This week, I want to propose a budgeting challenge – a dual challenge, that I will be also participating in. More specifically, together let’s try and for the next 2 weeks have a goal to reduce our spending by 25%.!
Once again, I think going back to my budget is the best place to start. Checking in on my budget is a good way to remind myself of where exactly my current finances stand and how well I am doing with my spending versus saving actions. Once I have set the groundwork for starting on this new challenge there are certain areas of my finances that I want to cut back on over these next 2 weeks that will help propel me on the path to reduce my spending by what I hope will add up to 25% or more.
Most of sticking to a budget relates to psychology & getting your mind to commit to spending less. My plan is to divide the areas where I think I can save the most realistically into categories that are common daily expenditures on my part and ones that will allow me to reduce my spending over the next 14 days.
Starting this week I will plan to eat out less and cook more for myself and my family. At this point I might eat out or order take out on average about 1 to 3 times a week and if I can cut back on this area of spending I think this will make a real difference. When we are on the go or out at work, we can also pack meals or snacks instead of stopping into restaurants or going through drive-thru’s.
I also think that it is doable to prepare our meals and to freeze and save pre-cooked meals as well as frozen foods I have bough in large quantities for future meals as an alternative to going grocery shopping too often. WIth that being said, buying non-perishable food items in bulk is also a good method of reducing our weekly food-related expenses. Additionally, when I do go grocery shopping I will make sure I have a list and a plan for what I will buy that is aligned with my food budget.
This is one area that we can also cut back on. While this doesn’t mean we need to cut out all of the social aspects of our lives, it does mean that perhaps cutting down on movies and dinners with each other and friends all the time can help to save quite a bit of money each week. Since I am already doing the cooking and grocery shopping planning, I can instead invite friends and family over to our place and still have a great time entertaining ourselves.
There may also be opportunities to go over to friends for a night and our kids can enjoy spending time at their friend’s homes as well as having social gatherings at our home. We can still plan to go out and partake in something social from time to time, as I think that is healthy – but overall we will watch this spending a bit more closely.
3) DAILY SHOPPING
Step number one for reducing spending on a daily basis – avoid impulse buying. When I’m out shopping, I will aim to only buy items that we really need or at least what we can afford as per my budget. While doing so, we can also be mindful of trying not to use credit cards when making purchases unless it is absolutely necessary or if we know we can stay within our budget to pay them off as soon as possible. I would must rather save the credit for emergency expenses and that way we have some reserve income just in case as well as being able to reduce our spending.
Next up is to use coupons when I’m shopping, whether it be for groceries, other items, or even for various services we need. There are often coupon books delivered to our home that I don’t always look through as much as I should that could be taken advantage of in our efforts to cut down on spending so much each week. I will also more actively look for discounts and promotional deals for daily expenses. Wagjag, for example could be a good method of saving money on certain services. Perhaps you have heard of other types of promotions that you can look into for further savings.
Another method I plan to use to save some money each day, over the course of these next two weeks is to switch to buying no-name products whenever necessary. There are many products, including food and household items that we must buy each week or so and by buying less expensive brands that can do the same job, we can save some extra money with every purchase.
Each week, we also spend a lot of money on filling up our car with gas. I think however, there may be some options to reducing these costs and working towards the 2 week challenge. One option is to carpool whenever necessary. Carpooling with co-workers or friends to and from work can save gas and if you have kids you can even trade off driving to and from after school and weekend activities.
Secondly, scheduling my errands and driving times can help reduce money by conserving gas. By avoiding making unnecessary car trips to and from the store for example, I am sure that the amount we spend on gas each week can also go down.
So this is my plan for saving for the next 2 weeks! If you would like to try some of these ideas feel free too. You may also have some other options that will be beneficial for your current lifestyle. After the 2 weeks we can assess how much we can saved – did we make our goal of 25%? If so, this is a great start to saving money towards paying down debt and ultimately moving us into a better financial position.
Oh and one last thing – be sure to keep track of the money you are saving as you go – then you can subtract the amount from your previous month’s expenses total. Good luck saving!