Do you want creative ways to reduce spending and save money after your bankruptcy is complete?
Finding new ways to save money and leverage good money habits will be key to your reaching your personal financial goals once your bankruptcy is complete.
A small change in how you spend money can help fund your emergency savings, eliminate debt that you may have reaffirmed in your bankruptcy case, and provide money to invest in cash flowing assets.
You should strive to keep as much as possible out of every single dollar that comes into your possession. Make a large portion of every single dollar work on your behalf.
Calculate your monthly savings rate by dividing how much you saved in a particular month by how much income you received. Work on improving that saving rate each and every month.
Every dollar counts!
Below you will find 27 simple ideas to help you keep more of each dollar you receive. Pick and choose whichever concept you desire, but make sure you begin taking the actions today to create the money habits that will put you on the path to financial independence.
DIY Home Repair – Be Your Own Handy Man
There are many simple home repairs you can do yourself to save significant amounts of money. Paint your own walls. Fix your own garbage disposal. Pressure wash your own driveway.
You can do all of these repairs yourself and save thousands of dollars throughout the year. You can learn how to do almost any simple home repair quite quickly on Youtube.
DIY Snacks – Commit to Making and Packaging Your Own Snacks
One way to save a ton of money on groceries is to commit to making your own snack items. Snack items are always expensive items to buy at the grocery store. You can make your own salsa, snack mix, jerky and other snack items. Check out this helpful article to learn more about DIY snack ideas.
Cancel the Gym
There is absolutely no reason you need a gym to get fit and stay fit. If Crossfit has taught us anything it’s that simply moving our own body with urgency is the best form of training.
Go outside and jog. Do burpees at the park. If you think you cannot get in the absolute best shape of your life by doing burpees and running sprints outdoors you are fooling yourself.
Whatever you are paying for a gym membership is too much. Cancel the gym, save money and get in the best shape of your life through bodyweight training outdoors – both financially and physically.
Save on Clothes
My Wife and I had an hour to kill before an appointment the other day, so we stopped into a Bealls Outlet store in the town we were visiting. We were stunned at the volume of cool name-brand clothes at laughably low prices.
Safe to say I will not need to go casual clothes shopping for quite some time. Save money on clothes spending by shopping at these discount retailers like Bealls, Ross and Marshals.
Credit Card Rewards for Gift Money
Use credit card rewards as the source of the money you spend for birthday and Christmas gifts. It is possible to get a credit card that offers cashback rewards after bankruptcy. Check out this previous post on credit cards after bankruptcy for more information.
Downsize Your House
This is a big one, and certainly not something you can likely implement quickly. However, reducing the size of your home is a huge potential source of savings. I recently read that the average home size in 1950 was 983 square feet.
Today the average home size is nearly 2,500 square feet. Did the size of the average family change? It did…it went down.
In 1950 the average household size was 3.8. Today the average household size is just 2.6. So how do you explain the average home size more than double since 1950 yet the average household size is down by almost one-third?
The only explanation I can surmise is that we buy way more stuff today than we did in 1950. So, we must be more than twice as happy as we were back in 1950, right?
Buy Season Tickets
If you have a local sports team you like to watch live, then buy season tickets. You can buy season tickets at a discount, choose several games that you would like to attend, and then sell the remaining tickets. You can likely generate enough profit from the tickets you sell to attend the games you want for free.
Often times, you can buy the generic version of a product for significantly less than the name-brand version, and get essentially the exact same product. Read labels and see if there is any additional benefit provided in the brand-named product vs. the generic.
Use Grocery Pickup Service
Take advantage of a grocery pickup service to save time and eliminate impulse purchases. Using a grocery pickup service forces you to plan your meals. If you plan your meals in advance, you will eliminate the spontaneous impulse purchases which often lead to bloated grocery spending.
Low Cost Meals
If you focus on the cost-per-meal analysis of your weekly meals, you’ll learn that the numbers fluctuate wildly. You can feed your family on just $5 – or even less. Make a game out of meal planning; see if can get less than $2 per meal.
Pay Cash for Cars
People waste so much money buying vehicles. Pay cash for the vehicle you drive. If you only have $2,500 to spend, then buy a $2,500 car. Save the money you would otherwise spend on car payments and buy a better car once you’ve saved the cash to do so.
Not only is paying interest on auto loans a complete waste of your money, the monthly cash outflow is keeping you far away from achieving financial independence.
Financing vehicle purchases is a terrible personal financial habit that a majority of families have. End that habit immediately and drive a vehicle that you’ve paid for without incurring debt.
Implement the Change Jar
The concept of a change jar is as valid today as it’s always been. Put your loose change into a jar at the end of each day, and once the jar is full put the entirety of its contents into your savings account.
Online/Offline Price Comparison
I’ve developed a habit of looking online for price comparisons when I’m inside a store looking at an item I am considering buying.
For example, the other day I was inside Bass Pro looking for a saw to cut my own carbon arrows. I looked over the saw on the shelf and then checked out what I could buy the saw for online.
By buying the saw online instead of off the shelf, I was able to save almost $40. Never buy an item over $50 without checking online first to see if you can get a better deal.
Commit to making “found-money” work for you. Any money that you receive unexpectedly is found-money. Decide now how you’ll use found-money when it comes your way. Save it, invest it, or use it to payoff debt.
Deciding now how you’ll use found-money before you actually have it will eliminate the temptation to burn through it when it actually does fall into your hands.
Cut the Cable
We are finally at a time where eliminating cable and satellite television is possible without giving up the shows and sports you love watching. With Netflix and streaming options like Hulu, CBS Access and Watch ESPN app, you can cut the cord without much of a sacrifice and save hundreds of dollars throughout the year.
Cook and Freeze
Save money on meals by preparing meals in bulk and freezing meals for future use. This is a good strategy for brining down your cost-per-meal spending.
Pack Food for Trips
Money spent during vacation can add up quick if you’re eating three meals a day at restaurants. Reduce these expenditures by packing your favorite snacks and simple meals in advance and bringing them with you.
Free Outdoor Weekend Activities
There are so many fun ways to spend your free time that do not require spending. Go for a family hike, walk-through a farmer’s market or go to the beach or local park. Having fun with your family does not require you to spend money. Challenge yourself to have a money-free activity weekend at least once per month.
There are many easy ways to save money at restaurants. Most restaurants provide huge portions. Instead of ordering an entrée, get an appetizer for your meal. The portion will likely be enough and the cost will most likely be significantly less than the price of an entrée.
Also, skip the drink and order water. Finally, if you order an entrée save half to eat for a later meal. Get two meals for the price of one.
Online Subscription Cut
Do you know all of your different subscriptions? I’ve fallen into the trap of too many online subscriptions and have been forced to cancel several to save money.
There are even services now that will help you list the different subscriptions you have and cancel them for you. Check out Trim app for an easy way to cancel recurring online subscriptions.
Online Banking – Ditch the Big Banks
The interest you earn on your savings account can add up over the course of a year. It is rare to find a big bank that offers a respectable interest rate on savings accounts. In contrast, many online banks offer very generous interest rates and are convenient and simple to use. Check out Ally Bank as an attractive alternative to big bank savings accounts.
Capital One 360 – Online “Envelopes”
I love the old “envelope” method of saving for budgeted expenditures. You remember – the idea where you set aside money each pay period in envelopes designated for a specific expenditure, like vacation savings or home repairs.
Capital One 360 offers you the ability to create up to 25 different online savings account in an instant. You can create new accounts, delete accounts and rename accounts quickly and easily. This is a terrific tool for creating “envelopes” to budget savings for a variety of different savings goals.
Bring a Water Bottle
According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, sales revenues for the U.S. bottled water market in 2016 were nearly $16 billion in wholesale dollars, a 7.4% increase over the previous year. It’s just water! Bring a water bottle with you each day and refill it as you need.
5-Minute Daily Personal Financial Review Habit
It is no surprise that what gets your focus and attention tends to improve. So, focus on your personal finances every single day.
Dedicate five minutes to reviewing your daily spending and analyzing what you spent, what you saved, and how you might improve tomorrow.
Unsubscribe from Promotional Emails
The number of promotional emails hitting your inbox each day is probably staggering. Inevitably, a couple of those offers are going to extract money from you unnecessarily.
Prevent that from happening. Hit unsubscribe. Spend the next two weeks unsubscribing from every promotional email you receive.
Read One Personal Finance Book Every Month
Get educated by reading at least one personal finance book each month. Start with these:
Keep as much as possible out of every single dollar that comes into your possession. Make a large portion of every single dollar work on your behalf.
Calculate your savings rate each month and make improving that rate every month your main objective. The above ideas can help you jump start your savings rate. Get started now!
Image Credit: https://unsplash.com/@f7photo