Brain storm savings ideas – 5 ways I cut down on expenses.

I love to brain storm ideas, so I really like this step. The next part of implementing these ideas is the difficult part. I find that putting a priority to each of the ideas will help with an implementation plan.

Implementation Plan

After you brain storm ideas on how to save money for each category you will want to create an implementation plan. Along with this plan is a goal – which is an actual amount that you want to get to in decreases in your monthly budget. This goal could also be as much as possible with no limit.

Stages on implementation Plan

What I did was over time come up with ideas on how to spend less, and put these ideas next to each category. Finally I assigned a priority to each of these ideas, 1-3, which represents the ideas I implement 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. I have implemented 1-3 and then added 4 of things I have lined up to implement in the next round. The implementation of these ideas is sometimes on going – like how much you spend on groceries and gas since prices are not static. Other times they are immediate like terminating a subscription.

Meeting Goals

In implementing my first 3 stages I was able to meet my goal to decrease my expenditures by about 75%, but as time marches on I might want to save even more. Which is why I have already lined up stage 4 ideas.

Threshold for implementing ideas

Sometimes it can be once you reach a certain threshold you then implement a set of ideas, like if the monthly income decreases beyond a point you then implement no more paid streaming subscriptions.

Once you create a list of your expenses and how much you spend monthly then you need to look at each one and determine the priority and come up with ways to spend less on each item. I usually create a notes column next to each item and brainstorm and write down each idea on how to spend less. Here are some examples from my own budget

Saving Brainstorming Ideas

Below are some of the savings ideas I had for my own budget that I was able to implement:

1. Phones:

Cell phone – find plan that costs less per month. For me and the number of lines I had and the fact that I wanted a no contract line I found US Mobile at the time was a good fit. I was able to decrease my monthly cost by $40.

Home phone – I determined that we never used this phone and I was able to terminate saving another $26 a month

2. Eating Out:

we hardly ever eat out any more, including my morning coffee which I now make at home. This is a huge savings. And if I do get coffee out I will usually bring a thermos since most places around me will let me fill up for a lower price than buying a cup of coffee (so long as it is not one of my gigantic thermoses even if I may want that much coffee 🙂

3. Groceries:

we create a weekly menu, since my kids each have a night to cook to help prepare them for when they are living on their own. We only buy what is needed for that weeks menu. Lately I have been going to the Providence market to take advantage of their program to get fresh fruits and veggies – as I mentioned in Step 2: item #6.

4. House supplies:

There are a few ways to save here. I have been trying to convert to using more cloth towels but finding some resistance from others in the household 😉 I do crochet my own dish scrubbers and make my own spray cleaner. I sweep and mop daily using my homemade products. We have been buying the throw away dusters, so I plan on moving towards re-usable dusters where you take the end off to wash. When I have to buy at the store I look for lower cost items, coupons, and sales. For example I find deodorant, Soap, and sometimes toothpaste at TJMaxx at a better price than other stores. There is also the dollar store and in our area Job Lot that you can sometimes find lower prices. So the point here is to shop around and find the best prices. My daughter has decided to make her own deodorant and body scrub. So, for presents we get her ingredients to make these items like essential oils. Also if you pay to throw out your trash then reducing the trash through composting and recycling might help. This is something that usually requires buy-in from everyone in the house hold.

5. Presents:

In my household I gave a heads up in spending less on presents and instead focusing more on handmade presents. I find that it is very helpful to come up with a list of present ideas ahead of time, which cuts down on the buying as you go since that always ends up spending more. The ways that I try to save when getting presents for birthday’s, Christmas and other holidays are listed below.

a. I make items. Some items I make are: crochet scrunchies, wash cloths, hats, scarves, ½ mitts, dish scrubbers, and blankets. I also put together gift baskets with homemade items and some store bought finds. One basket was a movie night. I took some of the bulk popping corn I had and filled up a few jars, bought the $1 DVD movie from discount stores, and found a really nice fluffy blanket at a discount store and put together as a movie night basket. You can also create cookies or any baking mix (using dry ingredients rather than an actual mix since it costs less) in a jar with a wooden spoon and maybe a homemade pot holder tied with a ribbon for a gift. Make sure to include a recipe on how to create the delicious mix.

b. Find coupons and sales – and yes shop Black Friday & Cyber Monday, but only if it is on my shopping list.

c. Re-purpose items. Other times I can re-purpose items that I have. Like I had a book that I know my Mom would love and gave it to her as a gift.

d. Give less than I use to, set a budget for each person.

e. Give experiences: Sometimes it is not an item but an action or experience – like redoing someones room with a little elbow grease and some in-expensive decorating ideas. Or a coupon book of experiences like picnic, going to the beach, going on a hike or some other experience like a museum that you might be able to get at a discount. Also may be a coupon book of chores that you will do.

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