Maybe you’re looking to transition to full-time in your RV or already living on the road full-time, or even just looking to adjust your budget in general. When it comes to ways to save money, we all feel like we could probably do a little better, and we probably can.
All it takes is a few small adjustments like eating out or fixing something yourself that can make a big difference. It’s the difference between feeling stressed out and feeling relaxed. That’s why we put together this list of the best ways to save money.
Table of Contents
- Make a Written Budget
- Ways to Save Money on Food
- Ways to Save Money Overall
- Ways to Save Money at Home
- Stop Collecting and Start Selling
- Ways to Save Money on Entertainment
- Ways to Save Money on Shopping
- Final Thoughts on Ways to Save Money
Make a Written Budget
If anything, the best thing you can do to save money is to make a written budget that you stick to every month. Now, this doesn’t mean get on a budget. This means to write out where you spend your money every month. Until it’s written out, it’s just in your head, and it’s easy to forget if it’s only in your head.
If you know how all your money is being allocated, it’s much easier to see if you’re spending too much eating out or entertainment or shopping. Get on a written budget and do it every month. Once you know what you’re spending on, then you can take the next steps to actually create a budget. We use You Need a Budget (YNAB) to track our spending, pay off debt, and budget every month. It’s been a game-changer for us! If you use our link to sign-up, you will get a free month to test it out.
Ways to Save Money on Food
When it comes to food, we need it to survive, so there is no way to stop eating food. But there are plenty of ways to cut back the amount we spend on food.
Cut Back on Eating Out
We all know that eating out is expensive. Going to a sit-down restaurant is fun but typically costs around $40 a meal, when you include beverages and a tip. Save eating out for special date nights once a week or every other week. Even fast food is over $20 a meal these days! You can get a nice piece of steak for less than $20 for two and have a nice dinner at home.
Cut Down on Groceries
When it comes to grocery shopping, there are ways to cut back. I know it’s believed that the more expensive a product is, the better it is, but this is not true. Did you know that some store brands are the same product as name brands? Skip on certain name brand items. Be sure to read our other article, How To Save Money On Groceries for more tips.
Additionally, when RVing, find local farmers’ markets and buy only what you need. It’s a great way to support the local community you’re visiting and save on money.
Skip the Coffee Shop
Cutting back on coffee shop trips will help save money. You can make a Starbucks coffee at home at a fraction of the cost. What makes Starbucks so tasty is the cream and sugar which is offered at any grocery store. Additionally, you can find recipes online for your favorite Starbucks drinks if you want to indulge on a budget.
Planning your meals is also very helpful. It keeps you on a mission when at the market. It helps cut back on wandering the store buying food that you don’t need, which is a bad habit almost everyone does. We love planning our meals because it keeps our diet on track. When we go shopping without a list, we make impulse buys that don’t serve us in the long run.
Ways to Save Money Overall
Another way to save money is by making sure you are familiar with your accounts. Ignoring them allows for things to get out of hand. Checking them regularly will help this from happening and it’s something you should do at least weekly.
Regularly Review All Your Accounts
It’s important to check your bank accounts and every credit card you have open. Maintaining them helps prevent any unknown charges that can happen. It also enables you to see what you’re spending your money on. Consistently looking at your purchases will help identify what you spend your money on the most and figure out where changes can be made.
I bet you have at least one subscription you pay for that you forgot about. Cancel it today. It’s a waste of money!
It’s good to shop around for better pricing on your insurance every year. Insurance groups typically increase policy amounts over time, so making sure to shop around prevents this from happening. There are free services that will shop around for the best insurance for you at the best price. Take advantage of this regularly.
Ways to Save Money at Home
We live in the age of information, and there are videos on how to do everything yourself today. This is a great way to save money.
Repair it Yourself
If something breaks before you call a repair person, look it up to see if it’s something you can do yourself. If you don’t feel confident, please don’t make the attempt. You don’t want to make it worse. But I bet you are more competent than you think! We have both learned how to fix things on our RV we never thought we could and it’s saved us tons of money.
Make a Gift Instead of Purchasing
It’s someone’s birthday or anniversary, and you want to get them a nice gift. Consider making it yourself. Not only can it be cheaper, but it can also be much more thoughtful. Homemade or thoughtful gifts are one of our favorite ways to save money. We plan ahead for gift giving by searching for something special for family members when traveling. A unique item from somewhere special can make a great gift as well, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.
Stop Collecting and Start Selling
It’s become normal to hoard items. Even if you don’t live in the extreme, I can bet that you have things in your house or RV that you haven’t used or worn in years. Sell it!
Even if you’re already living full-time, we recommend cleaning out the closets and cabinets annually. You will find something in your closets and cabinets that could be sold. Go through everything and have a garage sale or sell it online. Some campgrounds even host yard sale days, so if you see those pop-up, take it as a sign to purge and sell some stuff.
Ways to Save Money on Entertainment
When it comes to ways to save money, entertainment is an area that we all could spend less money on. The United States spends more money on entertainment than any other country! Understandable, considering how fun it is go out and spend cash on experiences. However, there are alternatives to having to spend money and still have a nice time.
Buy Used Movies, Books, or Video Games
Buying used isn’t a bad thing. They work just as well as the new version. You’re going to use it anyway, and when you’re done, it will just sit on your shelf collecting dust anyway.
Utilize Local Libraries
Libraries still exist, and they have all the books and movies you could ever want. A lot of libraries are even moving to digital, and it’s all free! Finding free entertainment is one of the best ways to save money. During your RV travels, you will come across many different libraries, so take advantage.
Free Local Events
Every town has free events, especially in the summertime. Go to a concert or movie in the park. It’s always a lot of fun and one of our favorite ways to explore new cities.
Ways to Save Money on Shopping
Maybe your thing is you love to go shopping. Shopping can be expensive and even addictive. Since we hit the road, we’ve learned there are cheaper options than shopping at your favorite stores, even Target.
Yard Sales and Thrift Stores
You can find some gems at yard sales and thrift stores. It can be hit or miss, but you can get it for super cheap when you find something great. It can also be more satisfying when you do find that gem.
Shop During Sales
Don’t ever buy something at sticker price. There is always a sale going on somewhere. There is no need to ever purchase something not on sale. By waiting to buy something on sale it also minimizes impulse spending. When we think we want something, waiting for a sale gives us time to confirm we do want it.
If you know what you want, shop around online. The internet has made it easy to look at multiple stores to see which one is carrying it for the lowest price. It’s easy to price compare at different online stores and is one of the best ways to save money.
Avoid the Mall
The mall is a dangerous place. Not only are there a lot of different stores, but they always have sales. It can be very tempting to bounce from store to store buying things you don’t need. We have made it a personal rule to not shop at malls during our travels since we always end up walking out with more than we needed.
Final Thoughts on Ways to Save Money
In conclusion, there are plenty of ways to save money. When we first hit the road, we overspent like crazy. Once we realized this was not a vacation but a lifestyle, we began implementing ways to save money on the road. The above tips and tricks have helped us indulge in experiences we really want and cut costs on things that really don’t matter in the long run.