Are you looking at Christmas and year-end bills and wishing you had been a bit more thrifty this last year? Well, as the saying goes, “there is no use crying over spilled milk.” However, you can make a plan to reduce the chances of it happening again.
Here are ten things you can do now or over the next few weeks to make a thriftier new year a reality.
10 Steps For An Absolutely Rock-Solid Thrifty New Year
(Links in this post are affiliate links. I will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking those links. See my disclosure page for more information)
1. Make A Budget
Year-end income statements will be arriving soon. Divide your net income into 12 and start trimming expenses until they fit with your income. Here are a few websites to help you set up and keep your budget.
Sign up for these four websites for maximum earnings
2. Start Earning Gift Cards And Other Items
We all zone out a few minutes a day, so why not earn a few gift cards or other gift-worthy items during those moments. These programs can easily be done while watching TV at the end of a long day or while you are putting your feet up for a few moments midday (which is when I do mine).
Places to earn gift cards
- Swagbucks (Here is an article that shares ways my readers are earning up to $100 a month with Swagbucks)
- InstaGC (Here is an article sharing my four favorite ways to earn with InstaGC)
- PrizeRebel (Here is an article sharing 9 Ways to Earn Gift Cards With PrizeRebel)
- Paid Viewpoint (Here is an article sharing why Paid Viewpoint is different than most survey companies)
Places to earn books and magazines
RecycleBank is a program that rewards people for taking the time to learn about environmentally friendly practices. The lessons are usually short and sweet and it doesn’t take long to earn enough points to cash out for a magazine subscription. They offer dozens of magazines, including Backpacker, Country Living, Sports Illustrated, People, and more. You can also gift these subscriptions. Go here to sign-up for RecycleBank.
If you like Christian fiction or non-fiction, then you are going to love My Reader Rewards Club. You collect points by answering short surveys, reviewing books, referring friends, and a few other ways. You can cash those points in for books that are then mailed out to you for free. Go here to sign up for My Reader Rewards Club. Start your account with 25 points when you use my referral link.
Use this list to help you toss deep and earn big.
3. Start Selling What You Already Own & No Longer Use
There is more value than you might think in what is lying around your home gathering dust. Here are ten ways to sell it and use the cash towards your financial goals
4. Start Using This No-Brainer Browser Tool To Find Promo Codes
Honey has saved me so much money! On average, it saves me $10 for each website that it can find me a promo code for. And the best part is that it is instant savings–I don’t have to wait for cash back with Honey (unless you use the Honey Points cash back area, which I don’t tend to). Honey has a browser app too, which makes applying a promo code a breeze. In fact, at a lot of sites Honey can enter the promo code for you with just one click. Go here to sign up for Honey.
5. Get Your Share Of Free Samples
Free samples of shampoo and conditioner can be great for stretching your budget just a little bit more, plus they usually come with high-value coupons. Some samples like those for gourmet coffee and body lotions can make excellent gift basket fillers.
A few websites to follow for samples are:
- Money Saving Mom–I clicked the “get notifications” tab on Money Saving Mom’s facebook page so I don’t miss a deal.
- Freebies4Mom–a website listing samples, giveaway contests, and coupons.
- I list free deals and low-cost ones in my Thrifty People Of Snail Pace Transformations Facebook group.
- PINCHme—When you join PINCHme and fill out your profile, you can sign up for a box of free samples once a month. When the samples come, fill out short surveys about them. Go here to sign up.
6. Start Earning Money Back On Your Purchases
Cash back sites are a great way to earn a bit of cash back on a lot of your online purchases and the money earned from these programs adds up fast.
If you frequently shop online, get the Rakuten browser tool, which makes it easy to start earning cash back at all qualifying websites. Rakuten does have a $5 cash out threshold and it only give out payments each quarter, but it is well worth using. I have received as much as $15 in cash back from one order. Go here to sign up for Rakuten.
Mr. Rebates doesn’t seem to get mentioned by many other bloggers and I am not sure why, as it is a great program. The simplest way to use Mr. Rebates is to download the browser tool so that it will alert you if Mr. Rebates offers a cash back to the website you are about to buy something from. You do need to have a balance of $10 to be able to cash out, but once you do, you can cash out at any time. Go here to sign up for Mr.Rebates.
There are things I like about TopCashBack, such as the fact that there is no cash out threshold and you get a bonus for cashing out for certain gift cards. However, there are also a few things I don’t like, such as no browser tool, meaning you have to remember to go to the TopCashBack site first and then the site you are shopping at, and it sometimes takes weeks for your cash back to become available. However, I feel like TopCashBacks no cash out threshold makes it an excellent fit for those that don’t shop online often, so I still like mentioning it to my readers. Go here to sign up for TopCashBack.
7. Make A Get Ready To Grocery Shop Routine
Here is the typical routine I follow either the evening before or the morning of the day I plan to go to the grocery store:
* See what we have in the cupboards that we can use this week to make meals
* Make a menu based on what I found in the cupboards
*Make a grocery list based on weekly needs and items needed to make the meals from things in the cupboard
*Go online and check the sales flyer and note sale items to stock the pantry
*Fill store rewards card with coupons
*See if there are printable coupons for items on my list
With all the different coupon apps out there, I don’t use printable coupon sites as much as I once did, but I do still use them. My favorite thing to do is combine a sale with a printable coupon and then stack it with a rebate found in an app–now that is a thrifty triple dip!
Here are a few different printable coupon sites:
*Check coupon apps for cash back offers
Here is a list of the current apps I use:
I have been using Ibotta for several years now and have earned dozens of gift cards. The app keeps getting better and better with each new update. It is good for so much more than saving money on groceries; they work with all types of businesses, both brick and mortar and online. Go here to sign up for Ibotta.
Use my referral code RE9FU at sign-up and receive bonus points when you complete your first receipt.
Fetch Rewards allows you to earn 25 points from each grocery receipt you scan (any store). However, you earn even more points when the receipt has items on it that are a particular brand or part of one of their current promotions. I love that you can cash out at just 3,000 points for a $3 gift card–it doesn’t take long to earn enough points to reach that level.
Checkout 51 has changed over the years. I used to use the app’s any brand rebates to save money at Aldi, but now it doesn’t offer those. Instead, it offers rebates that tend to be $1 or higher on name-brand items. It still works at any store, though. I might not be able to grab a rebate each week, but I still look because when I can, it is always worth my time and effort. Go here to sign up for Checkout 51.
8. Create A Price Book
One more way, I save a significant amount of money on groceries is knowing where certain items are the cheapest. For instance, I calculated that I save approximately $60 a year buying my yeast in bulk at Sam’s Club versus buying it in the little glass jars at my local grocery. Save $60 a year on ten items and your savings is already $600 a year.
I keep track of where things are cheapest by keeping a small price book and updating it several times a year to make sure I am getting the best deals.
Use these tips to save money on books–includes ways to get books for free.
9. Read a few great titles on all things thrifty
Here are ten books that I would recommend to anyone wanting to live a thrifty lifestyle.
- The Total Money Makeover
- Your Money Counts
- The Complete Cheapskate
- The Complete Tightwad Gazette
- The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living
- America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right On the Money
- Cut Your Grocery Bill In Half With America’s Cheapest Family
- You Need a Budget
- Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity
- The Millionaire Next Door
Yes, these all link to Amazon, and yes, they are affiliate links, but I would much rather see you borrow them for free from your local library or use this method that I use to score free Kindle books. Only as a last resort do I want to see you buying them and if you do, it had better be at a discount with gift cards earned through these programs.
10. Start A Side Job To Increase Your Income
Sometimes the answer to your money problems isn’t spending less; sometimes you need to earn more. But how do you do that if you are already working a 40 hour a week job outside the home? You look to flexible income streams that don’t require you gaining another boss or working a set amount of hours each week.
Here are a few articles I have written that can help you pick a side gig and get it going:
- Make Money By Renting Out Items Your Probably Didn’t Know You Could Rent Out!
- Places To Sell Handmade Crafts: Plus Tips To Help You Sell More Items
- 15 Websites And Apps You Can Use To Earn Gift Cards
- How To Earn More Money: 12 Side Jobs Anyone Can Do
- 19 Ways To Turn Your Smartphone Into A Money Making Machine
- Earn PayPal Cash With These 12 Websites & Apps
- 4 Flexible Ways To Earn Money As A Stay At Home Mom
- 6 Ways To Turn Your Laptop Into A Money Making Machine
- 6 Types Of Childcare You Can Run Out Of Your Home
I hope your new year is thrifty and bright!
For a list of 52 different websites, apps, and stores our thrifty family uses to help us keep our expenses low, click here to visit our Thrifty Tools Resource Page.