I’m gonna be honest: Pete and I don’t count our pennies. If we go to the store and I feel like impulse buying a chocolate bar at checkout, I don’t flip out and reprimand myself. We’re allowed a treat here and there. Why? Because we make huge sacrifices in our budget so that we can save thousands of dollars a year. And when you’re saving thousands, you can spend a dollar here and there and not feel guilty about it.
Of course, we use coupons. I never go shopping without going through the ad and finding coupons first. But not everyone wants to sit and clip coupons. I understand that. So I put together a list of three ways to save $3,000 a year without cutting coupons. These budget saving ideas may take a little while to get used to, but once you do, you’ll never go back to your old ways.
3 Ways To Save $3k (Without Clipping Coupons)
1. Cut the cord.
Pete and I don’t have cable. In fact, neither of us have ever paid for it since we’ve moved out of our parents’ homes. We do watch TV, though, completely for free. We have a 4K UHD Smart TV in our living room and two HDTV’s upstairs (one is a Smart flat screen and one is not as smart and more boxy). All three have an antenna that we purchased. They are not one of those crazy rabbit ears antennas. The two upstairs are flat and about the same size of a piece of paper. We’re able to pick up all the basic cable channels (ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, the CW, PBS, and more) over the air and we don’t pay a penny for it.
Plus, there are a lot of programs that you can stream online for free too, so we’re not missing anything (except a $100 a month bill!). And keep that in mind too. Most of the basic channels have an app that allow you to stream episodes after they’ve aired. Some will allow it the next day, others make you wait a week. If you don’t mind waiting, that could be a good option for you too.
Savings: $1,200 (averaging about $100 a month)
2. Skip the coffee shop.
I really love coffee. I went the majority of my life avoiding the stuff and in the last two years, it’s grown to be my hot beverage of choice. But it can get expensive. In the coffee shop, it’s about $3 for a cup of regular coffee. When I buy coffee on sale and after coupons, I usually pay $2 a bag. And one bag is 26 servings. So basically, one bag of coffee makes each cup just under 8 cents. Yes, eight little cents a cup. That’s a savings of $2.92 a cup. Now, let’s say you’re stopping by the coffee shop every workday. That’s $15 a week or $780 a year. If you make your coffee at home for eight cents, you’re only spending $20.80 during that same time. Really, it’s a no brainer.
Savings: about $760 a year
3. Cook at home.
Pete and I make nearly every meal at home. He loves to cook and I love to scour Pinterest for new recipe ideas. Making a meal at home is so much cheaper than going out to a restaurant to have it. Plus, you have control over what, exactly, you’re putting into your body. You can make sure you’re using fresh, local, or organic ingredients. You can choose healthier and lighter options too. And you can save a lot of dough if you’re making your own dough (we actually do make our own pizza dough).
Just a quick recent example. I made baked spaghetti. It cost me $8 for all the ingredients (spaghetti, sauce, garlic, onions, mozzarella cheese, and 20oz. of ground turkey). It ended up being six servings for us, so about $1.25 a serving. Let’s say we went out to dinner and ordered spaghetti. Spaghetti and meatballs at Olive Garden is $14 (I just googled the menu). For two of us, that’s $28 (and that’s guessing Olive Garden’s portions are large enough for leftovers). If you eat in instead of out once a week, and you average a savings of $20 each time, that’s $1,040 a year.
If you want ideas for recipes, we have a bunch of them posted here. Be sure to pin your favorites to Pinterest so you have the recipe handy when you’re hungry.
Savings: about $1,040 a year
Total: $3k a year
It’s worth it. If by the little changes, you know you’re saving $3,000, you won’t cringe when your kid needs a couple extra dollars for a class trip.