I don’t know about you, but in our house, 2019 was a doozy. This year we had a lot of problems that we could never have anticipated.
It’s all made me very thankful that we’ve made our savings account a priority this year. Without that, our worried would have been 10 fold.
Reflecting on where your money going is a good habit to have. We’ve found that focusing on the ways we managed to save money every Friday has been helpful in keeping us motivated.
And at the end of the year, it’s only natural that we would think about the biggest money savers we used for the year.
(If you’re also ready to think about 2020, get signed up for the free 30 Day Money Saving Challenge…)
So without further ado, I present to you…
The 7 Biggest Ways We Saved Money This Year
Have you ever sat down to create a budget, and then got suspicious about that grocery budget line?
You know, you start wondering how you can stop spending as much on groceries as you do on your mortgage.
And what even is a good grocery budget amount?
How great would it be to eat less of your money, so you can save up for that room remodel you’ve wanted to do for years?
Yeah, me too. We’ve been married for 17 years, and I’ve played with our grocery budget the entire time.
It took me a long time to come up with a way of shopping that was affordable (even though we’re now feeding 8), didn’t have me in the kitchen 20 hours per day, and did actually work (something I wouldn’t quit in a raging fit after two disastrous shopping trips).
You can use this method no matter what your diet is. It doesn’t require your family to eat foods they don’t love.
The ideas I use to keep our grocery budget affordable are bigger than I can share in a blog post. So I put together a course (with a workbook) to help you create a new way to grocery shop that completely works for your family.
I’m convinced that you’ll save the cost of this course many times over. (Assuming you put in the few hours of work required to do it right. It will be so worth it.)
Interested? Check it out here:
My sweet friends offered to throw a baby shower for us early in the year.
I loved spending the time with my friends...but since this was baby #6 I did feel a little guilty asking people to buy things for us.
So I insisted that people just bring hand me downs if they had any to get rid of.
Because of that, we received nearly everything we needed for the baby!
(Our next youngest was 5 when she was born. And I do not save many things, due to trying to fit our large family in our small-ish home. So we really appreciated the baby stuff!)
We have had Amazon Prime for several years. But this year I am especially thankful for it.
In 2019 I have placed 98 orders (so far). That's a ton of free shipping.
I have mixed feelings on Amazon Prime. Sometimes it's a little too easy to shop. (Know what I mean? Like when you're up with the baby at 2:00 a.m. and decide you need something...only to realize the next morning that you ordered the wrong thing? Ugh)
BUT, it's also allowed me to save a lot of money. I can get things from Amazon that are much more expensive at local stores.
And by buying the one thing I need from Amazon, I avoid the stores where too many impulse purchases await me.
I can rarely walk out of a store without taking home a Dr. Pepper, too. (Lil Sweet calls my name...)
A couple of changes this year gave Hubby and I more chances for some day dates.
We've been able to meet for lunch a couple of times (while the kids are at school).
And we also have our Sunday mornings to do a breakfast date.
Both of which are sooo much cheaper than doing dinner at a restaurant!
We also have become the proud parents to a couple of teenagers this year. That means free (or cheap) babysitting!
Now when we want to have an evening date, we just wait until the baby is in bed. It's minimal effort for the kids... and in exchange, they get rare unlimited video game time.
Our fridge hasn't been doing well for months. And I had a suspicion that appliances would be on a good sale for Black Friday.
(We rarely ever buy new appliances. If something dies, we generally find a used replacement from Craigslist.)
So I started shopping around...and eventually found an amazing deal on a fridge. Here's the Facebook post where I told all about it:
Then...the dishwasher decided to die. (I assume it was jealous of the new fridge.) So we shopped at a discount appliance store.
I was able to get a brand new KitchenAid dishwasher (on sale at places like Lowes for $899) for $370 (because it had a few scratches). Whoop!
Now, no one make eye contact with the stove.
Cars definitely played a role in making 2019 not such a great year.
After buying a very used Tahoe to seat our family of 8 late last year, we decided this year that it wasn't such a great fit for our family.
It was nearly impossible to fit anything in it (especially baby equipment). And the teens had to fold themselves in half to sit in the back.
I wanted to be incredibly careful with our money this time. Cars are such a money suck, and all I need is something to get us from point A to point B without breaking down or causing crazy amounts of frustration.
After doing some research and more math than I ever want to do, we decided to get a used Honda Odyssey that seats 8.
We made sure to set payments that allow us to get it paid off in 2 years (so we aren't underwater...that has already eaten up too much of our savings in the past couple of years).
This car fits us all in, and has a fantastic track record of lasting a long time. Fingers crossed that we've finally solved the car issues we've had for two years now!
Hubby was at his old job for a decade.
After a while of no good raises, no promotion opportunities, and no bonuses, we started to think that it was a little crazy to settle for that job in a good economy like this one.
So he started a new job in the fall.
He's really enjoying the new challenges, and there's more potential for raises and promotions here.
If you aren't completely happy in your work, don't feel like you have to be stuck there.
And if you notice that the workplace is making tons of cuts on everything from coffee creamer to trash pickup (like they won't pay the janitors to remove trash from your office more than once per week), that might be an indication that things aren't as good there as they want you to think.
It might be better to leave before you suddenly find yourself without a job.
Not being afraid to leave a job has saved us from that in the past. But we felt so bad for his old coworkers who didn't feel comfortable leaving...and suddenly found themselves with no job.
Those are the ways we saved best in 2019!
We're about ready for this trying year to be over. And looking forward to a better 2020.
Speaking of 2020, if you want to kick your year off right, be sure to sign up for the 30 Day Money Saving Challenge! It's going to be a ton of fun:
How did you save best in 2019?