Tips for Spending Less

If you’re like me, one of those things on the list of New Year’s resolutions was to spend less. Actually, I had already put that plan into place toward the end of last year with some nice results so the goal is really to continue that savings plan.

How did I manage to cut my spending last year? Well, here’s just a list of some of those things!

1. Brown bag lunch to work. An average lunch in Manhattan is about $6 so at 5 times a week times 48 weeks, that’s a savings of over $1400.

2. Skip the Starbucks and other fancy coffee in the a.m. Hubby now makes me my morning cup for the train and I rely on the office coffee pot for my other morning fix. With a typical latte at around $4 in NYC, that’s a savings of another nearly $1000.

3. Charge everything I spend. I know that sounds awful, but here’s why I do it:

    a. I get my reward points for every purchase.
    b. I know how much I spent every month.
    c. I use the tagging feature on my charge account every week to flag business expenses.
    d. I have my account send me a daily snapshot so I know whether I am deviating from my monthly spending limit.

4. Coupons. I always hold onto those Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons and only go when I have several of them handy. I also only go when I absolutely need something, which means my trips are generally geared around holidays, birthdays, etc. I also use online coupon sites such as and for weekly specials and since I shop at A&P for my every day items, they have a clipless coupon system connected to my shopping loyalty card. That’s wonderful because if you are like me, you often will forget those coupons at home. Another big thing: Only buy what you would normally use and buy it in reasonable quantities. I read an article the other day that Americans throw out 40% of the food they buy. 40%!!! That’s a huge number.

5. I shop at Costco for the paper goods and other bulk items. I also buy their Kirkland name brand for things like toilet paper and dishwasher detergent. Just as good and generally cheaper.

6. I’ve cut back on dining out and when I do, I try to use certificates or those I’ve purchased at a discount from I also try to frequent local places and they often have online coupons available for discounts on dining.

This year I also plan on brown bagging breakfast to the office. I’ve got a stash of oatmeal and will find a way to make my eggs. Breakfast is important for helping with another New Year’s resolution: Losing weight and eating healthier.

Have you found some other ways to spend less? What will you do with the savings?

6 thoughts on “Tips for Spending Less”

  1. Love the list of ideas. The brown bagging and coffee is something we’ve been doing for awhile. I also tend to shop at one of our local grocery stores which have a gas program, too. For every $50 spent/.10 off a gallon. I do my everyday shopping there and also have my perscriptions there–it adds up. Last fill up I had was $1.50 off! Usually it is around .40/.50.

    I was recently put on my grocery stores VIP/Gold customer card list, too. They send me coupons based on items I generally use–love it!

    All the best to you and a Happy New Year to all!

  2. i like your list. it would save my family also if i could get them to do it. 🙂

    my list is mostly for the grocery store,
    but it saves me alot and i usually spend
    around $200 or less a month this way.

    1)shop around the ads for best buys.
    especially on meat and other high price iitems.
    2)make a monthly menu(i use a blank from and grocery lists from www.
    3)make a grocery list and STICK to it.
    4)go to your grocery chain’s/local stores website and check for what is on sale and if they take competitor coupons.
    5)try to buy store brands/generic as much as possible
    6) buy in bulk for dry goods and meat.
    7)buy 1 get 1 is a great deal for most meat if the individual price is lower than the closest comparible item only.
    in other words the sale item is not always the best deal.
    8)take a calculator or pen and paper with you so you can compare prices. also so you can figure out the individual unit price as this is what the store goes by for their pricing.
    9)i am going to capatalize this as it is very important:IF YOU WON’T USE/EAT IT, IT IS NOT A GREAT BARGAIN NO MATTER HOW MUCH CHEAPER IT IS THAN THE NAME BRAND. my sister can never figure this out and she wastes more money a month than she saves, because she insistes on buying the cheaper item even if it is something her daughter doesn’t care for that much.
    10)do not go to the store hungry.
    11)go with a friend or something. (i go with my mom or sister and we have a lot oof fun and it goes a lot faster than if i had to do it all by my self.

    Most important of all : TRY TO HAVE FUN WITH THE MENU AND THE SHOPPING. this does not have to be boring, get out the cook book and try a recipe you have always wanted to try or have the kids cook once a week, set aside a night as a pizza night and make homemade pizza or something your family likes. HAVE FUN!

  3. I’ve been brown bagging lunch for about 3 years now, makes a big difference; I can’t stop the coffee though I’m not fussy on the brand but I do limit it to one bought coffee a day. Supper out has never been an issue, usually it Wendy’s for us. I did try to curtail my book purchases telling myself to only buy if I’m absolutely, positive I will read it; I tend to buy then put down if I don’t enjoy the first 50 pages or so.

  4. Your list sounds good, Caridad. I’ve already been brown bagging it too. Things just cost so much anymore. I do treat myself to coffee house brews about twice a month. I figure I deserve it after making my own coffee at home and carrying it with me!

  5. You can make scrambled eggs in a microwave…takes some stirring and a good container and some butter or margarine or small amount of cream or milk…that way they’re hot and rather nicely scrambled!
    I have found that by not leaving the house on my own, I spend absolutely no money whatsoever…but then, my life is very dull. I leave the spending to the husband who can be rather lavish on himself.
    Good blog, though!

  6. In my husbands line of work he occasionally gets tips. We started saving the tips in a jar & everytime he gets a tip he goes to the store & buys an item for our pantry. Things like soap $3.00 or detergent. When the money comes in like that you don’t notice it and all of a sudden you have a full pantry. Every week we pick an item to buy each day when tips come in. This week is cat litter. It’s nice to have 3 or 4 bags so you don’t have to worry about it for a month.–Rachel

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