Frugal Fifteen

How has your 2015 been so far? We made it through the first week so that's exciting! Hopefully one of your goals for this year is to save money. Whether you are saving for college, paying off student loans, need money to buy a house and start a family, or are saving for retirement, these tips can help you! 
Stop spending more than you earn. Obviously. It's that simple. If you don't have it, don't spend it.

Stop complaining about your paycheck. There will always be someone out there who is making more money than you. Keep in mind, there is also someone out there who is making less money than you. Be thankful that you have a paycheck coming in and focus your attention on how to use it wisely!

Stop eating out. Do you really need that Starbucks coffee every morning or takeout for dinner three times a week? No. One of the easiest ways to save money is to plan what you will eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Buying groceries each week and making your own meals will save you more than you think. Yes, it is okay to treat yourself to that caramel macchiato every once in a while. Think of it as a special treat that you earned after a long week at work, not something you NEED to make it through the day.

Track your spending. If you know how much you're spending, you will also know how much you are saving. After a recommendation from a friend, May, I began using Mint. I could not be happier with this site. It helps you keep track of how much you are spending and on what. When you make an account, you can link to your checking and savings accounts as well as your credit cards and loans. The site helps you keep track of income and debt all in one place. You also have the ability to budget and set goals for yourself and receive alerts when you are going over budget!

Take advantage of freebies. As I have mentioned in posts before, I am involved with a few different freebie programs and frequently order free samples. I have a basket where I stockpile the shampoo, conditioner, and body wash samples I receive. When I go on vacation, I look in my basket and have plenty of wonderful travel sized options without making a trip to the store! My favorite freebie sites are Influenster and Pinch Me. Check them out and let me know what you think!

Wait for sales and bargain shop. Yes, I know you want the latest and greatest fashions that are at the front of the store but close your eyes and keep walking. I usually glance at the clothing items near the front of the store to know what I should be keeping an eye out for on the clearance racks in the new few weeks. If you wait until items are on sale or clearance, you can buy more using the same amount of money! Also, in addition to checking out what is on sale at your favorite stores, check out these sites to find great deals on secondhand clothing items: ThreadUp and Twice! PLUS, when you use my link to sign up for either of these sites, you'll get a $10 credit to use toward the clothing items of your choice.

Use coupons. Whether you avidly clip coupons every Sunday from the paper or simply print one or two coupons to take to the store, every little bit counts. If you are not into clipping or printing, check out this post to learn how you can still save! 

Save money on entertainment. I'm sure you guys are familiar with Groupon and LivingSocial. When you sign up for LivingSocial using my link, you will receive a $10 to use toward your next purchase! These sites offer deals on products as well as local entertainment. Check out your city's events calendar to stay updated on free or discounted events going on near you.

Turn off the lights. Save money and the environment when you turn off and unplug your household appliances when appropriate.

Make money on items you already purchase. If you have smart phone and grocery shop, you should have Ibotta and Checkout51 installed. These apps allow you to make money from the groceries you already purchase! With Ibotta you can transfer the money you make directly to your paypal account or to a giftcard. Checkout 51 mails a check when you hit $20. I used the money made from these apps to purchase presents this past Christmas, how awesome is that?!

Shop with friends. Those shoes are buy one, get one half off? You both need a pair! Split the price with a friend and you both save a little bit of money. This logic can be applied to almost anything. Going out for drinks? Get a pitcher instead of individual drinks. (Just make sure you use Uber to get home! My code will give you a free ride when you use the app for the first time: jessicap1102) When you can split expenses, do it. You'll save money and have fun with your friends at the same time.

Use your friends. In addition to being able to split costs with them, I'm sure your friends are talented people. If you have a friend who is a photographer, use them when you need pictures. If you have an artistic friend, use them when you need to update your home decor. Not only will they charge less for their services, but they would be happy to work for you! I'm sure you have you own talents that they would benefit from as well so help them out when they need it!

Save on gas. In order to begin saving on gas, cut back on driving or start to carpool when you can. You should also look into gas rewards programs. Many grocery stores partner with local gas stations. When you shop there, you will be able to take anywhere from ten to fifty cents off per gallon. Buy gas giftcards when they are discounted and use GasBuddy to find the lowest priced pumps in your area!

Stay organized. You can't use your coupons if you don't remember to take them to the store! It's important that you try to stay organized in every aspect of life in order to save money. Whether it's your coupons, your calendar, or your pantry, you will be able to save money when these are organized because you will know what you need and when you need it!

Follow this blog.. and others like it so you can stay up-to-date on how to stay frugal throughout the year! Type your email into the box at the top of my page in order to receive posts in your inbox!

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