26 simple ways to save 100 dollars (+ my $100 challenge week 1 review)

How've you all done this week with the 100 Dollar Challenge? My goal (and YOUR goal if you're following along…) is to save at least $3.25 per day this month, in order to have an extra $100 by August 31! (And to post how you're saving on Instagram each day using #FCF100dollarChallenge).

I'm off to a good start this month. Here are 26 simple ways that I saved mucho dinero this week:

Focused on food. 

  • 1. Rather than eating out, grabbing lunch on the fly at a drive-through, or buying treats while out, I took a few extra minutes, thought through my day, and packed food with me.
  • 2. I cooked from scratch.
  • 3. I used things I already had on-hand for cooking rather than shopping for ingredients. Allrecipes.com is a great way to find recipes by searching for ingredients. I typed in ingredients I needed to use up, and found some recipes that way.
I made baked chimichangas completely from ingredients leftover from our bday BBQ. Trust me, they tasted better than they look in the pic.
  • 4. We focused on eating all our leftovers (even if we got sick of eating them…) and not wasting anything.
  • 5. Smuggled treats into the theater instead of buying them.
  • 6. Made smoothies using bruised/soft fruit we would otherwise throw away. (Tip: toss it in the freezer first to give your smoothie some nice slush!)
Took my kids to a dollar movie and packed in our own snacks, even though we had a coupon for theater concessions. Made smoothies out of old fruit.
  • 7. I planned out my week's meals in advance (on Sunday, my organizing day), and I made sure to think through my meals thoroughly BEFORE going grocery shopping.
  • 8. I price-matched all my groceries and got them for about 1/2 price.
  • 9. We froze food that we couldn't eat, to save for a future meal.
I baked a casserole that we didn't end up eating. It sat in the fridge for days and rather than throw it out I froze most of it for a future meal, and we ate the rest.
 

 Practiced self-control when shopping.

  • 10. I put things back at the register. It was at least 7 things at the dollar store!
  • 11. I focused on buying only what I NEEDED when at the store.
In one day I practiced self-control at the dollar store, and took the time to return a few small items that really added up. 
  • 12. I shopped with a list to avoid impulse-buys.
  • 13. I returned a few items that were impulse-buys, and that were “a pain” to return with 3 kids. Though they were small purchases, they added up!
  • 14. I only went grocery shopping one time this week.
Used what we had.
  • 15. Only took my kids to places that were free
  • 16. …or that we already had memberships to.
Dug through my bulging wallet and found a card to a nearby arcade that still had money on it (that I had completely forgotten about). My kids & their friends had a blast… for free. Good thing I used the card, it expires at the end of the month.
  • 17. I Avoided going to stores in general and focused on things we had already around the house.
We are currently overhauling our play room and turning it back into an office (clearly needed as you can see by the pic). I wanted to go to Ikea SO BADLY to get organizing things, but decided to “shop” my house instead and found arm-loads of stuff I can use.

Kept it simple. 
We entertained a LOT this week. We had friends from out of town stay with us Friday/Saturday. Had family in town and threw a bday party with them on Sunday. Had a daddy/daughter bday BBQ with lots of friends on Monday. Had friends over for dinner tonight. And once those friends left tonight, had other friends (and their 7 kids…) over for dessert after! (Can you tell we love entertaining?) NO, it wasn't expensive for us. In fact, I was UNDER my grocery budget this week, even with a trip to Costco. How?

  • 18. Didn't go fancy-schmancy. Dogs and burgers for dinner/bday BBQ. Simple and cheap, feeds a lot of people easily, and the hot dogs we had in the freezer already.
  • 19. Kept the bday decorations basic; a few dollar store items, and things we had leftover from previous parties. P.S…it was super fun and ultimately no one cared about the decor.
  • 20. We made extra food so we could eat the leftovers for a few days.
  • 21. For dessert with our friends, we did a simple ice cream bar with toppings I had in my pantry
  • 22. …I even chopped up old Easter candy to use as toppings.
Balanced and Tracked.
  • 23. Kept track of what I spent, and how much budget I had left.
I was meticulous about my envelope tracking this week, which was good because I had started getting lazy recently. It's AMAZING how much it helps!!! I can't even tell you. It feels good to be back on-track and in control again.
  • 24. We looked for a coupon before going to dinner.
  • 25. …but couldn't find one so we chose to go anyway, and paid too much for dinner. But didn't eat out at all the rest of the week to make up for the expense…even though I REALLY didn't want to cook Saturday night.
  • 26. Thus, we found balance and decided to pick-and-choose rather than “do it all”.
 My best friend (whom I haven't seen in 1.5 years) was in town and wanted to go to dinner at a specific restaurant. Though we couldn't find a coupon we went, paid way too much for dinner, but loved every second spending time with them. It's all about balance. We simply found a way to make up for the expense by sacrificing other things during the week.

So that was my first week! So you can see that by making simple, conscious choices about my spending, I was able to save a ton…in just 7 days. Can't wait to see how much I save this coming week!

How did YOU do this week? What little (or big) things did YOU do to save?

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