21 Ways We Saved in 2016
So many people have set a goal to take control of their finances in 2017, pay down debt and start building wealth. My husband and I have been on a similar journey! In two years, we have paid off $45,000 in debt and cash flowed a new (to us) truck.
DISCLAIMER: WE ARE NOT "ONE-PERCENTERS" EARNING A LOT OF MONEY. WE WERE ABUSING CREDIT CARDS. WE SPENT MORE THAN WE BROUGHT IN EACH MONTH. SO WE BECAME FRUGAL AND MUCH MORE CONSCIOUS WITH OUR MONEY. THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT WE PERSONALLY DID TO IMPROVE OUR SITUATION.
In this post, I'll be looking at 21 big ways we were able to save last year!
This post may contain affiliate links, please see my disclosure policy for more information.
- Started shopping at the Dollar Tree for household cleaning products. I was really surprised at the quality of some of the items.
- Ate meals at home instead of eating out at fancy restaurants saving $500 per month.
- Started shopping at Aldi, slashing our grocery bill in half.
- Regular spending freezes a la Jordan Page from FunCheaporFree.com helped us to gain better control over our finances. During spending freezes, we only spent on absolute necessities like paying our bills, gas and fresh produce. We did not spend any money on entertainment during these weeks and ate what was in our pantry and deep freezer.
RELATED: How to Save Money on Groceries Without Eating Like Crap
We bought used where we could at garage sales and/or via our town's online community Facebook page.
When we did have to shop online for things like contact lenses, we made sure to use Ebates to earn cash back every time. I just got a check for $22 for last quarter's online spending. It might not seem like much but every small amount adds up.
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Entertainment & Clothing
Stopped getting my nails done every other week. I didn’t even realize that I was spending $300 per month just for this service when you include tips.
Drastically cut back our clothing budget. Neither of us bought new shoes in 2016. I ended up adding the shoes I liked to my Amazon wish list throughout the year and received a few pairs for Christmas from my family (#winning)!
Cut my husband's expenditure on baseball cards which added up to about $200 per month.
Canceled my gym membership of $180 per month. We now have equipment in the basement and do our workouts at home.
Read free ebooks. Bookbub sends me daily recommendations for free ebooks based on my preferred genres.
We skipped our annual international vacation valued at about $3,000.
We negotiated with every single service provider to reduce our monthly bills. For example, we were able to save close to $100 by negotiating our cable and internet bill although we had to give up a few channels.
Canceled subscriptions we weren't using such Kindle Unlimited (I didn't even know what this was) and Sirius Radio.
We waited until July 1 before turning on the AC. This was a tough one!
On the flip side, when it got cooler we used extra blankets before cranking up the heat.
Only ran major appliances like the washing machine or dryer during off-peak times.
Went down to 1 car for 6 months saving about $600 per month.
We reduced our data plan to trim $20 per month.
Overall, I invested well over 10 hours' time on the phone and online with these companies and ended up saving thousands of dollars per year. However, if you don't have the time to do all this work, you can get BILLSHARK to do the hard work for you. You only pay them if they save you money (essentially you will share the cost savings).
I've saved the best tip for last! At the beginning of 2016, I realized that on one credit card alone we were paying $100 a month in interest. The fine print on our monthly statement said that at the rate we were paying, it would take us 6 years to pay off $10,000. That was the wake-up call we needed to get rid of our consumer debt once and for all. We started a debt snowball (listing our debts from smallest to largest) and started knocking them off. We were credit card debt free in less than six months!
We also refinanced our mortgage saving $600 per month. It took us 3 months to close on the refinance and lots of work but it was totally worth it.
Did you know that you can also refinance your student loan debt? If you've got a stable job, good credit score and are ready to tackle your debt head-on, then I recommend this FREE tool called LendEDU. This tool lets you compare student loan refinancing options from 12 companies to see how you can potentially lower your interest rate and save thousands of dollars. I highly recommend them and love that completing their 90-second application doesn't hurt your credit!
Overall, we were able to trim our monthly spending from close to $8,000 per month down to about $4,000. This year, we will be continuing to look for new ways to save toward our goals!
What are some of the ways that you have saved money lately and what's your why? I'd love to hear from you!