How We SAVE Money on a Daily Basis

Bridget & CaseyJanuary 25, 2016 Comments

Let’s talk money. Already bored? We don’t blame you… often times just the thought of money planning = instant snoozefest.

We’re not here to spew our personal finances or give you life lessons on how you should or should not spend your money (not now, not EVER). Everyone has a very different situation and regardless of what yours is, we would never pass judgement because let’s face it, neither of us are perfect. But now that we’ve been blogging together for a few years and sharing a business bank account, we have come to realize that we have a very similar philosophy on money. Both of us believe in living within our means, which to us translates to only spending what we can afford…. even if that results in living with less. Of course we could always be better at this, but we take pride in only spending what we can afford and are PROUD of this lifestyleCrossbody-Bag

Since we’re all friends here, we figured you guys could probably relate and provide US (& fellow readers) with even more ways to stay within our own means. Plus, we thought this would be a great time for us to reflect on some of our own habits as we enter Frugal February  ( <– we’ll explain, we promise).

So here’s what we are hoping:

1. We share our tips on saving money from day-to-day in hopes that you read through our tips and are inspired to make confident decisions with your money. THEN…

2. You let us know (in the comments below) some of the steps you take to be financially responsible on an everyday basis, so we too can be inspired to try these out next month. Deal?!

Here goes… our everyday habits in making sure we never overspend:

Receipts-Change-MoneyTrack our Spending: Probably the best place to start when trying to establish what “your means” really even is, is tracking your spending habits. We keep track of how we spend our money each month so we never overspend, and also so we know how to adjust our spending next month. Both of us use our bank’s online banking system, Mint.com (FREE & amazing!), and for Casey, her husband (Mr. Finn-ance the excel whiz) to keep track.

mug coffee Make Coffee at home: Easy enough, right?! It’s crazy how much coffee can tack onto a monthly budget, so we both choose to make coffee at home before we leave for work rather than stopping and purchasing one each day. Of course sometimes we splurge on a Starbucks or a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. And if we’re being really crazy, we’ll sometimes even get together in a cute Chicago coffee shop to work on the blog, but those days are definitely “treats” and NOT the norm.

Money-Cash-CoinsEat in on weeknights & bring our own lunches to work: Just like the coffee, we try to make dinner at home… at least during the week. Actually for the record our amazing HUSBANDS make dinner at home throughout the week. Not only does this cut down on costs, it also helps our waistlines. The same goes for making our lunches and bringing them to work, instead of running out and spending $12 on a sandwich and chips. Bringing lunch = healthy, convenient, & cheap!

We also buy grocery essentials (frozen chicken, quinoa, frozen veggies, hummus, etc.) in bulk so it’s always on-hand and ready for our meals.

Casey-Couch-Family-Room-Pillows-BlanketShop Less: Specifically when it comes to shopping for clothes, neither of us spend a lot of money on clothes or buy clothes super often. In fact, you may be surprised to hear that Casey despises shopping… like really hates it. Crazy, right?!

As you know, we both live in small spaces and quite frankly do not have a lot of extra room to store lots of clothing. This is great for our wallets… maybe not so great for our fashion though?! We only buy what we really need or are literally obsessed with. And when that happens, we try to go by the rule of one in, one out of the closet (donate something from our closet whenever we add something new).

bridget-nyc-new-york-purse-phone(this dress is from Gap outlet for $11!! My bag is what I use for work and travel. It’s from Marshall’s)

Shop the Sales: When we do need to buy a few new items, we always try to look for sales. Some of our go-to clearance sections include: the LOFT (amazing sales all the time both in store and online), Banana Republic’s Clearance Section, Gap, J. Crew Factory store (although the sizing is a little weird sometimes… beware!), H&M, and good ol’ Marshall’s/TJ Maxx (more for B since Casey is not one to dig through the racks).

Built In boxes organization family roomDon’t tempt yourself: We’re guilty of this too, but HELL-O, if you spend an unnecessary $50 every time you walk into Target (because let’s be honest… how can you NOT?!) then try not to go there and tempt yourself as often (tough stuff, we know).

6-nightstand-charging-stationOnly buy what you’re OBSESSED with: This one is also a work in progress as we shop for home décor (and clothes!). There’s a difference between, “wow, that’s so cute” and “OMG, I am obsessed with this and really can’t imagine living without it“. A little dramatic but you get the point.

We try to ask ourselves this when we are out shopping because we really want to shop with intention and only bring things into our homes that we are OBSESSED with, not just items that are CUTE. We find that the items we tried to justify in the store or thought we would eventually love when we brought it home were the ones we ended up hating soon after. So if you’re not obsessed — walk away. #youcandoit

Fall Home Tour Family RoomLive with less: We actually love this idea more and more lately. With our small spaces, we truly do not have space to “collect” stuff. We have found that everything in our homes needs to have a purpose and a story (hopefully both!) in order for it to stay. Although we are not nearly perfect at this concept, we have found living with less is fulfilling. Our homes feel less cluttered, our financial goals seem more attainable, and we never-ever have to worry about living outside of our means. To us, the stress that would accompany a lifestyle of overspending is never worth the material item. And the challenge to love what you already have, rather than buying new, is pretty awesome.

Rookie4Are you snoozing yet?! We hope we didn’t bore you too much. Being financially responsible is something we take seriously in our lives and something we’re pretty proud of at the end of the day. Like we said, we are NOT even close to perfect but we are always looking for ways to be better. And that’s where YOU come in…. it’s time for us to pick your brain. What strategies or tips do you have to help us (and others tuning in) spend wisely + with intent? We’d LOVE, love, love to hear and hopefully put these new strategies into action for Frugal February! <– which reminds us!!

Coins-Money-Blog-FinancesFrugal February is a month where we try to REALLLLY live with less AKA not spend any money outside of the necessities (eek). Now that the year is started & we feel more organized after the holidays, we try to use February to save a few extra bucks and challenge ourselves to use/love what we already have. No dinners out, no new clothes, no unnecessary spending… just good ol’ fashioned fun. Think movie marathons, game nights in, and trying to get rid of all the built-up frozen food in the freezer. Are you in or what?! Bridget and Casey Signature

P.S. We randomly chose a winner for the $1,000 Interior Define Giveaway. Megan Clappe you’re the lucky winner. Please contact us by Friday, January 29th to claim your prize 🙂

 

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  • Alysia @ Slim Sanity

    We follow so many of these rules! We track every single penny that goes in and out of our bank account, and have a fairly detailed budget. We break out separate budgets for everything you could purchase. And unfortunately that also means I go shopping about twice a year—a far cry less than what I did before I tracked my money! Cash envelopes for budget, Dave Ramsey style, is definitely a life saver for our most frequented budgets. We also budget in extra student loan debt payoff. Seeing debt payments makes me wanna puke sometimes!

    • OMG… Love Dave Ramsey! I (Bridget) went to his Financial Peace University a few years back and felt so motivated to, “live like nobody else now, so I can live like nobody else later”. You go girl, keep up the great work!!

    • Alysia, hang in there! I felt the same way about my student loans, but it’s so freeing to have them gone now, We’ve got a little bit of business debt left before we’re completely debt free. It’s hard not buying stuff or saying no to some social stuff but again, so freeing in the long run.

  • Meaghan

    Love these tips! One of the big things we’ve noticed is that a bunch of friends and family are either getting married or having kiddos. (It’s that season). With this in mind, we budget for the extra expense of travel and gifts each month accordingly. This means if we know we are going to spend “xyz” on a gift that we should maybe not eat out/ shop for ourselves as much during the month.

    • These exciting things are happening in our family and friends’ lives too, and we agree that saving money for the exciting events is a priority. =) Good luck and thanks for sharing!!

  • Not snoozeworthy at all! These are great tips that me and my husband try to follow as well, and I’ll be the first to say that I rarely go into Target just because of the temptation to overspend. We also use our credit card for groceries and gas and pay it off immediately, but it’s helped us rack up points that we’ve used on airline tickets to visit family.

    • Awww, thanks so much… love your tips!! Thanks for sharing and for all of your support! =)

  • Completely agree!!!

  • This is a great post!! I follow most of these tips. I’m paying of student loans right now, but I plan to continue doing these things even when they’re paid off. If I can live like this now it shouldn’t magically change the day I pay off the last penny! Also, the second someone in my life announces a wedding or a baby to come I start budgeting for it – it’s so much easier to put aside even $5 more each month in order to give the gift that I would like to when the time comes than it is to try and make it happen in the month of the event.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing more posts about Frugal February!

    Sarah
    Sweet Spontaneity

    • We totally agree with that attitude! Maybe it’ll be a little easier to splurge on yourself once the loans are gone, but why not continue to live that conservative lifestyle in order to save?!

  • Wow… thanks for sharing this tip!!

  • I love these types of posts! Definitely agree on the not spending what you don’t have. Pretty much our financial motto, as well as being as frugal as (reasonably) possibly. I use software to keep track of all our spending, credit card activity, bank account stuff and so we know where all our money is going which is SO helpful when figuring out ways to cut. Looking forward to more posts on this!

    • Thanks Diana! Seems like you’ve got it all under control. You go girl!

  • Ashley Sorrick

    Great post!! I love all your tips! We usually never eat out on weekdays and always pack lunches which is a huge money saver! I try to always buy things on sale (except Homegoods ;))

  • Amanda Scott

    My only major thing I can control is my grocery budget, so I keep that in check by getting a produce box 3 of 4 weeks (most of the time it’s a great value for organic and/or local) and shopping only every other week – using coupons/sales and then Trader Joes for everything else. I try to always have something premade in the fridge so if I’m really tired I don’t have to order out.
    I didn’t know people ate out a ton until after college and honestly I can’t even imagine it – so much money and unhealthy!

    I’ve also started doing a kind-of-capsule wardrobe of 75 year round pieces (including shoes & coats), buying only clothing that works multiple seasons and is a good value. I made a list of things I still need so I can buy them on sale.

    • Amanda, that sounds awesome! Love the produce box. I’ve always wanted to try that!

      And the capsule wardrobe sounds great too. I keep seeing that and it makes me want to pare down.

  • Just another reason I love you ladies!!! Frugality for the win!!! Sure, I like reading blogs and magazines with unlimited budgets, but I would MUCH rather see how “normal” people can pull off living rooms and cute Christmas cards.

    Also, Casey, I HATE shopping (except Target). I would MUCH rather scrub baseboards than have to go jean shopping. 🙂

    • Elise, I’m so happy to hear I’m not alone! I seriously get so bored, and can never seem to bring myself to search through the racks. But I agree…Target is the only shopping I enjoy! Too funny. We need to be shopping buddies.

    • Yes, yes!!! It is so rare to find another shopping hater! 🙂

  • Trang

    You are reading my mind with Frugal February. I did a no drink-uary and that definitely helped with the finances! However, I’ve not been good at making deposits to my goal of saving using the ’52 weeks of saving in 2016′ plan (the reverse version where I start at week 1 and deposit $52 dollars into a savings account and the next week, it’s $1 less ($52) and so on). I’m a bit behind on that plan. Also unfortunate is the fact that I love shopping – online shopping! The in-store shopping gives me a headache (parking, cold weather, people). Especially in January when all the deals appear on winter stuff that I still need (or think I need). I did unsubscribe to a few online stores and no longer get emails from them to tempt me into their sales. That was a good step in the right direction. I should do that to ALL the online stores I like though. My recent obsession and maybe because it’s January is athletic wear! Why can’t I ever seem to have enough work out tank tops? I am going to use your method of ‘one in, one out of the closet’ rule. My dad used to have the rule for us growing up. I better practice this living with less since I plan on having a tiny house some day!

    • OMG — loveeee these tips! Thanks Trang & good luck with the 52 weeks of saving, what a great idea!