Five Easy Painless ways to save money

First off, let me premise this post by saying that I do not consider myself to be an expert when it comes to being frugal/saving money. If anything, I'm the opposite. I like to shop and I generally fail at doing "no-buys". That being said, I do have some tips for saving money that I think are easy enough that everyone can do. This list is meant to be painless and realistic! I hope that it helps even the biggest shopaholics save a few pennies! 

1. Keep your change! A couple of years ago, I stopped spending my change. Whenever I receive change from a purchase, I dump it into a jar at home. I never use change when making a purchase, and I have found that over time, the change really does add up! You can let it accumulate for a year, six months, or whatever time frame you choose. Right now, I'm allowing it to accumulate towards the next trip I go on. Whether it ends up being an extra $50, or $100, it can make an impact!

2. Use Ebates. If you frequently shop online like I do, Ebates can be a real bonus. I have Ebates added to my browser so that anytime I am on a website eligible for cash back, I receive an alert, which makes it easy and painless. I would say that about 90% of the websites that I shop on participate, meaning that I receive cash back from nearly all of my purchases! Since I joined Ebates in late 2014, I have earned over $300.00 back! That's not bad for some extra money! Keep your eyes open for double cash back promotions as well - sometimes I will hold off on a purchase if the store I'm shopping at (Nordstrom for example), frequently offers double cash back.

3. Go green! Often times, making more environmentally conscious choices and saving money overlap. Using a reusable bottle vs. buying bottled water, planning your errand running to save on gas, starting a veggie garden...these can all save you some serious cash. I take one of these Lifefactory bottles with me everywhere and it not only means I drink more water, but it also means I no longer buy expensive and wasteful bottled water! Win, Win!

4. Utilize your local library - okay, now this is one that I seriously struggle with! I love to read, and honestly, I think that I love to collect books even more. It can become quite the expensive habit to maintain! If you speed through books, it can become even more costly. Utilizing your library can bring those costs to zero! You can find nearly any book you might be looking for, not to mention many libraries also carry music and television/movies. These types of purchases are a huge drain for me and I know that if I even replaced one purchase with a borrowed book I could save quite a lot per year. If a new hardback release costs $20, that's about $240/year!!

5. Plan your meals - this one can be difficult because I find that you can only plan ahead so much when it comes to dinners. There are always going to be days when you just don't feel like eating that pre-planned pasta dinner. There will be times that despite having a set game plan, you just want to order takeout instead. However, I still think it is helpful to have some go-to meals that you know you have the ingredients on hand for. That's how I look at it anyway. I try to look through our fridge/freezer/pantry to see what we have to work with, and I take it from there. If we have pasta and sauce, I know that getting salad fixings can make a quick and easy meal. If we have eggs and feta cheese, all we need is some spinach to make my favorite kind of omelet. I find that having this sort of game plan means saving money, yet without the strict regimen that more intense meal planning often requires.

I think that sometimes saving money can seem painful and overwhelming, so I kept this list short for a reason. I'd love to also hear your ideas and tips in the comments!

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  1. I do my best to save money by bringing my lunch and breakfast to work! www.supersana.com

    1. That is always a great practice! Take away food can seriously add up cost wise!