Month: February 2019

  • The 8 Best Personal Finance Books to Read in 2023

    I love to read, so it’s no surprise that when I was finally ready to tackle my finances, I turned to books to help me.

    These days most of us have some serious personal finance goals that we’re trying to meet. More of us are graduating from college loaded with debt, and just the idea of homeownership seems out of reach, not to mention retiring someday.

    No book can change your life – you have to do that. But you might find the right book that can give you the information and motivation to change your life for yourself. The books on this list did that for me!

    In this post, I’m sharing the eight best personal finance books to read in 2023 if you’re ready to transform your finances.


    The Best Personal Finance Books to Read in 2020

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.


    Broke Millennial by Erin Lowry

    One of my biggest complaints about personal finance tips and books about money that I’ve read before is that they often aren’t written for a millennial audience. And thanks to student loans and the financial climate we’ve started our careers in, millennials really face different financial challenges than previous generations.

    If you’ve run into the same problem, then this is the book you’ve been waiting for.

    In this book, author Erin Lowry dives into real-life issues that millennials are facing when it comes to money. Some of the topics include student loans (obviously!) and addressing whether we millennials will ever be able to retire.

    She also dives into some of the more personal issues surrounding money such, as young adults moving back in with their parents and the topic of money in friendships and romantic relationships.

    Broke Millennial is the best beginner personal finance book I’ve come across, and it’s one I tend to gift people when they decide to start taking control of their finances.


    I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

    This book by Ramit Sethi is one of the more big-picture books on saving money and budgeting. Like Broke Millennial, this book is super comprehensive and would be a great starting point for personal finance beginners.

    In the book, Sethi covers four major pillars of personal finance: banking, budgeting, investing, and saving.

    One of the things that makes this book stand out amongst others is that Ramit literally gives you a roadmap for turning your finances around. There’s no guesswork involved once you’ve read his six-week plan.

    I love this book because so much of the advice he shares are tips that you can literally do today. As I was reading it, I found myself taking lots of notes and taking immediate action on some of the items. 

    It’s also very comprehensive, so you’ll be able to use this book for many areas of your life for years.


    The Simple Path to Wealth by J.L. Collins

    The Simple Path to Wealth: Your road map to financial independence and a rich, free life: Collins, J L, Mustache, Mr. Money: 9781533667922: BooksInvesting is one of the most important parts of personal finance, and The Simple Path to Wealth is the best book I’ve come across on the topic.

    The author of this book, J.L. Collins, is a personal finance blogger who reached financial independence and then started a blog to help others do the same.

    He takes a simple approach to investing, and he shares that approach in this book. When you’re finished reading, you’ll have all the information you’ll need to set up the investment plan that will help you retirement comfortable (hopefully years before you reach the traditional retirement age).

    While J.L. Collins is older than many of the other online content creators I go to for advice, he often speaks to a younger audience. In fact, the impetus for his blog and book was that he wanted to pass along his investing knowledge to his daughter. Because of that, it’s extremely useful for those in their twenties and thirties or anyone who may be early on in their investing journey.


    You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero

    I loved Jen Sincero’s book You Are a Badass, and this follow-up book on money mindset definitely doesn’t disappoint either.

    In this book, Sincero shares her personal money journey. She talks about overcoming her bad money habits and her negative money mindset.

    This pulled me in right away because so many of the negative thoughts about money that Sincero said had held her back are thoughts I have had about money too.

    I love that she wrote the book from her own personal experience, and I genuinely think everyone can find something in this book that really hits home with them, from identifying the money beliefs that are holding you back to transforming your relationship with money.

    Finally, I just love Sincero’s writing style and sense of humor, which made it really easy to read.


    Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach

    I first discovered this book by David Bach when I listened to him being interviewed on a podcast. He was talking about the unique financial needs that women have as a result of the pay gap, our longer life expectancies, and the fact that men have traditionally controlled family finances.

    It was so eye-opening for me, and I bought Smart Women Finish Rich right away.

    In this book, the author all of the financial steps that women should take at various parts of life to prepare for the future. He walks you through advice for saving for short-term and long-term goals, as well as ensuring you’re able to retire someday.


    Your Money Or Your Life by Vicki Robin & Joe Dominguez

    Rather than giving you a step-by-step plan for your money, as some of the others on this list do, this book is primarily about figuring out your relationship with money and creating financial goals based on your personal values.

    The big takeaway from the book is the question, “How much money are you willing to trade your life for?”.

    The authors of the book really emphasize that making money is what you need to build a life that makes you happy. So why would you do something that makes you unhappy in order to earn more money?

    And if you decide you’re willing to earn less money to achieve true happiness and earn back more of your time, then this book can help you create spending habits that align with your new budget.


    The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel

    The Psychology of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness: Housel, Morgan: 9780857197689: BooksThe older I got, the more I realized just how much of a psychological component there is to money. The fact is that we don’t always make rational decisions with our money. Instead, we make decisions with our emotions. And our backgrounds are a major factor that help shape our emotions around money.

    In The Psychology of Money, the author explores the different ways people think about money. He illustrates each of these topics with a real-life story of someone who either won or lost with money and what actions and emotions may have contributed.


    Financial Feminist by Tori Dunlap

    Financial Feminist: Overcome the Patriarchy's Bullsh*t to Master Your Money and Build a Life You Love: Dunlap, Tori: 9780063260269: BooksIf you follow personal finance creators on social media, then you’ve probably heard of Tori Dunlap. She frequently goes viral on Instagram and TikTok for her personal finance content on her platform, Her First $100K.

    Tori and her content are unique from others you’ll find online in that she starts her advice by acknowledging some of the obstacles that are standing in our way of financial freedom. As a financial feminist, she focuses on the societal and structural roadblocks that are in place that uniquely affect women and other communities often underserved in the personal finance community.

    In the book Financial Feminist, the author shares a judgment-free approach to help you overcome the obstacles standing in your way and succeed with your finances. She addresses topics like paying off debt, spending mindfully, saving and investing, and more.

    Tori’s book also includes journaling prompts and interviews with money experts.


    Final Thoughts

    There are so many more personal finance books I could recommend to you, but these eight are an amazing starting point. They cover the basics of personal finance, from mindset to practical steps you can take today.

    If you have any personal finance books that you love, leave them in the comments so we can check them out!

    Looking for additional personal finance content? Be sure to check out my post on the best personal finance blogs for women.

  • 11 Financial Goals to Set to Make 2023 Your Best Year Ever

    If I’m being honest, I haven’t always had my financial shit together. I spent much of my twenties struggling financially and waiting for things to turn around.

    But like other areas of your life, you aren’t likely to succeed financially without having direction and something specific to work toward. And once I started getting specific with my financial goals, I actually started achieving them. Slowly but surely, my financial life turned around.

    Setting financial goals can be easier said than done. If you’re new to working on your finances, you may not know just where to start. To help you start your money journey, I’m sharing a list of financial goals to set for yourself to make 2023 your best year ever.


    financial goals to set

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.


    Short-term financial goals vs. long-term financial goals

    Before we dive into the list of financial goals to set, let’s talk about the two types of financial goals: short-term and long-term goals.

    Short-term goals are more immediate and will probably be a priority in your budget. They can include goals that range from just a few months away to several months away.

    Long-term financial goals, on the other hand, are generally at least five years out. Some can even take decades to reach, such as retirement or buying your dream home. You may have some long-term goals you haven’t even started saving for yet, and that’s okay.

    It’s important to know whether your goals are short-term or long-term. Not only is it helpful to have a realistic expectation for when you can reach your goal, but it also helps determine how you’ll prioritize, save, and invest for them.


    Financial goals to set in 2023


    I’m pretty sure all of us, at some point, have hoped we could get our finances in order without a budget. But I’ve got some bad news for you: budgeting is the very cornerstone of reaching just about any other financial goal.

    When I first started working on my finances, I tried and failed at budgeting several times. But once I found the right method, it all came together.

    Not sure where to start on your budget? Here are a few articles that can help:



    Buiding an emergency fund should be one of the first financial goals you work on when you start getting your finances in order. In fact, it will make all of your other goals more achievable, because it will ensure that an unexpected financial emergency doesn’t completely derail your plans.

    An emergency fund is designed for two purposes. First, it can help you cover any unplanned expenses. Second, it can help replace your income temporarily if you lose your job.

    Not sure how much to save? A general rule of thumb is that you should save between three and six months of your monthly expenses.



    When I started working on my finances, one of the first things I did was choose a few personal finance books to read. There are so many to choose from, some of which have become best sellers because of how many people they’ve helped.

    Of course, no personal finance book can turn things around for you — you still have to do the work. But they can give you the steps (and the motivation) to help you turn your finances around yourself.

    Read More: The 7 Best Personal Finance Books to Read This Year



    Your credit score is one of the most important numbers related to your personal finances. Think of your credit report as a report card and your credit score as a grade that shows lenders how responsibly you use debt.

    So just why is your credit score so important?

    Lenders use this number when deciding whether to lend you money, as well as the interest rate at which to lend it. The better your credit score, the more likely banks are to lend you money or give you a credit card. And since a good credit score can also land you a lower interest rate, increasing your credit score can help you save money.

    The best way to boost your credit score is to pay your bills on time. A late or missed payment can have a major negative impact on your credit score.

    There are plenty of other ways to increase your credit score, including reducing your debt, increasing your credit limits, diversifying your credit accounts, and increasing the age of your credit history.

    Note: According to Bankrate, it can take anywhere from three months to six years to repair your credit, depending on what you’re bouncing back from.



    If you’re in your twenties, thirties, or even your forties, retirement may seem too far off to be prioritizing right now. It makes sense that you’d rather focus on goals that are going to happen in the next few years.

    But the truth is that retirement is a goal that you must start planning and saving for today to achieve decades in the future.

    Most of us start saving for retirement in a workplace retirement plan like a 401(k), but you may also be saving in an individual retirement account (IRA).

    Not sure how much you need to save? A tool like the Personal Capital Retirement Planner can help you figure out whether you’re on track for retirement and how much you should be saving and investing each month.



    Long-term financial goals like retirement are important, but they don’t carry quite the same excitement as a goal you can achieve within the next few years.

    While you’re saving for those big goals, consider a few short-term goals you’d like to save for as well. These could include buying a new car, going on a vacation, or even making the down payment on a house.



    It’s easy to look at all the financial tasks on your to-do list and wonder how you’ll ever afford them all. I get it! How are you supposed to have money going toward retirement, your other financial goals, paying off debt, and your regular expenses each month?

    That’s where a side hustle comes in. A side hustle can provide a bit of extra income each month to help achieve your financial goals more quickly.

    Not sure where to start? I’ve rounded up more than 35 legit ways you can start earning extra money today.



    A side hustle isn’t the only way you can earn more money. You can also negotiate a pay increase at your current job as a way to boost your income.

    Not only can negotiating a rase help you earn more money now, but you’ll change your income projection for your entire career. You’ll make more money over the long term and be able to set aside more for retirement.

    When asking for a raise, make sure to research the average salary for your position, as well as put together a list of accomplishments and successes you’ve had in your job. Share thoes with your boss to show why you deserve a pay increase.



    Investing is one of those financial tasks that sounds more complicated than it is. In reality, anyone can set up an investment strategy and start setting aside money, all in less than an afternoon.

    If you’re wondering whether it’s really necessarily to be investing, the answer is a resounding yes. Investing is the single best way to build wealth.

    Look at it this way: If you set aside $200 per month in your checking account for ten years, you would end up with $24,000. But if you invested that same amount, you’d end up with $10,000 more — just shy of $35,000. And the longer you leave your money invested, the more that discrepancy grows, thanks to compound interest.

    Most people start by investing in a retirement plan, but you can also invest in a taxable brokerage account for your other shorter-term financial goals.

    Read More: How to Start Investing as a Millennial



    Insurance might be just about the least exciting financial topic out there, but it’s also one of the most important. No matter what type of insurance we’re talking about, it’s designed to protect you from financial loss.

    The type of insurance coverages you’ll need — and how much coverage you need — depends on your lifestyle. The most common types that many people have are health insurance, life insurance, car insurance, home or renters insurance, disability insurance, and more.



    No one likes to think about their death, and that’s understandable. And as much as you may not want to think about it, it’s important to plan for it. After all, you want to make sure that if something happens to you, your wishes are carried out.

    Estate planning is especially important if you have loved ones you depend on you, children who will need to be cared for after you die, or significant assets that will need to be distributed.

    The steps for setting up an estate plan are a bit too length for this article, but LegalZoom has an excellent estate planning guide on its website.


    How to set financial goals

    Setting financial goals is easier said than done. It’s one thing to say you want to retire early or take your dream vacation in two years, but it’s a totally different thing to make it happen.

    Here’s a quick guide to setting financial goals:

    1. Envision your future. What do you want your life to look like five, ten, and twenty yeras from now? Figuring this out can help you decide which goals to set.
    2. Identify your current situation. What things in your life are exactly where you want them to be, and which could use a bit of work? Knowing where you’re starting is critical in helping you reach your end goal.
    3. Set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. 
    4. Break down your goals into small, actionable steps. You probably can’t save $20,000 for the down payment on a home in the next couple of months. But you can set small monthly savings goals to help you get there in the next couple of years.
    5. Make a plan to reach your goal. Achieving goals doesn’t happen accidentally or without effort. It’s important to make a plan and follow through with it.
    6. Create accountability. This step is key to achieving your goals, because it helps to ensure you’re on the right track. Some ideas for creating accountability include writing down your goal, sharing it with others, and tracking your progress along the way.
    7. Create helpful habits. Your habits are what drive your actions each and every day. Creating the right habits will be key in helping you achieve your desired outcome.


    Final Thoughts

    In this article, I’ve shared a handful of examples of goals to set to make the next year even better than the last. 

    But financial goals — and personal finances in general — aren’t one-size-fits-all. Instead, you’ve got to find the financial goals that will help you achieve what you envision for your life. For some it might be buying a home and setting down roots. For others, it’s traveling the world. 

    The beauty of personal finances is that everyone can take their own journey. So what will yours look like?

  • 25 Creative Ways to Save Money

    I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty much always looking for ways to save a bit of money every month. In fact, finding a few key areas in our budget to cut back and a few ways to get a little extra cash have helped us tremendously in reaching our financial goals.

    Unfortunately, sometimes it feels like you’ve cut costs as much as you can, and you’re stuck on ways to save more money. But the good news is there are almost certainly a few strategies you haven’t even thought of yet.

    In this post, I’m sharing 25 of the best ways to save money that you might not have already tried. These creative savings tips can go a long way to helping you build up your savings account or create a little extra wiggle room in your budget.

    You don’t have to incorporate all of these money-saving tips, but just adding a few of them to your budgeting strategy can go a long way.


    25 Creative Ways to Save Money

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.


    Start a Budget

    The most effective way I’ve found to actually start saving money is by creating a budget. I know it seems simple, but a lot of people aren’t doing it!

    There was a long time when I didn’t feel like I needed a budget. I didn’t think my spending was a problem, and I had money left at the end of every month.

    Then I sat down and started tracking where my money was going, and I was slightly horrified. Seriously, the amount of money I was dropping on take-out and trips to Target was eye-opening.

    Once I sat down and created a monthly budget for myself, I was quickly able to cut back my spending and start saving more money.

    Ready to start your own budget? Head over to this post on creating a monthly budget and some extra budgeting tips.

    And once you’ve got your budget up and running, here are some of my favorite budgeting apps you can use to stay on top of it every month.


    Automate Your Savings

    If you find that you don’t have money left at the end of the month to put into savings, then it’s time to reevaluate how you’re doing things.

    Instead of saving whatever you have left at the end of the month, put money into your savings first, and then only spend what’s left.

    The best way I’ve found to do this is by automating my savings. On the first of each month, when I get paid, I have an automatic transfer set up from my checking account to my savings account.

    I don’t have to think about it, but I’m still managing to put away money every single month. It’s not money I miss because it gets transferred literally the same day I get my paycheck before I even have a chance to notice it’s gone.


    Download Money-Saving Apps

    These days there are plenty of apps that can help you save money or get cash back on purchases you’re already making. Here are a few of my favorite money-saving apps (btw, they’re ALL free):

    • Ibotta: I use Ibotta pretty religiously to get cash back on groceries, and I get at least a little back every week! All you do is upload a picture of your grocery receipt and you’ll earn cash back on certain purchases. One of the reasons I love Ibotta so much is that they offer cash back on things like produce and generic brand products that you can’t normally find coupons for.
    • Rakuten: Ebates is a service that gives you cash back on just about any online purchase. And they now allow you to get cash back on in-store purchases too!
    • Dosh: Dosh is an app that connects to your debit and credit cards and gives you cash back on purchases. One thing that sets Dosh apart from other cashback apps I’ve used is that you can get cash back at some local restaurants.
    • Acorns: Acorns connects to your bank account and will round up the spare change on your purchases and invest them. It’s 100% hands-off, and you aren’t investing a significant amount of money, so it’s a great way to start investing.


    Start Meal Planning

    Meal planning is essential when it comes to saving money on groceries. Meal planning can help you avoid wasting food, as well as cut down on impulse purchases. Meal planning can also help you avoid those nights when you aren’t sure what to make for dinner, so you resort to eating out.

    We used to plan our meals a lot more strictly. Now we’ll usually just plan one or two proteins for the week and buy ingredients we know work well with it. However, when we were on a tighter budget, we would plan every meal down to the ingredient and wouldn’t buy anything that wasn’t a part of our meal plan.


    Check in on Subscriptions

    Have you ever checked your bank statement and realized you were still paying for a subscription you had completely forgotten about and weren’t using?

    *slowly raises hand*

    Yeah, I’m guessing I’m not the only one.

    These days there are so many random subscriptions out there for as little as $5 per month that it’s pretty easy to forget about them.

    It’s not hard to figure out what subscriptions you’re paying for. You can either take a few minutes and scan your bank statements or sign up for a service like Trim to automatically scan your accounts and find recurring subscriptions.

    This would also be a good time to check in on subscriptions you are aware of and decide if you really use them. If you’re paying for every TV streaming service, do you really watch them all? Be honest with yourself!

    Finally, figure out where else you can save. My husband and I had been paying for separate Spotify accounts for years before we realized we could save money by signing up for a family plan! 


    Save Money on Books

    I love to read, and I can power through a book pretty quickly.

    There was a time when I was picking up a new book just about every time I stepped foot in Target. However, that was getting pretty darn expensive.

    Turns out, it’s super easy to get your reading fix for a lot less money.

    I invested in a Kindle a few years ago, and since then have rented free eBooks instead of buying books. You can do this through your local library or, if you’re an Amazon Prime member, through the Prime Lending Library.

    If physical books are more your style, you can also rent actual books through the library.

    I still buy books occasionally, but only if it’s a book I know I’m going to read more than once. And since I’ve cut my spending on books so much, I don’t feel bad about occasionally spending money on one I know I’ll get a lot of use out of.


    Compare Grocery Prices

    Even if you’re planning your meals and your grocery list ahead of time, you can still save even more money by comparing prices at different grocery stores.

    Stores like Aldi can save you a ton of money on non-name brand foods. Meanwhile, discount stores like Costco can also help you to save money by purchasing items in bulk.

    We typically start our grocery shopping by hitting up Costco for items we need to stock up on. Then we head over to Aldi or the other discount grocery store nearby to get everything else we need. We shop around the items that are on sale. So if the local grocery store has a great price on the meat we like, we’ll buy that. In other cases, we might buy a bunch of sale items to use later on.

    To get the best grocery prices, you might have to commit to shopping at more than one store. If you’d prefer to save time and just hit one store, figure out which stores in your area have the best prices on the things you buy the most.


    Ditch Your Gym Membership

    Working out is great for your health and all, but the cost of a gym membership can really add up!

    Luckily, there are great alternatives to paying for a gym. When the weather is nice, your options for exercise outdoors are pretty much endless! Running, walking, hiking, and biking outside are all awesome alternatives to hitting the gym.

    But I live in Wisconsin, and it’s definitely not warm enough year-round to exercise outside. When it starts to get colder outside, I find options for working out indoors.

    There are about a million free workout plans online. There are also tons of workout videos on YouTube (yoga and Pilates are my favorites). Finally, there are free apps that will create a customized circuit training workout for you.

    If a gym membership is a must-have for you, consider a cheaper option like Planet Fitness. It will have everything most people need to get their workout in.


    Find Free Events

    My husband and I love finding new events and activities to check out in town. Unfortunately, this could also get expensive.

    We’re lucky to live in a city where there are always a ton of free activities going on. Just a quick scan through local Facebook events will probably show you quite a few options in your area.

    Even if you live in a smaller town that doesn’t have quite as many events going on, you can probably still find some free activities to check out.


    Start a Garden

    If you’re lucky enough to have a yard, you have a great opportunity to save money on groceries! By growing your own garden, you can save money on produce year-round.

    You can save money on seasonal veggies during the summer. And if you’re growing veggies that can be easily frozen, you can save money year-round!


    Analyze Your Credit Card Habits

    There are plenty of people out there who will tell you to never have a credit card. And while I agree with the sentiment of not spending money you don’t have, I don’t think credit cards are the problem.

    If you’re diligent about paying them off every month, credit cards can be a great opportunity for rewards, whether those be in the form of cashback or travel points.

    That being said, it’s important to know your spending habits. If you’re someone who carries over a credit card balance and is spending money on interest, then stop using your credit card. Because in that case, it is costing you money.


    Avoid Impulse Purchases

    You guys, I used to be SO bad about impulse purchases. I literally could not walk into a Target without impulsively buying a book, clothes, or some piece of home decor I really didn’t need.

    And what made it worse was that I was a stress shopper, so I would hit one of my favorite stores when I was upset and spend money.

    If you’re also an impulse shopper, create a rule for yourself that anytime you want to buy something, you have to wait 30 days. If you still really want it after 30 days and it’s within your budget, then you can buy it.

    That will help ensure you’re only buying things you really want and need and not just impulsively purchasing something you may never use.

    Read More: How to Reduce Impulse Buying Once and For All


    Unsubscribe From Marketing Emails

    One of the best ways to avoid impulse shopping is to unsubscribe from any marketing emails you get.

    I don’t know about you, but getting a daily email with the best sales at my favorite clothing stores really makes me want to buy clothes.

    Sales are great. But a better way to shop sales is to find an item you really want or need and then wait for it to go on sale. You’re getting the same deal without getting that daily reminder of your favorite stores.

    Pro Tip: There are plenty of free services that allow you to track the price of items and get a notification when they go on sale. Google Shopping and Capital One Shopping are just two examples.


    Take Care of Your Health

    This may not seem like something that is going to make a big difference in the short term, but taking care of your health can have a huge financial impact in the long run!

    Healthcare is freaking expensive, and staying as healthy as possible will help you cut down on healthcare costs.

    Consider the cost of even your run-of-the-mill flu. First of all, if you’re an hourly employee, you’re losing out on that money when you call in sick. And even the cost of over-the-counter cold or flu medicine is steep. And that’s just a minor illness. It’s nothing compared to the long-term healthcare costs of an unhealthy lifestyle. When it comes to major health issues, the price tag can be thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.


    Pack a Lunch

    I realize the idea of packing a lunch to save money is not exactly a revolutionary idea, but I had to list it anyways. It’s such a basic tip that SO many people ignore.

    The cost of eating out really adds up. And sure, I would love the ease of just grabbing lunch out every day. But I also have a limited eating-out budget every month.

    I would much rather devote that part of my budget to date nights with my husband or grabbing brunch with my best friend versus spending it all on lunch.

    When I worked in an office, the easiest way I found to consistently pack a lunch every day was just to make sure I made enough of every dinner so that I could bring some for leftovers the next day.

    Now that I work from home, we just always have the ingredients on-hand to make a simple lunch, whether it be sandwiches, salads, or even mini charcuterie boards.


    Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies

    I don’t know if it’s having a dog and a baby, or perhaps a husband who is a very messy cook, but we go through a lot of cleaning supplies in our home. And personally, I can’t think of a less exciting thing to spend money on.

    On top of that, I get really freaked out by the number of chemicals in most cleaning products, especially with a pet and a little one in the home.

    The good news is that there are plenty of options that are way cheaper and way less harmful. It’s amazing what can be done with some water, vinegar, and a few drops of essential oils!

    I currently make my own all-purpose cleaner and disinfectant, but for someone with the desire, you can make just about any cleaning product at home.


    Trade Your Night Out for a Night In

    We love going out for dinner or drinks, but the cost definitely adds up.

    Lately, we’ve started inviting friends over for homemade dinners and game nights. It’s way cheaper, and everyone has a great time!

    You could do potluck style and have each of your friends bring a dish to pass. You could also suggest that everyone bring a game or activity.

    It’s a great way to have fun with your friends while sticking to a budget. Plus, it’s more personal than heading to a noisy bar or restaurant where you may not get to talk to each other much anyway.


    Avoid ATM Fees

    ATM fees have gotten a little ridiculous, and I always kick myself later when I end up in a situation where I need cash and haven’t planned ahead.

    If you’re someone who carries a bit of cash on you all the time, then it’s probably easy to avoid ATM fees.

    But for people like me who don’t typically carry cash, just make sure you plan ahead and know when you’ll be somewhere that you have to pay cash. That way, you can take cash out ahead of time at an ATM where you won’t have to pay a fee.


    Make Your Own Coffee

    I love grabbing a latte from the local coffee shop as much as the next person, but those daily coffee runs can really add up!

    By making your coffee at home instead of grabbing a latte every day, you could easily save yourself over $1,000 per year.

    You can find a way to compromise your daily Starbucks habit without giving up good coffee, too. As a way to get myself to spend less money on coffee, I treated myself to a Nespresso. I get a daily latte for a fraction of the price of a latte from a coffee shop. Yes, there was an upfront cost with the Nespresso. But it’s already paid off several times over.


    Sell Your Stuff

    There’s a quote I’ve seen a lot lately that says, “Look around. All that clutter used to be money.” I’m not sure who said it first, but it definitely speaks to me every time I see it.

    The good news is that even though you already spent the money on all that stuff, it’s not too late to make some of it back.

    Just last weekend, I sold a small appliance from my kitchen and a bag full of clothes and made over $100!

    The Facebook Marketplace or other sale apps can be a great place to sell items to other individuals. Whenever I list something for sale, I usually get a dozen or more responses. Local clothing resale shops will give you money for your gently used clothing. You can also go with an online service like ThredUp that will send you a bag to ship your clothes back and will give you money for the ones in good condition.


    Drink More Water

    Most of us are probably spending money on beverages. That might be coffee, soda, juice, alcohol, etc. One of the easiest ways to save money every single day is to trade some of those beverages for water.

    And I’m not talking about bottled water. Get yourself a water filter to keep in your fridge, and you’ll always have cold, filtered water ready to drink anytime.

    Plus, most of us aren’t drinking nearly as much water as we should be, so this swap will be good for your health as well as your wallet.


    Keep an Emergency Fund

    For people who are struggling to save money, the idea of building an emergency fund can seem daunting. But it will also save you even more money in the long run.

    An emergency fund can help you pay for unexpected expenses that pop up, such as car repairs and medical bills.

    With an emergency fund, you’re stuck either putting these expenses on a credit card or just letting them go unpaid – both of which will cost you more in the long run.

    An emergency fund will help you in the short term when the emergency happens, but will also help you save money in the long run. Look at it this way – if you have a financial emergency but don’t have an emergency fund, you end up putting that expense on a credit card. Then, not only are you paying for the cost of the financial emergency itself, but you also end up paying interest – possibly for years afterward.


    Quit Bad Habits

    There are some bad habits that can cost you a heck of a lot of money. If you’ve got one, you probably already know this is killing your budget!

    I’m not proud to admit it, but I was a smoker for almost a decade. Not only is smoking obviously incredibly harmful to your health, but it’s also really freaking expensive! I’m definitely saving hundreds of dollars per year by not buying cigarettes.

    Other expensive habits could include excessive drinking, wasting food, and carrying excessive debt.


    Refinance a Loan

    There was a time a couple of years ago when my monthly car payment was taking up more of my monthly budget than I was comfortable with. I looked into refinancing and was able to get a lower monthly payment and a lower interest rate, saving me money in both the short term and the long run.

    If you’re dealing debt in the form of car payments, student loans, credit debt, etc., it may be worth looking into refinancing for a better deal.

    My favorite way to refinance loans is through Credible, which is a an online loan marketplace. No matter what type of loan you’re trying to refinance, Credible will show you loan offers that you may qualify for at the best rates.


    Create Budget Accountability

    Creating a budget for yourself is one thing, but sticking to that budget is a different story altogether.

    In order to make sure you’re sticking to your budget, create some accountability for yourself. There are plenty of personal finance bloggers who started their blogs initially as a way to stay accountable to their budget and document their debt-payoff journey.

    When my husband and I were dating and were working on paying off debt and budgeting, we hung a whiteboard in our living room where we tracked our monthly budget, as well as our debt payoff progress.

    It seems like a small step, but the whiteboard hung in a place where we saw it all the time and it helped to create accountability and remind us of our goals.


    Final Thoughts

    These 25 ideas are just a handful of simple tips to save money. There are definitely a LOT more ideas out there!

    But just by incorporating a few of these tips, you can start to really see a difference in your budget every single month.

    I know how overwhelming it can be to live on a tight budget. I also know what a breath of fresh air it was to incorporate some of these money-saving ideas and really start to feel more confident with my money!