There are so many flexible ways to use this Savings Tracker that you are sure to find a way that will fit your lifestyle and you will help you achieve your savings goals.
There are two primary ways use this tracker so it can help as many people as possible.
Option One: Fill in the block for what you are “Saving for” and how much it is.
Note: The 10% is added here to help you focus on saving 10% at a time. It is a manageable amount that most people can look to achieve. So if you’re saving for a new bed that is $1000, your 10% savings is $100. So you will target saving in $100 increments. This is ONE EXAMPLE of how to use this savings sheet! Then color in below each time you have the $100 met and I like to put the date next to it.
Option Two: Skip using the 10% portion and write down every small savings contribution you make towards the $1000 bed. This is my personal favorite because I am all about saving the pennies. I can save a few pennies here and a few pennies there and BAM! I have $1000.
📝 How to Use Tracker
We aren’t going to give you a cute printable and say “good luck!” Nope! We will give you a ton of tools, tips and tricks to help you FIND that money you need to buy that fictitious $1000 bed mentioned above! Below, I have broken up many aspects of our financial lives to give you dozens of ideas to try to cut back and find money to save. I bet at least one will help you!
Once you have gone through the list and started saving, I suggest you revisit the list again in 6-8 weeks. You will have a different perspective on money and savings at that point and will be able to find a couple more tools that might help.
🥬 How to Save Money on Groceries
There is always room to save some cash by shopping smartly at the grocery store. This all begins BEFORE you hit the grocery store though!
Step One – Meal Planning
Grab your calendar or day timer and sit down for a few minutes and look over your upcoming week BEFORE you make a menu. The last thing you want to do is plan a big roasted chicken dish and come to find out that it is the night you are not home until late.
You will MAXIMIZE your grocery savings by this one step alone! It is huge. Match your calendar to your realistic plans for meals.
Step Two – Pantry Inventory
Go through your freezer and pantry to see what you already have that you can use. If you are really good, you will base your menu planning from what you already have on hand before buying any more food! We try to “eat out of the freezer at least once a week” whether it be leftovers or eat something we bought and it got shoved in the freezer. It is a huge financial win when we do this!
Step Three – Grocery List
You now have a plan with a menu and you can create your grocery list. There are a couple of freebie Lists on our site for you to try out and see what you like. Once you have everything on your list, it’s time to hit the store – ALONE. Don’t take anyone with you as this just causes unnecessary gathering that adds up.
Pro Tip: To maximize your savings on groceries, take an afternoon to do a Grocery Comparison to see which store is really the cheapest. Sometimes it’s best to visit a couple of stores to get the best deals. In our Grocery Comparison Chart, you will see I was shocked by some of my local grocery stores pricing. We all think we know but this is a great lesson when we are trying to cut back.
$27 Grocery Challenge
If you want to go hard core on this area, try out the $27 Grocery Challenge for two people. This is not meant to give you the healthiest of meals – it was meant to show that you can live on a small amount of money in a pinch and sometimes that is what is necessary. If you want to start saving money FAST, check it out and see if you are up for the challenge!
HELP! If you are thinking you don’t know how to decide what is a frugal meal, it’s all good! We’ve all been there and we have 10 Weeks of Frugal Meals right here for inspiration. Try a few or at least check it out so you can have a baseline of what is considered frugal.
Pro Tip – you won’t be eating rib eye this week! 15 Frugal Meatless Ideas is another post to help you save money and pack in at least one dinner that is meatless per week to cut down on expenses. Remember we are trying to add to your new savings tracker!
Step Four – Produce
Buy produce that is in season. Those are usually less expensive.
Step Five – Store Choices
Shop at Trader Joes, Lidl and Aldi, if you have them. We cover what you can buy for how much at each store and you will reap huge savings if you are able to benefit by living near at least one of them.
Step Six – Couponing
Start a Coupon Binder. I know this sounds dreadful to some, but you will be shocked at the results. If you put a little time clipping and organizing while you are watching tv, you can save some decent money. You can download our Coupon Binder here for free and give it a try! You never know what will click! If you think that you will never create a Coupon Binder, that’s ok-check out how you can still save money on groceries without coupons here!
Step Seven – Use Apps
Download apps like Checkout 51 and start using them to get money back! Once you are in the groove of doing it with each receipt, it is addicting!
Step Eight – DIY Staples
You can save money from groceries by starting to make items yourself! Here are 39 Grocery Items to DIY Instead of Buy and also check out How to Make Reusable Face Wipes for 71 cents a week or make your own Dove Body Wash.
This is a HUGE list to help guide you through saving money just at the grocery store. You won’t realistically be able to do all of these, especially at the beginning of a saving journey but that’s ok. Pick a few that you can do and start. Then, add on as you can.
⚡ How to Save Money on Utilities
Save money on utilities by checking out our mega list of ways to save on gas and heating here! Always make sure to block drafts, get a programmable thermostat, check insulation, buy insulated curtains, turn off lights and other sources of energy when you are not using them.
Try to think of this as winning by adding up the pennies. I doubt there will be one thing is the huge driver of cost savings, but all the little changes will add up. You will need to wait 30-60 days after you make changes to see the results as the utility companies need to read your usage.
Utilities also include water usage, so make sure you start looking at only running the dishwasher when it is full, taking less than five minute showers, skip running a long bath and don’t run the water all the time to wash dishes.
💰 Tracking Expenses
This is one of my favorite areas to conquer as I know we all gradually start adding to expenses and don’t realize it!
Using the Expense Tracker, list all of your expenses that come through your house. This will require you to do the following:
- Check your bank statements for automatic payments that you forgot about or thought you stopped months ago.
- Check all of your credit card statements and see which recurring charges are coming in each month. This is the time to re-evaluate and decide if you really need three streaming services or can you eliminate any. Cancel everything you don’t need including those small $2.99 charges. All of those small charges will now go towards your savings and it will add up quickly.
- Call your cable company and ask for a discount. Add that to your savings.
- Call your cell phone provider and ask for a better plan.
- Call your insurance company and see what savings they will offer.
- Cancel gym memberships you aren’t using.
- Cancel XM Radio.
- Cancel Apple Music, Spotify and Youtube Premium. You are looking for all those small charges that we stopped using as much as we intended.
- Evaluate if you should be carpooling or using a metro system to cut back on commuting expenses. Add in the cost of parking.
- Look at online gaming memberships and costs.
- Look at things that hit as a one time a year hit and then you forget about it. I am currently working on getting my photos off of a yearly $50 charge to a free storage plan. I hate paying that money and it comes due in October when life is so busy and I miss it. Not this year! Try looking for those items as well!
The areas that hit people a lot are eating out (covered below) and those small charges that we forget about. We all have them and I just suggest that you do a deep dive every month and make sure you know what you are paying for and if you really need it right now.
🥡 Save Money by Not Eating Out
Business Insider estimates that people spend between $1,500 and $3,500 eating out each year. That is huge! This is one of the biggest opportunities to save money!
Here are my top ways to not overspend on eating out!
Create “Go To” Meals
Have 1-2 “go-to” meals that you can whip up in less time than going for take out. These are the meals that you need on Friday night when you are tired or Saturday night after you run through three baseball games and cooking is just feeling like it is too much! I’ve been there!
Identify your meals and then have the items pre-stocked in the house. See, I’ve been there. Our family has:
- Turkey Thighs with Penzeys Poultry Seasoning (made these today, I pinky swear!)
- Broccoli Stir Fry. My son cooks on his own and he sautés the meat and slices veggies for his “go-to” meal.
- My husband and I are currently on an Air Fryer kick, so basically if we can Air Fry it, it is fun for us so we don’t feel like it is a chore. Totally crazy but true.
Create Freezer Meals
Create meals for the freezer that you can grab and pop in the crockpot. Alternatively, create meals that you have 100% cooked and put in the freezer for nights that you don’t want to cook and you simply need to re-heat.
Make Fun Coffees
Consider your coffee house drinks and add up how much you spend each week getting a treat. Try to break that habit. Weekends make a batch of Crock Pot Coffee (ignore that it says “Christmas” because it is amazing and you will want to use it all year!) or Caramel Lattes to bridge that gap.
Take Your Lunch To Work
Make lunches at home and bring them to work! This was one of the biggest areas where we have been able to spend money because my husband’s lunch was typically $12! For crappy food even! Nope!
We started making lunches on Sundays and that saved $60/week right there. Yes, I did have to buy food for him but it didn’t cost $60. If you don’t know where to start, check out Meal Prep Lunches, Orzo Salad Lunch Prep, or my favorite 24 Cent Freezer Pasta Lunches!
Make Breakfast At Home
Eat breakfast at home. A cheap and yummy breakfast is our Overnight Oats recipes. We love them because they are hearty, filling and did I mention – cheap! If you don’t jive with oatmeal, that’s ok! Here are 30+ Make Ahead Breakfast Ideas and 20+ Freezer Breakfast Meals. There are dozens more ideas on the site so you will never get bored making breakfast!
👪 How to Save Money on Family Fun
Just because you are trying to save money doesn’t mean that you won’t have fun. If that’s your mindset, then allow me to show you that there is so much fun to be had with your family that costs very little or nothing at all!
47 Fun and Frugal Things to Do on a Weekend was created because we wanted to share all the fun things we do as a family on weekends. To be 100% honest, we tend to gravitate to the outdoors, so hiking and riding our bikes naturally creates frugal fun for us. We take photos and bring snacks. Those are always the days that end up in my digital picture frame.
30 Family Date Night Ideas is a free printable to download and check off ideas that you can do as a family without spending much money! Sometimes it really is those simple, fun times that we all come back to loving as we get to spend time together.
25 Cheap Date Night Ideas was a post that I almost didn’t write as I was afraid that too many people would think “I don’t want a cheap date!” but not every outing needs to be extravagant. How can you connect and spend quality time with your love? Here’s some great ideas to get you started! Right now, our favorite one is to take our chairs to a local brewery that has incredible outdoor space and my husband buys a beer and me a Diet Coke…we spent under $10 and love our time out together.
Best Cooperative Board Games stems from our love of board games. We are total geeks and are ok with it! Playing games at home with our kiddo was just pure delight for us and we created so many memories! You can even try out the Traitor Board Games as another option!
📅 How to Save Money on Daily Spending
This is the biggest eye opener for most of us, I know it was for me and I love sharing it. Using the Daily Spending Sheet, log every dollar you spent. It is scary how much money leaves your wallet – cash and charge – and you’ll quickly find money that can be saved.
🙅♀️ How to Do a 30 Day No Spend Challenge
I saved the hardest one for last! We set up a printable sheet and options for you to use it by not spending any money at all for 30 days. The concept here is to eat out of your pantry and freezer, don’t eat out, don’t go shopping and buy things you don’t need.
Most people will take an inventory of their kitchen and go buy groceries based on one month and then just “make do” for the 30 days. It is hard, but it can be done and you will feel pretty incredible when there is money left in your pocket at the end of the month! Are you up for the challenge?
There you have it, friends. It’s time to print off the Tracker and start saving. Drop us a line and let us know how it’s going.
🖨️ Download and Print
Download and Print the Free Savings Tracker Printable. It is sized to fit an 8.5 x 11″ paper.
Please use this for personal use only.