Apron Shirt in Black, wearing a 0, could easily have worn a 2 (also comes in white and red ) | Wedgie Icon Jeans, runs TTS, this exact color is sold out—love the raw hem on these | Block Heel Sandals, these come in a bunch of fun colors! | Indio Sunglasses, more colors and also available here | Large Saddle Bag, also love this one and this one | Petite Anna Locket in Gold
A few months ago, my credit card statement made me stop in my tracks—“I spent how much?!”
Normally, I consider myself a pretty frugal gal, but that month was the opposite. We had several trips, flights and I’d bought a whole new slew of clothes for Owen because he’d outgrown everything. So, I guess it happens here and there, but it made me a lot more aware of how much I’m spending each month.
I spent the next hour breaking down my bill to see where I could cut back for the future months and wanted to share my tips with you!
How to Save Money Each Month
Go Through Your CC Statement
First thing’s first—you gotta figure out where you’re spending your money to understand where you can make changes. I made columns for the following:
- transportation (CTA, gas, Uber/Lyft, etc)
- travel (if applicable that month)
- stuff for Owen (school, doctors, clothes, diapers, etc.)
- toiletries (beauty, makeup, CVS/Target runs)
- dining out (food, takeout, coffee, drinks, ice cream, smoothies)
- gym (membership, trainer, Owen’s swim classes)
- miscellaneous (all the random things that don’t fall into one of those)
In my breakdown, I quickly realized where I could cut back and also found two services that I used to use for work that I was getting charged for month after month. They weren’t huge expenses (around $37 a piece), but since I was no longer using them, I cancelled them—$75 back in my pocket! Nothing crazy, but every little bit counts!
I also love doing this because it allows me to see where I’m spending the most each month. Sometimes I’m surprised by what I find! Turns out I take Uber more than I realize! We also spend a fair amount on groceries, coffee and takeout.
Now, let’s get into the real tips!
Make Coffee at Home
There were a lot of charges from coffee shops on my bill! It only totaled about $91, but making my coffee at home and taking it with me, at least every once and a while, would save me a few bucks!
Shop Your Closet
Instead of shopping for new clothes, put yourself on hold for a month. I know it’s tough with a new season approaching, but I also think that pulling out last year’s summer favorites for the first time feels pretty exciting anyway.
Shop your closet and create new outfits from the pieces you already have. Dig around and you’re bound to find some piece you forgot you have. Pair a dress you love with a different pair of shoes and different handbag for a totally new look.
I recently did a major closet overhaul and only kept the things I love, it makes getting dressed such a pleasure! Plus, I can see all my stuff now!
If you do want to shop, opt for more affordable brands. One of my favorites is Everlane—where my top and shoes are from! They have literally everything from jeans to shoes to tops to dresses and their pricing is great! The quality is also awesome too!
Be More Strategic with Grocery Shopping
We’ve gotten in a bad habit of only shopping at Whole Foods. Not all bad, because I love that store! I can get EVERYTHING I need at one place and it has a ton of extras like supplements, high-quality meats and seafood, fresh baked bread, and baby essentials. I also love that they have local and organic options, but there’s no doubt it’s pricey.
This month, I’m been challenging myself to shop at Trader Joe’s more because they do have a great selection of organic produce, and then tons of the staple items like pasta, canned beans, marinara, eggs, frozen fruit (and cauliflower gnocchi!), rolled oats, and wine (the wine is so much cheaper here!). Oh, and the flowers are always such a good price!
The downside is that I’m not a big fan of their meat selection, so I still go to Whole Foods for meat, fish, and baby food since TJs hasn’t jumped on board that wagon yet.
For us, groceries is one of the biggest spending categories each month and it’s also the reason that I’ve been prioritizing meal planning each week.
Meal planning has saved us so much money because when I go to the store with no plan in mind, I end up buying more than we need. Stuff gets lost in the fridge and goes bad, which I hate because it makes me feel so wasteful.
Meal planning and grocery shopping on Sunday also saves me time during the week because I don’t have to make additional trips to the grocery and I’m less stressed because I already know what I’m cooking when dinnertime hits!
Buy in Bulk
When it comes to diapers, wipes, toilet paper and paper towels, I’ve found that buying in bulk saves money in the long run. Often you’ll get a discount for buying the big box. Plus, often times you’ll save on shipping costs if you make one purchase instead of 3!
I’ve actually found myself doing it with bath products we go through a lot like my favorite shampoo and conditioner, body wash, and body lotion. It’s nice to have one or two on hand in a pinch and I save on shipping when I purchase them at once vs. once every month.
Cut Back on Takeout
This comes in waves, but we try to only order takeout 1-2x a week, and usually on the weekend. But, there’s also plenty of nights where sh*t hits the fan and I’m too tired to make anything happen.
I’ve learned that this is just part of being a working parent, haha! I try to keep a few super simple meals in the freezer like soups, stews or sauces that I can easily heat up. Keeping simple ingredients like rice, beans, pasta and marinara ensures that you can make a super simple, yet healthy meal in a pinch too!
Dine Out Less
This used to be our biggest spending category before Owen and that’s because every weekend we’d go out to dinner and drinks—sometimes lunch too. That adds up quickly. Cutting out just one or two meals at a restaurant each week can make a significant difference!
What tips do you have for saving money each month? I’d love to hear!