The formula for wealth is to make more money while spending less money. However, for most people, the ability to earn more can be limited. Especially, if their main job is very tasking and already require all of their time. The next best step is to control what you can. In this case, your budget.
Our guest today is none other than a savvy couple, who have been breaking the internet talking about two most important things in life. Getting out of debt and Food. Yes you got that right : Debt and Cupcakes. They are a marvelous pair. One talks a lot about money and the other one make cupcakes to shut him up. Seriously though, please check them out and show support to our guest.
They shared how they saved over $500 dollars a month on a tight budget. This story is meant to inspire you that real people, have used money-saving and budgeting techniques we talk about everyday to save significant amount of money.
$500 is half of that emergency fund if you think about it. You could have that 1 grand in just 2 months with these techniques.
Enjoy the read and don’t forget to comment and share.
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It wasn’t long ago that we were desperate to learn how to save money. We were under the impression that saving money was solely based around our income.
In order to save more money, we had to make more money and rely on small annual raises to make progress. Sorta like chopping down a tree with a butter knife…
Oh, and that’s assuming that we received a raise that at least matched the current inflation rate. Typical raises are around 2%. Sure, a raise is great… but inflation is real and 2% is barely keeping up.
Since we didn’t know any better, this became our plan and we tried our best to be the kind of amazing employees who received the raise we desired.
We worked our asses off, got promoted a few times, and charged up the ol’ corporate ladder.
A ton of time was invested trying to convince our manager that we “deserved” a higher percentage raise this year.
Those 8 hour days stretched longer and longer and we began to talk about work more and more…Soon it felt like all we did was work.Hell, that’s life… right?
This couldn’t’ be the only way?! There had to be some magical “how-to-save-money” formula out there, right?
Maybe there is a better way to save money?
It didn’t take long to realize that we were in trouble if we continued on this path. If we wanted to make serious financial progress, we had to take the bull by the horns and figure out another way to learn how to save money.
Around this time,we had become serious about becoming debt-free and we knew that we had to find a way to super-charge our ability to pay off debt! Waiting on corporate to increase our salary wasn’t an option anymore.
Back then I was a pretty big Dave Ramsey fan. We were deep into Baby Step #2 and we needed to learn how to save money.
Dave talks a lot about getting a 2nd job but, honestly…we were putting in a lot of time with our main hustles and we weren’t interested in getting another gig.
When you can’t make more money, you have to look at where the money you’re making is going!
After some investigating, it became clear that I was getting screwed for being a loyal customer for so long…
If you’ve been with your cable, cellular, or insurance company for many years, I’m sorry to break this news to you…but you’ve been losing money. A LOT. OF. MONEY!
We learned how to save money, and you can too by following these 5 easy tips.
How to Save Money Option #1: Car Insurance
I was a loyal customer with my insurance provider for over a decade. I’m sure my insurance agent loved me. Hell, I bet the company loved me! “I was a valued and loyal customer”.
The best part about being a “loyal customer” is when your insurance company takes more of your money and offers new customers lower rates! How neat is that?!
They’re doing their best to help others learn how to save money, by taking more of our money! (blank stare)
I decided that enough was enough and took to the inter-webs to solve our growing car insurance cancer. Surprisingly, it was super easy.
I spent some time shopping around with different providers and tinkering with different levels of coverage.
After investing just a few hours I was able to save about $750 a year, or $62.50 a month. We jumped on the Progressive wagon and so far, we have been really happy.
My plan is due to renew in November so, I’ll attack this one again in October. Not only were we learning how to save money, it was actually pretty easy!
How to Save Money Option #2: Cell Phone Provider
ere we go again… I was with the same cellular provider for, well…ever! I had been with ATT for as long as I had a cell phone, and I’m not some spring chicken.
The amount of money we spend on our cell phone plan a month makes my brain hurt. If my grandparents were still alive, they would be appalled by this “normal” bill.
Imagine telling someone who rarely spent more than $20 on their phone bill that you spend $197 a month to talk on a phone and watch videos of dogs riding skateboards. It would blow their mind!
In our defense, our bill is high because we have to have an unlimited data plan plus hot-spot data. Living out in the sticks forces us to use a ton of hot-spot data.
Cable and DSL internet haven’t found their way out here, yet.
This switch was incredibly easy. I think the whole process took me 10 minutes, maybe less. We jumped on the T-Mobile bandwagon. They crushed ATT’s prices and we ended up with a pretty stellar plan.
Unlimited data with 20 gigs of hot spotting for $140. They also pay for a standard level Netflix subscription. T-Mobile knows how to save money, and for this… we thank you!
This switch saved us $69 a month.
How to Save Money Option #3: Cable/Dish/TV
Sweet mother Mary. Our Dish bill was growing faster than my waist during the holidays.
What was once $65/month had grown to $111/month. We noticed it was going up but, it was such a slow increase that we didn’t notice just how bad it was.
The plan we had was the lowest level they offered… so, what the hell do you do with that? The only option we could come up with was just to cancel it altogether. Easy peasy.
After a 5 minute phone call, the sales rep from Dish Network convinced me that he knew how to save money… and he sold me on a $53 plan. Hot DAMN!
They sold me, hard! I guess in the spring we will drop the plan totally and add that $53 into our monthly savings, but for now…add another $58 to the pot.
We discussed this and 100 other ways to save money in our earlier article. That is the ultimate list, a buffet of savings if you like.
How to Save Money Option #4: STOP Financing Your Cell Phones?
This part is super embarrassing to admit. I had NO idea that we were paying monthly on our phones.
Seriously, here I am trying to run a personal finance blog and at one time, I had no idea our phones were financed.
Maybe I can’t learn how to save money… NO! We will learn to save and owning our mistakes is part of the process!
My wife and I were paying $53/month for 2 Iphones! A 6s and a 6s Plus. Those aren’t even freaking new models! I think they just released the IPhone 10 or something?
A bit of research and I found out we owed just a few hundred dollars on each phone. This fix didn’t take too long, but we had to add the balances to our debt snowball and hammer it out.
Paying the phone off is just Step #1. Step #2 is realizing that we don’t need a new phone every year, and when we do need a new phone… we will buy an older model with cash.
Who the hell finances a freaking phone anyway? Oh, we did… Yea, we did that… Shucks.
Listen, I’m not getting all preachy… I was doing it and I didn’t even know! So, who am I to judge? I’m just saying, if you want to learn how to save money, this could easily be a huge money leak.
Add another $53/month to the wallet!
How to Save Money Option #5: Damn, We Eat A LOT!
The last way we learned how to save money was by paying attention to the money we spent on food. If your online bank allows you to export a monthly statement to excel, do it.
Well, sit down first and then do it. If you’re not tracking your monthly food spending, prepare to be shocked.
For us, it wasn’t abnormal to spend $300-350 a month dining out and another $300-400 on groceries. Holy. Moly…
Not only did we eat a lot, our dogs did too! We had a subscription to Chewy and we ordered some high quality grain-free dog food.
The dogs were eating about $110 worth of dog food a month. Our dogs really aren’t even that big. One weighs around 60lbs and the other around 35 lbs.
Thinking back, I don’t think those pups ever thanked us! The more I think about it, the more I recall the older one peeing in the basement too.
I’m not sure if she started that after we canceled Chewy…(stares at dog)
We now shop only at Aldi’s and only dine out once every other week. We budget $400 a month for groceries, $90 for restaurants, and we only spend about $65 out of that $90.
Also, we still feed the dog’s high quality, grain-free food. Now it comes from Tractor Supply and it only costs about $60 a month.
We don’t have children so, I won’t ever feed our dogs crappy food. We love ‘em… even if they poo in the basement sometimes.
This section was a lot more work. We had a lot of bad habits that led to over-spending and it wasn’t a simple 15 minute phone call to save a bunch of cash.
Once we did the research and had a tangible number attached to that monthly food bill, we buckled down… fast. It was a kick in the teeth but, it did the trick.
Ok, add another $290-ish to the bank.
We totally agree with cutting down your eating out habit. That was from another guest who touched on that too
How to Save Money: The Final Score
5 changes and we were able to pocket $532.50/month. $532.30 A MONTH!!
At the time, that would have been an 8% raise (post-tax). Within my organization, to make an additional 8% post-tax, it would have taken years.
That’s assuming they don’t actually follow through on their constant threats to freeze our salaries.
For the most part, the changes were pretty easy and they didn’t take a lot of time: just commitment to the process and a long-term view of our lives.
This process taught us a valuable lesson. If you’re determined to learn how to save money, you need to start by looking at the money you’re already spending.
If you don’t have control of your spending, your income shouldn’t be your priority. After all, your income won’t really matter if you’re trying to keep up with the Joneses.
Lock down your spending, and you’ll save more money!!
There you have it. Another awesome guest. Saving money requires effort, we believe it can be done. Some of the tips above required only few minutes of their time.
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About the author: Debt & Cupcakes was born in August of 2018. After paying off $109,000 in consumer debt in March of 2018, we decided it was our mission to help others who find themselves helplessly buried in debt. The Mr. is the money nerd and the Mrs. loves to bake! Besides creating delicious cupcakes, it’s our goal to make talking about money fun and remove the stigma that follows discussing your debt! With a hint of sarcasm and powdered sugar, we tackle the tough money subjects to give you the tools you need to reach your financial goals!