I’ll admit it, when I was in a full time job with regular pay I never worried about money. I’m a fan of brand names, especially in clothes and accessories. The Coach store regularly calls my name and I love nothing more than high end jeans. My clothes budget per month was needless to say pretty much limitless. For most of my adult life, if I wanted something, I bought it without hesitation. Now, you are probably thinking I’m spoiled, but the truth is, as part of a couple with two good incomes and no children, what else was I going to spend my money on? All that changed when I threw in the towel on my full time job and struck out on my own as a freelance writer.
What I realized is that while working from home has its perks – like setting my own schedule, deciding who I work with and not having to dress up every day, it has its downfalls too. My income – at least starting out has been greatly cut. To adjust to this I had to make some big changes. Here are some things that I’ve done to save money – maybe they can help you too.
Cut out coupons. I’ve never been one to cut coupons, but one of the things my husband and I decided to cut down on was our grocery budget. I am continuously amazed by how much money I save from using coupons found in the Sunday paper. Just this week I saved $30 at the grocery by using coupons.
Buy store brands. At the grocery, instead of buying the known brand names, I have switched to buying store brand items. The savings are as big as $2-$3. It’s amazing and with the exception of a few things, the food tastes just as good.
Use a store card. This is easy, but again I never thought of it. There are so many discounts offered at the grocery and other stores when you use their store card.
Don’t eat out. Okay, this one has been hard for me. I love nothing more than grabbing a bite to eat and washing it down with a cocktail. In the last few months I have gone from eating out three to four times a week to eating out two to three times a month. It’s getting easier, as I learn to cook and it’s starting to be fun to experiment in the kitchen.
Shop around. This applies to clothes and gadgets. Where I once would just purchase something on the spot, now if I see something I want, I shop around to find the best deal. There are a lot of deals that can be found online too.
Don’t buy brand named clothes. This is hard. I love Steve Madden shoes, Ugg boots, Seven Jeans and Express, but sacrifices must be made. Now instead of buying up the newest line at Express, I go to places like TJ Maxx where I am able to find good deals on clothes that are fashionable and fit just as well. Sometimes they even have brand names.
Sign up for mailing lists. I hate receiving junk mail, but it is worth it when I get great coupons in the mail. Stores like Bath and Body Works, and New York and Company regularly mail out great coupons when you sign up for their mailing list.
Don’t impulse shop. Nowadays, I never go to the mall or store without a clear idea of what I need. When I need something, I go shopping look for what I need and if I don’t find it I leave empty handed. I don’t buy things just to buy something.
Clean out your closets. I have never done this before, but last week I decided it was time to figure out what I really needed clothes wise for the winter and what I can do without this year. Surprisingly what I found was that I don’t need much. I literally had clothes with the price tags still on them or clothes that I had completely forgotten that I had.
Organize a clothes swap. My love for Coach purses will probably never go away, but fortunately, my friends all love Coach too. So we are having a clothes and accessory swap. We are all gathering a handful of things that we will trade with one another. This makes it feel like we are getting something new and fresh without having to go buy it.
These things have enabled me to work from home and do something that I love. What do you do to save money?