It’s no secret that adopting a plant-based diet can save you money. When you’re no longer buying processed foods and are making things from scratch, it’s easy! Sure, you may buy cookies or Gardein occasionally, but ultimately, eating vegan saves you money. But sometimes, things come up– parking tickets, unexpected fees, or a -cough- wedding. 😉 With parents in finance, I’m always looking for ways to save money, so going vegan was a great first step… but now what?
For a long time, I found it difficult to cut costs. I don’t really like shopping; any money I usually spend recreationally goes toward food or gas. So how was I supposed to save money? Sitting around clipping coupons seemed futile– I’d have to buy the newspaper, then clip coupons for things I don’t buy or need. That wouldn’t make sense.
So I evaluated what I was doing. Here are 10 ideas I’ve found and used to help cut costs from things I was already doing!
- Evaluate your purchases. Is there something you normally buy somewhere that can be found elsewhere for cheaper– i.e. are you buying deodorant at CVS for $2 more than you’d get it at Walmart, despite visiting Walmart once a week? Do you honestly need to dye your hair every month? Is that deep conditioner worth it, or would coconut oil do the same thing?
- Compare car insurance plans. I did this about a year into living here, when my car insurance company bumped my rates up significantly due to a large payout they had in the area. Nope nope nope! I happily skipped my way on over to the next office, and was back down to a much more reasonable rate.
- Install IBotta on your phone, and use it when you go grocery shopping. Using IBotta is like getting a rebate on a grocery item almost immediately after you purchase it. Before you shop, look through the app to see if there’s anything that you would normally buy in the stores you visit. Remember: it’s like a coupon. A coupon doesn’t truly save you money if you don’t normally buy the item. Once you’ve purchased the item(s) on your list within IBotta, scan your receipt. Within a day or so, your account should be credited. Once you’ve hit at least $25, you can redeem your credit for gift cards or money to go directly to your PayPal account.
- Switch your cell phone plan out for one with Republic Wireless. With plans starting at $15 a month, you can choose the phone and data that’s right for your needs, while running off of TMobile or Sprint cell towers at a much lower rate. I’d been paying over $80 a month with my Verizon plan, but with Republic, I pay $38, including the monthly rate for the phone itself. How crazy is that?!
- Cut out the cable– that is, for your TV. Want to watch the news? You can get local channels for free, but do you really need an expensive TV subscription? Probably not. Trade your DIRECTV for Netflix, save a ton of money, and binge watch shows at your own pace, whenever you want!
- I bet you have a gym subscription… and I bet you don’t use it. If you aren’t going to the gym on a regular basis, there’s no need to pay for a gym membership that costs as much as your car insurance. Still want access to a treadmill? Find a local Planet Fitness, and get a membership for as low as $10 a month.
- Hey ladies– need a dress to go to that wedding or a new outfit for work? Check out thredUP, an online thrift shop. Your grandma probably loved thrifting, but now it’s your turn– in the digital age. thredUP sells gently-used women’s and children’s clothing at steep discounts, and sometimes, the clothes are brand-new, tags intact! I love using thredUP to get high quality, well-made clothing at a price you just cannot beat.
- Meal-prep for weekday breakfasts and lunches. Make a big pot of chili, roast vegetables, or throw together overnight oats, and throw that in your bag. There’s no excuse for not being prepared and having to buy something last minute!
- Cut down on eating out. While it’s fun to try new restaurants, eating out all the time can get pricy. Think about it: you can easily make a meal for 4 people with $20. If you’re looking to save money, why spend more than that on two people, but multiple times a week? That’s crazy talk. Learn to cook at home, and you’ll save a lot of money.
- I’m about to sound like a nerd, but cut out alcohol. Dave and I don’t drink, and because of that, we save a lot of money. I mean, there are no real benefits to it, so why bother? Have fun without it. In our area, there’s a local bar where Dave used to go with work friends around once a week to have a beer together and eat bacon (seriously). When he and I started dating, I tagged along to socialize. Unfortunately, the people with whom we would go transferred (military town), so we stopped going… and Dave noticed it in his wallet. Even a couple of beers would end up being around $20 a go. If you’re going out once a week for a month and having a couple of drinks each time, you could end up saving around $100/month– that’s significant!
Questions for you:
What do you do to cut costs in your budget?
What meals do you like to meal prep? My favorite so far is pumpkin chili!