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As a new year takes off, we all have goals. One of the number one goals or resolution is to get in better financial shape. I am sharing my top money-saving tips with you because I love saving money. There’s truly something exhilarating about watching your savings account grow and your monthly debits shrink!

Top money-saving tips:

Create a budget.

First things first. You have to know where your money is going. If you don’t, you won’t know how much you are actually spending.

A budget is simply a plan that tells your money what to do.

Budgets are often avoided because they seem difficult and restricting, but the truth is when you have a budget in place and know how to work it, it’s very empowering! If you need help getting started with your budget, a good place to start is with The Intentional Mom’s 5 Day Budget Bootcamp.

>Related article: The Best Budgeting Move You’ll Ever Make .

Cut cable.

The average American family spends $60 a month on cable, that’s $720 a year! I don’t know about you, but $60 is a big deal to me, and $720 certainly is. That’s an extra mortgage payment, a car payment, or a weekend getaway.

With technology what it is today, there are many alternatives to having cable tv. Personally, we have used Netflix, Prime, and Pureflix (these range from $10-$13 a month) as our means of entertainment, along with free apps like Disney, PBS kids, Nick Jr., Filmrise, and Roku TV offered through our Roku. Granted, you must have high-speed internet to take advantage of streaming channels such as these.

The problem with cutting cable? No sports. So if you have a sports lover in your home, you might want to check out this article from The How-to Guru for more alternatives to cable.

Eat at home.

This is probably a very close second to cutting cable. According to an article by CNBC, Americans spend an average of $3000 a year on eating out. That’s $250 a month!

If the average American family is 3.14 persons, then that means that my family of 10 (on an equal scale) would spend over $700 a month just on eating out. Ya’ll, “I ain’t doin’ it!” (Heather Land)

So how do you avoid the eating out trap? You have to have a plan. Like a meal plan.

>Related article: 9 Grocery Shopping Basics to Help You Save at the Store

It’s true; I have a love/hate relationship with meal planning. I do not love it, but I hate when I don’t have a plan. Click HERE for a step by step guide to how I meal plan each week. The only thing that has changed since I shared the grocery shopping method sure to save you money is that I now use the Wal-mart online grocery pickup. Hallelu! And all the people said, Amen!


Cook from scratch.

There is a myth that cooking from scratch equals standing in the kitchen for hours over difficult recipes. Wrong!

True, it does take a little more time, but not hours–not even close! I’ve made muffins and waffles and/or pancakes once a week for so long now that I know the recipe by heart.

Find a simple recipes that you all like, and stick to those.

>Related article: 6 Favorite Go-To Meals | Quick, Easy, Budget Friendly

Check out books and movies from the library instead of buying.

I love books, so I get it! However, you can check out books for free from the library, both hardbound and ebook format. Check out your library’s website for information on checking out ebooks. This is my new favorite thing!!

The same goes for movies. Generally, the movies aren’t the newest ones, but our family has found some real gems in our library’s selection.

Use cash.

If you use the envelope system recommended by Dave Ramsey, you will most likely spend less. The idea is that you see actual money and see it dwindling; therefore, you are more likely to put on the brakes!

You have a set amount in your cash envelopes, so when it’s gone; it’s gone. For us, it helps us to plan more carefully, and slow our spending when the cash gets low. The trick it to not go use your debit card when the cash is gone. You have to make yourself not spend anymore. Adopt the motto, “When it’s gone; it’s gone.”

Delay gratification.

Just don’t buy it–yet. I find that if I wait a day or two before purchasing that thing I think I HAVE to have, I decide that it’s not worth spending money on after all. And sometimes? I forget about it anyway…literally forget. Super important buy, right?

Sign up for Ratuken and Swagbucks.

Like today, friend! 

I had no idea until recently that these even existed, and upon first discovering them, I was skeptical, thinking they had to be some sort of scam. They are actually legit ways to get cash back! Over the last year, I’ve gotten three “big fat checks” from Ratuken, and I’ve redeemed two gift cards from Swagbucks. All you have to do is shop!

What about messing up?

Let’s be honest. Sometimes you just want to eat that burger from the drive-thru, and it’s hard to pass up. You know what? It’s ok to give in sometimes…IF you have money in your “eat out” envelope!

Truth: Saving money isn’t easy! While it can be done, it can also be frustrating and consuming at times. It takes work and dedication to save money.

Here’s the thing: you are going to mess up. That’s were grace comes in. Give yourself a break, forgive YOU, and get back up and try again. I can’t tell you how many times on our journey to financial freedom that we’ve screwed up and made stupid and rash decisions causing us to waste money. It happens. But you get back on track and keep pushing forward!

For more practical ways to save money, check out the post I shared on The How-to Guru’s website!

What is your favorite way to save money? Tell me in the comments.