry!
Love the way you sub-categorized food items into dry foods, canned, frozen…that’s a much needed tip. Thanks.
I make my list according to the sections of the store. So much easier to find things that way.
These are such useful tips! I rarely have cash on hand so I’ve yet to try the envelope tip but I try to keep to my grocery list and eat before I go shopping.
Good for you. Every step helps save money!
I’ve never tried the envelope approach, but definitely considered it…Thx for the great ideas!-
You are welcome!
Nice tips! Envelope system I liked the most. Thanks for sharing!
This is a great list! I should do the envelope system. I think that would help my family a whole bunch!
I hope it works well.
These are great tips. I don’t think I can do the envelope system (I can be very unorganized), but the rest.. Thumbs up!
Good luck and I hope they work really well for you.