Money. All I can think about right now is the Pink Floyd song “Money” as I write this post. (Thanks for that, Dad!) Money is a commodity that can be a struggle for some, the source of tension in marriage and something that can overwhelm our thoughts in the day to day.
As Americans, every single one of us has been born into a home where opportunities are abundant and we literally live in the richest country in the world. No matter how “poor” you may feel, or how much you want that next “big thing,” I promise if you look around you there are far more things to be thankful for than there are items for you to wish you had.
I am incredibly blessed to be married to a man who used to be an accountant who likes to save and budget and be money-conscious. Eric and I are big believers in balance. Balance in work, balance in our health, balance in our spending, balance in our eating and life as a whole. We have determined that the things we deem as important in this life together to spend our money on to be travel, date nights, and having a modest home that is good for entertaining.
Here are some of the practical ways that we try to be wise with our finances to help us afford the little luxuries in life like travel, date nights, and other things.
Tips to Save Money:
- We both love to entertain so we knew that having an open, nice home was important to both of us. Neither one of us is good at fixing up a home or DIY’ing much of anything, so we also valued finding a home that was move-in ready. One way that we saved to buy a home like this was by sacrificing where we lived for the first 7 years of our marriage. We lived in a small 2 bedroom condo until we moved out when I was 8 months pregnant. This allowed us to live below our means to save.
- We remember “life doesn’t consist in an abundance of things.” We always try to hold each other accountable for not “keeping up with the Joneses.” We act as a sounding board to stay in check that we don’t need the latest and greatest of anything. We just want to live life to the fullest surrounded by people and family that we love.
- We have a loose budget. Eric and I try to once a month talk through our finances and where we currently are. Saving money each month can be simple. He’ll tell me things like, if we can keep our grocery and food bill this month to around $X amount of dollars that would be ideal. Or things like to save for our trip this month, I’d like to try not to spend any money on clothing or extras this week for our family.
- Eric and I had a discussion before we got married about what number was our limit to spend without consulting the other. This number helps us stay accountable to discussing our finances and big things going on in our home and lives. Communication about this number is extremely helpful for us in our marriage and the way we view our finances and what’s going out and coming in.
- We search for coupon codes & buy used. My first blog 8 years ago was called “Saving Money & Living Life” because I LOVE the thrill of finding a lower price. Perhaps that’s why I still love finding you guys good deals when I spot them! (If you’re on my email newsletter, I send a deal or 2 with every email I send out!) When I found out I was pregnant for Leyton, I started looking for deals and scoping out prices almost immediately so I’d know what a good price for a car seat or high chair would be. Then when Black Friday or other big sales would happen, I would try to buy nursery furniture or other big purchases then. What I didn’t find on a great sale, I usually bought from our neighborhood’s buy sell or trade Facebook group or other sites like that. Here are some other ways to save money on everyday expenditures.
- We aren’t afraid to ask for a discount. As crazy as this may seem, I almost always ask when signing up for a service or purchasing something in a department store if they have any discounts available. I’ll say something like, “Do you have any coupons available I may not know about?” For instance, the other day just because I was friendly to the man changing the oil in my car and asked if he had a discount, he gave me 15% off. Eric also calls and renegotiates our rates with our cable company and other service providers.
- Join discount clubs. For instance, the Publix baby club is one of my favorites for coupons on things like milk, produce, deli department items, and meat!
- When we first started planning our trip to New Zealand, Eric started a separate savings account where each time we got our paychecks, a small percentage went into that fund so that by the time it was time for our trip, we were all set!
- Meal Planning: One of the expenses in your household every week that you have more control over than your cable, internet, phone, mortgage or car payments is your food bill. Eric and I set a weekly limit of about $70 that we try to stick around for groceries. We accomplish this by meal planning, going to the store with a list on hand, shopping at Aldi, and buying based on what’s on sale. This helps us save money in a big way!
- Cheap Date Nights: We love doing a blowout date night for anniversaries and special occasions but for our weekly to bi-weekly date night, we make a game of going to the place with the best coupon or deal that night to help us save money. For instance, we love going to BRIXX on Wednesday nights for their wine specials and we love going to Surin Thai food with a BOGO coupon. Sometimes we even just got out for apps and drinks or just dessert. We still get the experience of getting out of the house together but for a fraction of the price. We know if we are being wise with the way we spend money on our more frequent date nights then the occasions ones can be more special!
Need help creating a money management plan that works for you? Check out these tips from Allstate.
How do you save money to enjoy the splurges in life? I’d love to hear in the comments below!
This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. As the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most–but to guiding people to live the Good Life, every day.