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I’ll admit it, I suck at money. I know I’m officially an adult now, but I never really learned much about money and how to stay financially healthy. You can imagine the reality check I was in for when I was finally out on my own! I’m definitely on a learning curve, but I’m trying to make baby steps towards being in full control of my money and making smarter decisions. Struggle will do that to you.
I guess I’m not alone in my struggle because a lot of people I know are struggling with ways to save money and spend wisely. I’m a total impulse buy kind of gal so the struggle is real. I used to be so excited to get paid and feel the need to automatically spend it. Oh how the times have changed!
For 2015, I’ve come up with four simple but easily implemented ideas to cut down on my spending with minimal discomfort. This may not work for everyone, but so far I’m doing great!
Switching to Simply Prepaid™ from T-Mobile
I’m not going to lie, I was a little hesitant about making the switch from a phone contract to using prepaid. I always thought that prepaid plans had slow data, a spotty network, and a limited selection of not so great phones. When I was younger I used to think it was only for people who were super broke and couldn’t afford anything else. Well, little did I know those people were laughing at my naivety all the way to the bank!
Introducing Simply Prepaid™ from T-Mobile. For just $40 dollars a month get 4G LTE data with unlimited talk and text. I don’t know about you, but that is significant savings compared to my old plan! You can get unlimited talk, text, and data with your choice of a high-speed data amount (*with a max speed of 8Mbps) starting at $40/month. It’s very flexible so you can find the right amount for you each month.
For me, I chose the $40 a month plan because I tend to use the internet a lot on my phone. Having data is important to me, and using the Samsung Galaxy Avant has been a breeze! The best part is that there are no overages, credit checks, or annual service contracts required so it’s as easy as buying the phone that you like at Walmart and activating it at home. If you have a google account, the phone will automatically download all of your apps and settings upon setup so you are ready to use it almost ASAP! Did I mention this plan is on T-Mobile’s Nationwide 4G LTE Network? That’s definitely a plus too! I’m saving more than $50 a month with this plan, and now I’m the one laughing myself to the bank!
Dressing for the Weather
I hate being cold. I’ve never been a fan of winter. Four years walking around campus in freezing wind and cold will do that to you. So when I’m at home, I want to be warm and cozy and pretend that it isn’t below zero outside. Winter heating bills are a huge expense for a lot of people, me included. I tend to blast the heat and dress like it’s summer inside of my apartment but that wastes a ton of money in the long run. With winter heating bills sometimes over $300, that’s a lot of cash for just one bill.
To battle this drain on my money I set my thermostat on the lowest temperature that I can tolerate. Winter is for winter clothes, so sweaters and comfy sweatpants are a must. If it’s something warm, I’m wearing it! At night, I bring out my heaviest blankets. I used to make fun of Snuggies but it’s my best friend in winter when I’m working on the computer!
My heating bill was $17 this month. Even I couldn’t believe that change!
Saving Money is No Longer a Maybe
The cold hard truth is that one of these days I might have a true emergency. I could get sick, injured or lose my job in an instant and suddenly have no income. What will I do in that situation? Well, I would be screwed. A lot of Americans are living paycheck by paycheck but you don’t have to. It took me a long time to adjust my mindset that money doesn’t necessarily have to be spent. Money is to be enjoyed, but you also have to make sure that you are secure for those times when unexpected expenses come up or God forbid you lose your job!
When my paycheck hits my account every two weeks, I put a set amount right away into savings. It’s available there for emergencies, and when I say emergencies I mean it! This isn’t for that super cute purse I found or to catch lunch with my friends. This is only for those times when I’m going to be in big trouble if I can’t come up with cash quick. The relief of having this safety net is huge for me. I know that I’m covered in case something hits.
Meal Planning for Less Waste and Impulse Purchases
I’m not going to lie, this one takes some getting used to. It does take time, but I can say after doing it for almost two months now you do get used to it. Using FoodGawker has helped a lot to keep me inspired with recipes. There are a lot of free meal planning templates online to use if you prefer to save paper. This one from Project Girl is nice.
Meal planning is definitely a money saver because it forces you to use what you have. You only buy what you really need, and I focus on finding recipes that use things I already have so that I’m not constantly buying new things at the grocery store while neglecting others at home. Canned and prepackaged foods may last a long time, but fresh fruits and vegetables have a very short lifespan.
Weekly meal planning ensures that I’m always aware of what I have, so those tomatoes hiding in the back of my fridge don’t get lost in the jumble, only to be found rotten (totally guilty of this!) a few weeks later. It’s gross and a waste! This isn’t only a money saver, but a food saver. With the amount of people who struggle to get food on the table these days, waste just shouldn’t be an option anymore. Plus, I spent my hard earned money on that food so I better eat it right? When I thought about how much money I had spent on foods that went bad, it really added up. Now I avoid waste and make sure I’m not throwing away money on foods that can’t/won’t be eaten! If there is a specific purpose for something I buy, I’m most likely going to eat it.
My wallet is growing and so are my financial skills. I’m really proud of how far I’ve come and where I will be going! With the financial changes in my life I’m well on my way towards being mindful of my spending. It’s really opened my eyes to how much unnecessary spending I do. I’d rather put that money towards travel! It may be hard to see the payoff now at times, but when I think of my upcoming trip it really puts it all into perspective for me.
Those are just my tips for saving money in 2015. I would love to hear yours! Comment below telling me how you are saving this year.