Money Management

This Hack Can Help You Find Hundreds Of Dollars Each Month

By  Kelley Long

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If you’ve ever taken the time to categorize your monthly spending, chances are you had a similar reaction that I did when I realized how much we spend on food each month — disbelief with a side of regret, anyone? It’s just the hubs and me for now, and we are pretty good about eating in, at least compared to a lot of our DINK (dual income, no kids) friends, so I’m always shocked when our grocery spending sometimes tops what I’d expect a family of four to spend.

The fact is, food is expensive and who wants to walk around the grocery store with a calculator? There are ways to counteract that by planning your menu around the grocery store sales, buying in bulk, etc., but sometimes life is just too busy or you have to go with what’s available during a pandemic.

Whether you’re cooking more at home due to shelter-in-place orders or just trying to find some ways to free up some extra cash, try this:

Save Money Each Month

One week per month, skip the grocery store and instead eat what’s already on hand. Then take the money you don’t spend on groceries and transfer it to your savings account. The only number you need to know is what you spend each week, on average. Pro tip: this is where most people go wrong when they try to save money – they do well and the cutting back, but they neglect to go the extra step by deliberately moving the specific amount they’ve cut back into savings, and a lot of the “saved” money just ends up getting spent on something else.

This hack alone could boost your retirement savings by over $250,000 if you stick with it over the years or literally shave years off your debt payments if you use it to get out of credit card debt sooner.

That’s it! No coupon clipping needed. It may require a little bit of creativity in the kitchen, but I always find it’s easier than it seems — digging out those jars of interesting sauces I impulse bought at Trader Joe’s when panic-shopping or finally using that extra cooked orzo I froze feels so good and budget-friendly.

You can also use Supercook, a website that lets you input ingredients you have on hand, then suggests different recipes. Plus, it helps to clear your pantry, fridge, and freezer of food that may otherwise end up in the trash — a double financial bonus!

Kelley-Long

About the Author

Kelley Long

I believe that the true meaning of financial security is the ability to make decisions without having to worry about money. There are both factual and psychological aspects of this belief and my mission is to help people find that intersection in their own lives according to their personal values and goals.

I hold the CPA/PFS license and am a CFP® professional, but I don’t sell any products or manage any money. When I’m not writing, I’m working one-on-one with people through my coaching business, Financial Bliss with Kelley Long. I’m also a member of the AICPA Consumer Advocate Council and am frequently quoted in the press on financial literacy issues facing Americans.

I love to apply my own money lessons to my writing as well as break down some of the more complicated financial planning techniques into plain English. My goal in life is for all people to feel able to make their own financial decisions with confidence, being fully aware of the pros and cons of the actions they take.

Disclaimer: To make Wealthtender free for our readers, we earn money from advertisers, including financial professionals and firms that pay to be featured. This creates a natural conflict of interest when we favor their promotion over others. Wealthtender is not a client of these financial services providers. Learn how we operate with integrity to earn your trust.