When we married in 2006, we immediately knew we needed to save money during our first years together. While my husband and I don’t follow any financial gurus, we’ve developed our own financial habits that have really helped us save.
Here are a few simple tips:
1) For nearly six years, neither of us had a cell phone plan. Instead, I had a pre-paid that cost $30 every 90 days, and my husband didn’t have a phone. I finally caved in last year because I desperately wanted an iPhone, and I regret it. Cellular plans can really add up over time, costing $2,000 to $3,000 or more during the duration.
2) We never buy name-brand groceries. We shop at a locally-owned discount grocery store. The store has the lowest prices around (yes, I have compared) and a great selection of produce and deli foods. We never buy name brand, instead, seeking out rarely-known “off” brands that are still made in the U.S. A great example is Calidad Tortilla Chips, which are manufactured in Irving, Texas. The are significantly less expensive than name brands and taste much, much better. (We pair the chips with a homemade salsa from his grandmother).
We also avoid sodas, drinking only water, juice and tea. A two-liter of soda usually costs around $2, while an equivalent amount of homemade tea costs around 25 cents.
3) We’ve never purchased anything on credit. We’ve bought two cars during our marriage, both used, but very study and dependable vehicles. However, both times we’ve saved up and not taken out loans. I actually started researching and looking for my truck about three years before I bought it.
4) We use an app called Mint. It’s an app that easily organizes expenses by category. We started using it about three years ago, and love it because everything is automatic. It’s connected to our bank account, so we never have to enter anything. All we have to do is monitor our activity.
5) We avoid impulse purchases. Standing at the register, we never, ever purchase soda or snacks. These can add up easily; resulting is $6 or more.
The most important thing to remember is that everyone has a different financial situation. These are a few things that have helped us, and are helping us continue to save along the way.