So, it’s been a while since the last post, but please allow me to take a moment to wish each of you a Happy New Year. I truly hope this will be the year each of us walks straight into our God-driven destinies and impact our world in supernatural and phenomenal ways. Now, let’s get to today’s post.
I wanted to hopefully help each of you with building your savings this year as it has been and continues to be a personal goal for me. As any educator knows, we don’t get rich in this business. The hours are long, respect is minimal, and the pay is abysmal. So, hopefully these tips will help you save as they have surely helped me.
1. Be cognizant of how much money you spend eating out! Cutting your food budget is one of the most impactful ways to save money. Instead of spending $10 or $20 on a single meal, meal prep for the week. You’ll spend less money and the food can be as healthy as you want it to be since you’re preparing it. My maximum weekly budget for food this year is $50 (including weekends). If I can keep it under $50, awesome! Also freeze left overs. Don’t throw them away. Separate portions into smaller containers and just reheat when your taste buds are craving something different. Great ways to eat out for free include cashback rewards, signing up for freebies on your birthday like Firehouse Subs, Texas Roadhouse, Denny’s, etc.
2. Stop buying bottled water. Do the math. If you spend $10 per month on bottled water that equals $120 per year. That $120 can go towards supplies, savings, tuition, paying off debt faster, etc. Purchase a water bottle and boil or filter it yourself. Not only will you be helping the environment by not minimizing the use of plastic bottles, but you’ll be able to throw a few extra dollars into your savings each pay period. 3. This will likely make you raise your eyebrow a bit but start making your own laundry detergent. There are tons of videos on YouTube which will show you how to do this. $30 can make nearly a year’s supply of detergent. Again, do the math. Instead of spending $10 or $20 per month on detergent you can bank the extra money you will save and take a nice trip or send money to an elderly parent or grandparent.
4. Start using cash saving apps like Shopkick and Ibotta. Never heard of them? Search for them online. Shopkick gets you free gift cards and Ibotta gets you cashback on purchases. Speaking of cashback, use your credit cards to help as well. Discover card also gets you cash back just for using it. Purchase your food for the month or pay your bills with your credit card and pay it off before the end of the billing cycle and earn your points. Be mindful that Discover only gives cash back on certain items depending on the month. Other apps you may want to try are: Ebates, Groupon, Drop, Checkout 51, Gas Rewards Programs, Krazy Coupon Lady, etc.
5. Coupon! Buy sale and clearance items. Never spend full price on anything unless absolutely necessary.
6. If you’re not using it, unplug it. You’d be amazed how much phantom electricity is used by appliances that are turned off but still plugged in. And, don’t touch the thermostat. Find a decent temperature that won’t break your budget, dress appropriately and leave it alone.
7. Grow what you can. Fruits and veggies can be expensive so if you have space save money by growing your own.
8. Slow down. Did you know you burn less gas by going 55mph versus 65mph? Do yourself a favor and make fewer trips to the gas pump. 9. Ditch cable! Get an antenna, Netflix, etc. This also eliminates the need to go out and spend tons at the movie theater. Just think one trip to the theater could easily cost $30 if you factor in gas, ticket cost, snacks, food afterwards, and gas to get home. Just think what if you bought a $1.00 pack of popcorn from Dollar Tree and watched a movie on Netflix or a DVD from the clearance bin. Think of the savings!
10. Thinking of starting a business? Figure out a way to not have overhead costs such as renting or buying a space. Can the business be run from your home? Don’t forget to write off purchases for your business on your taxes along with the interest you pay on your student loans. Taking a loss the first few years of your new business is progress because you get to itemize deductions for the work you’ve done although you may not have made a profit. Your tax return will thank you.
These are just a few money saving tips not only for educators, but for anyone trying to find ways to save money.
Again, Happy New Year and I look forward to hearing about your successes in saving money this year.
©️ 2018 Bryan A. Ruffin