Hello, hello! Happy Monday everyone!
Melissa here, with money-saving tips on how to make 2016 your best year yet! It’s spring time, and you know what that means. Warmer weather, spring cleaning, maybe that family vacation you’ve been dreaming about for months? Well, these long-term projects and plans won’t happen just on their own. And it’ll take some planning and preparation, especially in the financial department, to buy those plane tickets or purchase those home improvement supplies. So, I’ve gathered my 5 top tips on how to stay financially fit this year, while also having a good time with the family!
Managing Your Money
- Step back and evaluate your expenses: Sometimes we get so caught up in the craziness of daily life that we forget what we’re really spending money on. Maybe it’s that monthly gym membership that you forgot you had but you’re still paying for. Or a subscription for a magazine or newspaper you don’t even have time to read. Even making your own coffee and cooking your own meals instead of frequenting the corner coffee shop or eating out every other day will save you a ton. It’s the little things that really pile up without your even knowing it! And over time, those few dollars here and there can actually add up to some pretty amazing things, like scuba lessons in the tropics or that new deck you’ve been talking about.
- Saving money on essentials: There are definitely things we can’t live without, like food and clothing. But that doesn’t mean you have to pay full price! Any time I’m about to leave my house for the clothing or grocery stores, I scour my mail and the internet for extra coupons or sales that will catch my eye. And as much as possible, I’ve used hand-me-downs or donations from friends whose kids have outgrown their clothing when it comes to dressing my five kids. Sure, it’s not always the latest season’s trends, but it sure helps save for those wonderful European adventures!
- Do It Yourself: I’m not the craftiest of people, as the people who have read my blog would know, but fixing or renovating around the house on your own can save you a ton, rather than going through a company. There are so many tutorials and websites out there that you can learn how to do pretty much anything home improvement related. And when it comes to planning a vacation, you can save even more money when you plan it on your own, rather than going through a travel agency. Reaching out to friends and family who have traveled to that part of the world have been great resources for me as well, and you’ll never know what awesome connections they have in the country until you ask! Oh, and above all, whenever you find someone who is willing to host you, say yes and then considering offering your place up to foreign friends! This can truly make a vacation happen — we do this all the time.
- Save on Gas: Living in the city, this isn’t something I’m too worried about. I’ve found that walking or taking public transportation instead of always hailing a cab has saved me a lot of money. But gassing up a car is a necessary (and expensive) evil for many people. Monitoring your speed and when you brake, avoiding gas stations next to the highway, and driving less by finding carpools or taking the bus instead can all add up to some extra cash in your wallet. It can all add up to an awesome trip or long-term project in the end!
- Sign up for newsletters: Once you have a trip in mind, do your research! There are all sorts of websites offering great deals on flight and hotel combos, but I’ve learned not to jump on the first one that catches my eye. Sign up for a few free email newsletters regarding your dream vacation spot, and they’ll send you notifications when you can get the best bang for your buck. These were super helpful when it came to finding the best flights to Europe and scoring our awesome little rental apartment in Barcelona.
I hope these money-saving tips help you and your family make the most of 2016. Best of luck with your projects and trips this upcoming year!