5 more realistic financial tips and tricks for blue families

A couple of years ago (has it really been that long?!) I published THIS post with some little ways we as a blue family save money. The other day when I put a prayer box in my Instagram stories, so many of you said you were stressed about finances. I get it! Finances can be a huge stressor in life and in a marriage.

If you haven’t already, consider sitting down with your partner and making a budget. It’s hard to save money when you don’t know what you’re spending it on in the first place! You can do this on paper, in a spreadsheet, or through numerous apps like Mint and Rocket Money.

If you’re interested in creating a plan to get out of debt, I like most of the principles by Dave Ramsey. I also love following The Budget Mom and Fun Cheap or Free for various financial tips and tricks.

Here’s 5 of the ways that we are mindful of our spending as a blue family!

Go through your subscriptions and cut back what’s unnecessary or unused. Did you sign up for a free trial last year that you never cancelled? Do you have streaming apps that you don’t really use? Go through allllllll your subscriptions (there’s so many these days!) and take inventory of what you really need and want. Even $5 and $10 per month subscriptions add up quickly-you could be saving hundreds of dollars per year just by cancelling one or two.

Utilize discounts, promo codes, free trials, and first responder discounts. We save $25 per month on our Verizon bill simply because my officer is a first responder! Many services and businesses have discounts for service members. You can go to GovX or IDme to see a big list. Some smaller “mom and pop” businesses also have specials and discounts-check their websites or ads to see! A lot of other services have introductory rates or free trials (like YouTube TV, Apple Music, Hulu, etc). Utilize these when you can-just don’t forget to cancel it if you don’t want it past the free trial! Some companies will also give you a discount if you contact them to negotiate-we recently saved $25 on our internet services by inquiring if they had any discounts available. Sometimes memberships you already have come with additional benefits-for example, Amazon Prime comes with GrubHub+ and Prime Video, and our Chase credit card comes with a free year of Instacart.

Trade date nights with a trusted friend or family member. If you have kiddos, you know that babysitting costs can add up quickly! If you have friends or family members in a similar situation, offer to trade of date nights or days. Then, both couples get some time away from home without the extra sitter cost. This goes without saying, but make sure that the people you’re leaving your kiddos with are those you trust. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your kids with anyone during this season of life, consider take out on the couch and a streamed movie after they’re put to bed! It still feels like a date night, but is a lot cheaper than going out. You can also do this if you don’t have kids-consider going to the park, making a meal together, or taking a walk instead of going to the movie theater or out for cocktails. We have this book and it’s full of fun date ideas that range in price and planning. It’s a fun way for my officer and I to keep things fun and fresh!

Use money back apps and digital coupons. I use both Ibotta and Fetch Rewards to get some extra bang for my buck when I shop! Upload your receipts and get rewarded with “points” or cash back that can be turned into gift cards or cashed out in PayPal. I only use these apps for purchases I would already be making (like groceries or a winter coat). Remember-a sale isn’t a good deal if you weren’t going to buy it in the first place! I also scour Kroger or Safeway or wherever I’m shopping for digital coupons (they’re available through the app you’re ordering groceries from). Realistically, I’m not going to clip physical coupons, but I’ll easily “clip” them digitally when they show up in my cart! If you decide to use Ibotta use my code “dinprpb” and if you decide to use Fetch use my code “MFXCM3” and we’ll both get some cash back!

Meal plan and use grocery pick up or delivery to cut back on impulse purchases. Eating at home instead of out is one of the biggest money savers there is! By meal planning at the beginning of each week or month, you’re less likely to resort to picking up a quick meal on your way home or ordering in a pricey meal. The better you get at meal planning, the more you can save by grouping meals with like ingredients together, freezing extras, and making your own ingredients (seasonings, broths, baby food, etc.) instead of purchasing them. One of my absolute favorite recipe websites is Budget Bytes. It’s full of yummy meals and she breaks down each recipe by cost! Finally, consider picking up your groceries (usually always free) or having them delivered (sometimes free or requires a membership) to cut back on impulse buys. I find I’m way less likely to grab that pack of gum or bottle of soda when I’m ordering on my computer instead of staring at it while I wait in line at the store.

**This is not a sponsored post-I love everything recommended! The a+g blog may contain affiliate links.**

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