Save your money AND Spoil Yourself!
Since starting my second year off on maternity leave (don’t worry, I don’t get paid!), we’ve been working really hard to save money and cut back on certain things. Now I’ve always been a frugal person and so we really don’t spend a lot of money on consumer items—but being human, of course we like to spoil ourselves with small comforts that make us happy. Unfortunately, I’ve come to realize very recently that these small comforts add up to a lot of money leaving your wallet. I challenge you all to look back at the your last month’s bank statement and add up all the small debits at the convenient store, coffee shop, book store, fast food joint, local diner etc. and I promise you will be shocked at how much it actually adds up to. I looked at our statement from last month this week and almost keeled over!! I pride myself on being a smart spender yet I still managed to blow a couple of hundred dollars on small things, here and there.
Now I’m not saying you’re not allowed to go for coffee or breakfast…I’m just suggesting there are ways you can be creative and still enjoy these comforts without breaking the bank.
Let’s have breakfast in!: One of the favorite things my husband and I like to do on weekends is go for breakfast. We have this favorite diner that serves delicious home cooked breakfasts like waffles and eggs benedict, things we don’t make at home. Having a small child, it’s always a treat to go out and have a nice meal, but I’ve realized this ritual adds up to over $100 a month if we go every weekend.
Last Saturday, my husband woke up and said he felt like waffles. Our first instinct was to think of where to go out for breakfast. Luckily my willpower kicked me and reminded me we are trying to save money. So, I decided instead to search UsedVic for a waffle iron as we didn’t have one and make a yummy waffle breakfast at home. Unfortunately, to my surprise, no one was selling one (they must be a hot commodity these days!) so I hopped in the car and headed to the nearest Sally Ann and voila…it was my lucky day and I scored a large waffle maker for only $6!!!
My mom sent me this amazing recipe for the best waffles so I whipped up a batch, poured the batter onto our newish waffle maker and after a few trials, we had delicious, fluffy waffles for breakfast that cost us a fraction of what it would in a restaurant. Plus, we can now make waffles whenever we want! For added fun, you could also have one person pretend to be a server.
Become a Barista!: Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting a change in your career path. What I am suggesting is that you make your own coffee at home rather than buying it each day at your favorite coffee spot. This is a bad habit I know very well…when I was working I would hit the drive-thru at Timmie’s every morning and buy my large double-double for $1.87. This would add up to almost $60 a month or $720 a year spent just on coffee that I could easily make at home as I do own a coffee maker like most of you.
Now I know what some of you are going to say next, “I don’t drink regular coffee, I like to have a latte every morning.” If this is true and your favorite spot is somewhere like Starbucks, then you are easily spending $4 each day which adds up to $120 a month or $1440 a Year!!! (That’s a trip to Vegas!!!)….But you don’t have to. My dad actually gave me this next idea…invest in an espresso machine! He has a favorite local coffee shop he likes to visit every day. Recently he decided to cut back on spending and so he bought an espresso machine. He absolutely loves it and is elated that he now knows how to make lattes, mochas and americanos! Every time I come over, he offers to make me a coffee creation from Mr. Sprinkles Coffee Shop (Sorry, inside joke but If enough people ask, I may tell the story behind the name!) and his coffees taste just as good as my favorite coffee shop! And to stay loyal to his favorite local coffee shop, he still buys the beans from them. It’s a win-win situation!
Yes it will cost you a bit of money at the beginning but you will easily save hundreds of dollars in a year plus you get to pick up a new hobby and feel proud when you create the perfect latte each morning. You can save even more money by buying one used like this espresso machine I found on UsedVic for only $20!!! Seriously only $20! Sorry but I may be buying this one today for myself as my hubbie likes fancy coffee…’cause he’s fancy.
Saving money can actually be fun if you’re creative about it. And just think, by cutting back on going out for coffee and meals, you’re also forcing yourself to learn new things. I had no idea how to make waffles which you would think are easy right? Wrong! My first batch stuck to the waffle maker, my second batch was raw in the middle but my third batch were perfection and I was so proud I made them. I’d love to hear your ideas on other creative ways to save money while still spoiling yourself with the little things in life.
Coupon Tip of the Week: Coupons…don’t leave home without them! I’ve mentioned before that it’s important to stay organized with your coupons and purchase a binder to keep them all in. Whenever you are planning to go to the grocery store or pharmacy, make sure to bring this binder with you. You never know what deals you might find in the clearance sections and you’ll be kicking yourself if you see a product on sale that you could get free IF ONLY you had brought your coupons with you! And if you feel a bit weird carrying around a large binder in the stores, just put it in a recycleable grocery bag to hide it.