Whether you’re making six figures a year or scraping by on minimum wage, we all like to save some money when we can.
As I always like to say – “Why would you pay more when you can pay less?”
Although I love to save money, there are certain areas of my life where I definitely wouldn’t consider myself a frugal person.
For example, when we go on vacation I like to stay in a nice hotel and I’m willing to pay a bit extra to do that (within reason.) Additionally, we like to try and eat healthy and as much as it annoys me, healthy food can often be more expensive than pre-packaged junk.
Those are two things I don’t mind spending a bit of extra money on, but I still find ways to save on them, too.
I’m sure you probably have things you like to spend a bit of extra money, and that’s fine. The key is to make sure you’re not spending beyond your means, and to look for ways to save money even in the areas you like to splurge on.
With that being said, I’m going to share 5 ways I save $5000 ever year, while still getting to enjoy the things I like.
5 Things I Do To Save $10,000 Every Year
1. Stopped Paying For Cable
I’ll admit it – there are a number of TV shows that I enjoy binge-watching (namely 90 Day Fiance, Real Housewives of Orange County, Sister Wives and almost everything on the ID Channel.)
Additionally, my husband is a big college basketball fan who loves watching his beloved Kentucky Wildcats.
So the idea of cancelling our cable subscription was something that we were adamantly against for years.
We assumed that without cable, there’s no way we’d be able to have easy access to our favorite shows, and that wasn’t something we were willing to give up, despite the cost-saving benefits.
It wasn’t until I opened a cable bill and realized that it had increased yet again, that I decided to explore cable alternatives again.
Paying $179/month for cable was exorbitant in my opinion, so I was determined to find a way to cut the cost significantly, while still having access to everything we wanted.
And when I realized just how easy that is, I was kicking myself for paying $179/month for so long.
This is how I cut my cable subscription but still got access to my favorite shows:
- Bought one of these
- Downloaded the Philo app
- During college basketball season, downloaded the CBS app then cancelled the subscription after the season ended
The Philo app costs $20/month and the CBS app (which we only subscribe to for a few months) costs $5.99/month.
I then cancelled my cable subscription (which was an internet/cable bundle.) I switched to a different internet service provider at a cost of $50/month.
The total monthly cost of this setup is $70/month, and $76/month during college basketball season.
That’s a savings of $109/month ($103/month during basketball season) which is a significant amount of money!
Total yearly savings: $1272
2. Meal Plan
This is another money-saving strategy that I was admittedly hesitant about.
However, after reading a Facebook thread where people were sharing how much money they spent on groceries every month, I realized that I was probably spending too much.
This was because my grocery shopping routine used to go something like this:
- Go to grocery store
- Buy whatever looked good
Yep, that was it. I never took a list, I didn’t check to see what I already had in the pantry, and a I certainly didn’t plan my meals in advance.
As such, I can’t count the amount of times I would come home, start putting everything away and realize that I already had two packets of pasta or three bottles of sriracha sauce in the pantry.
So I decided that every Friday evening I would create a meal plan and corresponding grocery list.
And guess what?
I lasted maybe 2 weeks.
Trying to come up with budget-friendly, delicious meal ideas for the entire week was extremely tedious and while I definitely noticed that I saved money doing so, I just couldn’t stand doing it!
$5 Meal Plan has been my savior.
Discovering this service was one of the best things I’ve done. For just $5/month, you receive a weekly meal plan and corresponding grocery list.
All of the meals are healthy, family-friendly, budget-friendly and quick and easy to make. They also have gluten-free, vegetarian and paleo plans available.
Meal planning has significantly cut down my grocery spending. I used to spend around $200/week on groceries, and now it’s about half that.
Total yearly savings: $5200
3. Use Money-Saving Apps
Did you know that there are tons of apps that you can download to make and save money from your smartphone?
I have at least 10 apps on my phone that I use on a regular basis, and over the past few years I’ve made (and saved) a significant amount of money from them.
One of my absolute favorite money-saving apps is Ibotta.
Ibotta is a free app that gives you cash back on your grocery store purchases. You can also earn referral credits for referring friends to the app.
Since joining Ibotta, I’ve made over $2000 (did I mention I love this app?)
Total yearly savings: $1000
4. Book My Hotels Through Hotwire
As I mentioned above, hotels are something I don’t mind spending extra on. I love to travel (hence the name of this site) but when it comes to hotels, I like staying somewhere that feels, well – like I’m on a vacation.
In other words, I want a big, plush bed with high-quality sheets and a nice, spacious bathroom. It doesn’t have to be the Ritz-Carlton but I don’t want to stay in a 1-star $30/night motel, either. And since I travel with my 3-year-old son, this has become even more of a priority for me.
A while ago, a friend told me about the travel booking site, Hotwire. I’d seen the ads before on TV, but I just thought it was a typical booking site.
At the time, we were planning a trip to Washington DC for a few days, so I decided to see if I could save some money through Hotwire.
Booking with Hotwire is very simple, but you do have to be willing to take a bit of a gamble, because you won’t find out what hotel you’re staying at until you’ve book and paid.
I was hesitant for this reason, but it’s actually not as scary (or risky!) as it sounds.
While you can’t find out the exact name of the hotel before you book, you’ll either be shown a selection of 5 hotels, one of which is the hotel you’ll be staying at, or you’ll be shown a selection of chains (think Marriott, Intercontinental, etc.,) and your hotel with be one of those.
For our DC trip, we were lucky enough to get the Kimpton George Hotel, a beautiful boutique hotel, for just $99/night.
I immediately went to their website to see how much I would have paid if I had’ve booked directly through their site. The quoted rate for the nights we booked was $158/night, which meant we saved $59/night.
Hotwire is now the first place I go when I’m planning our vacations, and have been incredibly happy with the service and prices.
We travel quite frequently, so booking through Hotwire saves us a significant amount of money every year.
Total yearly savings: $1500
5. Stopped Buying Expensive Skincare Products
After giving birth to my son, my hormones were completely out of whack and it wreaked havoc on my skin.
Prior to giving birth, I’d always had fairly clear skin but after – let’s just say that I resembled a teenager going through puberty. Tons of spots on my forehead, dry patches, oily patches – my skin had no idea what it was supposed to be doing haha!
I can joke about it now, but at the time it was pretty depressing. No amount of makeup could cover it up (and often made it look worse) so I set out to find a solution.
I tried virtually every expensive skin care product I could find (I drew the line and buying this cream though – no way am I paying that much for a jar of face cream.)
I was spending an average of $100/month on face cream and barely noticed a difference. I *might* have noticed a slight improvement, but I’m honesty not sure if that was just wishful thinking.
One night I was laying in bed and a random memory popped into my head. Years ago, I remembered reading an article in a magazine where the Australian model Miranda Kerr said that she used rosehip oil on her face.
I immediately grabbed my phone and ordered this exact bottle from Amazon and as soon as it arrived two days later (thanks Amazon Prime) I started using it morning and night.
I’m a pretty skeptical person so I wasn’t expected miraculous results, but I was pleasantly surprised.
After only a couple of days of use, my skin felt less angry. After a month or so the spots on forehead had almost completely disappeared.
And now, after about six months of daily use, my skin is back to how it was before I gave birth and the best part is, I’m using a natural, chemical free product that is a fraction of the price of expensive skin creams.
One bottle of my favorite Radha rosehip oil lasts about two months which means I spent less per year than what I used to spend per month.
Total yearly savings: $1100
By doing these 5 simple things, I save around $10,000/year. And the best part is, they’re painless and I don’t feel like I’m living extremely frugally or missing out on the things I enjoy!
Do you have any other things you do (or don’t do) to save money? Let me know in the comments!