Have you ever had a lot of life happen to you all at once? That's how our summer felt. One Tuesday afternoon I watched out our front window as a storm blew large chunks of our shingles off our house.
On Wednesday, we saw the telltale signs of a leak blooming on our son's bedroom ceiling. On Friday, the AC went out. I am not even joking. Then I got a flat tire.
Sometimes a lot of life happens all at once. Whew. And sometimes you need to build up some cash to pay for things like a new roof, an AC repair or new tires.
So my husband and really needed to pad our savings in order to fully fund our roof and pay ourselves back for the AC repair and new tire.
As you know we are a cash family, we like to pay for things using the money we have. You also know that I don't like talking about money specifics, but I know a lot of you are working toward a big goal, or simply just looking to build up your reserves. So I wanted to offer you some ideas. These are things we did so save money on top of our regular monthly savings.
1. We set a weekly savings goal
Your biggest savings asset is your income. I know that sounds super obvious. But sometimes you need to hear that. So each week (we get paid weekly) we set aside a little bit of money from each paycheck to go into savings. That meant we had less money to work with when budgeting but we were okay with that (see points 2 and 3).
We set up a separate savings goal and I always got a little adrenaline rush when I watched that number grow each week.
2. We spent $0 on entertainment
The two places we have the most control over our budget are groceries and entertainment. It's not like we spend heaps on either each month, but I knew we could cut back.
So we basically did away with our entertainment budget for about 6 months. Now before you think we just sat in our house and stared at the wall... we didn't. We found lots of free fun, we checked out movies from the library and we enjoyed each other's company.
It turns out you don't need to spend a dime to have fun. Plus, we had an upcoming vacation we had paid for before our roof damage. (One we had saved two years for!) So we had that to look forward to on days we felt bored.
3. We went bare bones on groceries
For a few months I basically only bought necessities. Milk and fresh produce were pretty much it. We have a pretty well-stocked pantry and our freezer was full from a Zaycon purchase earlier in the year.
We also had planted a pretty good garden and we have chickens. So we ate a lot of scrambled eggs and cucumbers from our garden. I realize not everyone has that advantage. But it's also a LOT of work, so that's the trade-off. I spent a lot of time in sweat.
Note: Some have asked if I truly saved the money because of the eat from the pantry challenge or if I had to spend more the following month to replace the food that we used. No. We did save all the money. For a few months we did eat from our pantry and once the money was saved we went back to our regular grocery budget.
We didn't spend more than our average to replenish our stock because I only buy things at rock bottom prices or use Amazon gift cards earned from swagbucks to buy pantry staples. Also, like I stated we garden and we have chickens so the food gets there because we grow it ourselves.
4. We sold all the junk
We got rid of about half our stuff when we moved into our house November 2014. But we still had a lot of stuff to sell.
It turns out people will pay a pretty penny for broken technology. Who knew? And I was able to sell some clothing I just didn't like anymore.
5. I upped my income
I am a work at home mom. I have a small marketing and virtual assisting business so I took on a few more jobs. I simply let my existing clients know I was accepting new clients and offered them a referral discount.
I also was able to increase my sponsored posts on this blog. Seriously guys, THANK YOU for reading this blog daily, for supporting me and for reading sponsored posts. I know they're not your favorite, but they do help my family and I only post from sponsors I love! Plus, you know, there's always a giveaway!
And I'm living proof for all you struggling bloggers that you can increase your reach and your income. So don't give up.
6. I cut household expenses
I took a long look at where we might be leaking funds. These places were our basic utilities and personal care products. I really tightened our energy consumption (I will talk about that here) to lower our electric and water bills.
I also found ways to get free diapers, wipes, toiletries and toilet paper or earn Amazon gift cards to pay for them. This cut a lot out of our budget each month. The money it freed up went straight into savings.
7. Don't get discouraged.
It took us six months but we were able to save $6,000. Of course NONE of this would have been possible if we weren't debt-free (except for our house). If we were making car, credit card and student loan payments, there would be NO way for us to save up all this cash.
Also, I don't want anyone to read this and get discouraged. I don't want you to look at this and think you would never be able to do this. You can. We aren't special. We aren't wealthy by western standards and we aren't overly smart. We just work really hard to save money. And I know if we can do it, you can do it (because like I said, we aren't special).
What about you? What are your tips for saving money fast?