Analyze your Spending Habits
It can be so helpful to look back at your budget at the end of the month and analyze where your money was spent. It is amazing how all the little things add up! We look at our budget at the end of each month to see where we spent the most and where we can cut back. It is a great self check.
Here are a few weaknesses we have found and how we have tried to overcome them.
Eating out. We don't eat out often, but it is very tempting at the end of a busy work day. To combat the desire to go out to eat instead of preparing a meal at home, we now create a menu plan at the beginning of every week. This way we know what we plan to eat for dinner & that we have all of the necessary ingredients. This also allows us to coordinate our meals with our schedule for each day.
We have also tried to do some Freezer Cooking. We have not planned a whole month of meals, but we try to keep one or two meals in the freezer or fridge just in case. If we are in a big hurry, or just don't feel like cooking, there is a simple option for us.
Activities. We love outdoor activities, and it would be very easy to spend a large part of our budget on some of these activities- either for equipment or park passes. We still budget some money for these activities, but we have found a few ways to save money on the things we enjoy.
First, make a list of things you like to do, then try to find a cheaper way to do it. :D
Renting Movies- use free redbox codes
National Parks (Yellowstone)- Visit during National Park Week when there is free entrance!
We actually bought a pass last year, and our plan was to split the cost with another couple. We never did it, but that would have been a more cost effective option. You can get a year pass to Yellowstone for $50, and there are 2 spots for signatures. It is $25 for a one week pass, so you would only have to go once to make it wort it!
Camping- we have found several places that let you camp for free, you just have to look. If you do pay for a campsite, take a few friends & split the cost.