That was my question as I headed into this year. I know I need to spend less and save more for the future. I know I need to get our financial situation monitored more closely…but how do I do that?
You see, many times financial advisors will give advice to “cut out the unnecessary spending”. And, YES, that is one of the first steps to financial freedom; however, for much of the general population they have already cut out much of the unnecessary and still find it is hard to have enough at the end of the month to set aside for savings…or even just to pay for the bills.
I get it, my husband and I have tried to minimize our monthly expenses as much as possible. (now I am a Starbucks junkie…well, really a going out for coffee junkie. I realize this is one thing I need to cut out and only indulge if I have been gifted a gift card or cash specifically for the purpose of coffee. It seems so small in the moment, those 5 dollars…but, those 5 dollars x how ever many times I [you] go a week/month for coffee add up! So, it’s a personal goal of mine to cut out that spending.)
Okay, back from that rabbit trail…we try to minimize our expenses as much as possible. We don’t have cable and we cancelled our Netflix (we just don’t have time with a baby…and if we want to watch a movie we’ll see what is available for free with our Amazon Prime). We also just cancelled our gym membership in favor of working out from home. Which, works out so much better with having a baby! Once he falls asleep, we just press play on the program we’re following and we get it knocked out in an hour without the travel time (and it’s definitely cheaper than going to the gym!).
We are pretty good at our goal of only eating out once a week, but for a while it was difficult for me to get breakfast and lunch prepped for Jose. Thankfully, we’ve gotten better at that and now Jose has a good breakfast at home and then I pack a sandwich or leftovers for his lunch.
Perhaps, just in reading the few steps we have taken to minimize unnecessary spending has already brought to mind a few things that you could improve on or change!
BUT, maybe your one of the people who already does those things…
I have a few more ideas for you!
I have done a bit of research as to what some of the best apps are when it comes to spending a bit less and saving more. I have been using them and loving the ease of use as well as the financial impact they are having for our family!
Let’s take a peek!
Within the app you can set up a budget and set reminders for when your bills are due. For me, being able to see all my bills in one place and not have to remember my login info for who knows how many different sites is awesome!
Mint will automatically suggest a budget, based on spending; however those amounts can be changed according to your personal preferences and goals. Because Mint keeps track of everything you’ll easily be able to see areas of overspending or areas that you are doing really well in!
The best part about this budgeting app…it’s FREE!
It does help you to save more. Which, is something I think we all need a little help with. Basically, it helps you to save money by rounding up any purchases that you make with a linked card and putting that extra change into a an investment portfolio.
Example: Say, you make a transaction for $4.35…Acorns will round it up to $5 and send that extra 65 cents to your portfolio where you are gradually and painlessly accumulating funds for your future.
What is a portfolio with Acorns?
A portfolio is a combination of investments, usually stocks and bonds. Stocks are a share of the ownership of a company and bonds are when an investor (you) loans your money to a business or government for a specified period of time and then earn interest on that loaned money.
Acorns is extremely cost friendly as well, starting at $1/month to open up your portfolio.
Every little bit of savings adds up in the end!
Here is my basic summary.
Honey is an extension that you can download into your favorite web browser. A little icon with an “h” will then appear in the top of your internet browser. When you are shopping on line Honey searches for all coupon codes available for the site you are shopping at and then applies them all to your purchase when you check out. The two fold blessing is that it saves you money and time (who has 15 minutes to search for possible coupon codes…and then half don’t work???)!
Instead of searching manually for coupon codes and then inputting them to find out that they were fake or expired, Honey searches and finds all legitimate, usable coupon codes and automatically applies them to your purhase.
When shopping on an online store the Honey extension will light up letting you know that there are available coupon codes…you can go ahead and click to see what goodness it has hiding there or wait until checkout to click and seeing it apply every possible discount to that total in your cart. There is nothing better than watching that number jump down a few dollars!
One of my personal favorites about Honey is that when I am shopping on Amazon, Honey will automatically scan the entire Amazon site to make sure that you are getting the best price on the product you are interested in. If there is a seller who has it at a better price…Honey will let you know!
Think I’m done?
There is one more awesome feature to Honey. On top of saving you money on your purchases if you are purchasing from a retailer where Honey makes a commission from your purchase, Honey will split that commission with you in the form of points or “Honey Gold”. With 1,000 points you can redeem them for a $10 giftcard!
There are a few more perks about Honey, so you can read about them here. I’ll also be posting a more in depth look at all the benefits of Honey and a more personal review…so stay tuned!
There are quite a few ways that points can be earned:
- Walk into stores
- Scan barcodes of select products
- Purchase with a linked card
- Purchase and submit a receipt
- Visit online stores
- View online products
- Make online purchases
- Watch videos
With all that variety the points can add up fast. Then simply redeem those points for a gift card to your favorite store…with this extra money you can go ahead an get yourself a special treat without the guilt of it coming out of your budget 😉
If you are going to download the app make sure to use my code BLUE549382! You’ll earn an extra 250 points if you do!
shhh…here’s a little secret
When you are doing your online shopping activate Ebates, when you go to checkout you know you’ll be earning cash back…but before you hit that checkout button make sure you click on your Honey extension to get as many discounts on your purchases as possible. Discounts + Cash Back = the perfect double whammy!
With this app, you won’t see immediate savings at checkout like you would with a coupon. But you will get actual cash back in your pocket to use later on down the road—which we think is worth the wait.