5 Cheap and Easy Fall Slow Cooker Meals

fall slow cooker recipes

Cheap Fall Slow Cooker (Crock-Pot) Recipes

Find information and links below to recipes for 5 cheap and easy fall slow cooker meals (Crock-Pot meals) that you can make for your family this season!

Winter is just around the corner, and the cooler weather is perfect for some of my favorite slow cooker (Crock-Pot) meals! These cheap and easy slow cooker meals are perfect for dinner after work and school or for an easy meal on a busy Saturday.

When it’s a cool fall day outside (or anytime, for that matter!), these tasty, inexpensive slow cooker dishes will warm you up from the inside out!

5 Cheap and Easy Fall Slow Cooker (Crock-Pot) Recipes

Below are 5 easy, inexpensive fall slow cooker meals that your family will love this season!

 

1. Slow Cooker Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

Chicken broccoli alfredo is a family favorite, and this slow cooker version is a great option on cold days (or any day, really :)). To make it even less expensive, you can make the alfredo sauce yourself with simple ingredients like the ones from Campbell’s simple chicken broccoli  alfredo recipe (which we also love). You can find a delicious slow cooker chicken broccoli alfredo recipe here.

 

Check out these related articles:

5 Cheap Slow Cooker Meals for under $5
59 Must-Know Tips to Slash Your Grocery Bill in Half!
7 Simple Steps to Use a Meal Plan to Save Money on Groceries
19 Top Tips to Save Money Eating Out
How to Use a Grocery Item Price Comparison Cheat Sheet to Save Money!
Eat Free for Your Birthday!
12 Best Tips to Save Money on Entertainment

 

2. Creamy Ranch Crock-Pot Chicken

This is another favorite fall slow cooker recipe. This easy one-pot meal has hearty chicken along with cool ranch and potatoes and vegetables. You can find this simple recipe for creamy ranch Crock-Pot chicken here.

 

3. Orange Cranberry Crock-Pot Chicken

Cranberries don’t have to be reserved just for Thanksgiving and Christmas! This sweet-tart berry can be used throughout the fall and winter season in a variety of tasty dishes. And this orange cranberry chicken dish is so easy! (Tip: You can also make this dish on the stove in less than 30 minutes! And if you love sweet and sour chicken, you can omit the orange marmalade to make a super easy and tasty sweet and sour chicken. as well, on the stove or in the slow cooker. That is another one of our favorite family dishes!) 

You can find the easy recipe for orange cranberry Crock-Pot chicken here.

 

4. Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

If you think sloppy joes are just for summer gatherings, think again! Sloppy joes are an awesome fall comfort food! This recipe makes enough for 8, so invite the neighbors over, or freeze the rest and put in a zip-top bag. Then simply thaw overnight in the fridge, or defrost in a few minutes in the microwave.

Too make this recipe even more budget friendly, you could omit the sausage and use simple bread in place of hamburger buns (we use bread in place of buns most of the time).

Get this tasty slow cooker sloppy joes recipe here.

 

5. Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

Perhaps the quintessential comfort food, chicken noodle soup is another great fall dish. You can find a tasty slow cooker chicken noodle soup recipe here.

 

Check out these related articles:

5 Cheap Slow Cooker Meals for under $5
59 Must-Know Tips to Slash Your Grocery Bill in Half!
7 Simple Steps to Use a Meal Plan to Save Money on Groceries
19 Top Tips to Save Money Eating Out
How to Use a Grocery Item Price Comparison Cheat Sheet to Save Money!
Eat Free for Your Birthday!
12 Best Tips to Save Money on Entertainment

 

Conclusion

These 5 cheap and easy fall slow cooker recipes will help you to get a hearty dinner on the table fast on those cold, busy days! Feed your family quick, delicious, inexpensive meals with these 5 fall slow cooker recipes!

 

What are your favorite fall slow cooker recipes? I would love to know your favorites (and try some new dishes!), so leave a comment below and let me know!

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Winter Energy Saving Tips: 19 Awesome Tips to Save a Ton of Money on Energy This Winter

winter energy saving tips save money on winter utilities

Winter Energy Saving Tips

In this article you will find some of the best winter energy saving tips. Learn how to slash your utility bill this winter by learning these top winter energy saving tips!

 

Tip: Save the image above to Pinterest so that you can easily refer to this article on winter energy saving tips later!

 

19 Awesome Winter Energy Saving Tips

When the winter comes along, it can make a big difference to your wallet to know how to save energy so you can save money on your electric bill. During the winter months in particular, your utility bill can really put a dent in your checking account. And especially if you have a very large or a very old home, you could be spending $300 or $400 per month or more (like we once were) to heat your home during the coldest months of the season.

I know that’s money you would rather be spending on other things! So read on to learn how you can save energy in order to save money on your monthly electric and gas bill.

 

1. Turn down your furnace to save energy during winter.

One of the easiest winter energy saving tips to follow (and doing so is free!) in order to save money on your utilities is to turn down your furnace during the winter. And it is also the winter energy saving tip that will could save you the most money. To be most energy efficient, set your furnace at 62 degrees Fahrenheit (17 degrees Celsius) or lower during the winter.

I have read that for every degree cooler you keep the thermostat you can save up to 3 percent on your energy bill. So if you will keep the thermostat at the recommended 62 degrees Fahrenheit, you could save almost 20 percent on your heat bill versus keeping it at the more common 68 degrees.

Keeping the thermostat on a more economical setting may mean wearing warmer clothes inside during the winter. In our home, we also keep blankets near each of our couches in our front room, and that is an easy way to stay warmer as well. It may mean being just a little bit uncomfortable some of the time. But you’ll sure notice a difference on your monthly utility bill as you are able to save energy!

 

2. Consider using space heaters in high-use areas.

If you have a larger home, it may be more economical during the day to use space heaters in just the rooms that you are in at any given time so that you can keep the thermostat set at a lower temperature for the rest of the home. We did this is our last home, which was about 1,000 square feet larger than this one, and it helped us lower our $400 a month winter energy bill to less than $200 a month.

3. Give your furnace a tune-up and replace the filters regularly to save energy.

To keep your furnace running efficiently, have it tuned up and maintained regularly, and replace the filters as needed (for many furnaces, once a month is recommended).

 

4. Buy a programmable thermostat to save energy.

Another big way to save money on your electric and gas bill is to buy and use a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats can give you a good return on your money spent because they allow you to effortlessly set the thermostat lower when you’re sleeping or away from your home while at work or even on vacation (if you’ll return on a weekend day, for example, when you might have the thermostat set differently than you would for a weekday).

 

5. Install ceiling fans throughout your home to save energy.

Install ceiling fans throughout your home to help keep heating bills down. Ceiling fans will help keep your home warmer in the winter by pushing the warm air (which tends to rise) down.

 

Related articles:

37 Best Tips to Slash Your Utility Bill

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5 Super Simple Steps to Save $1,000 for a Debt-Free Christmas for 2019

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6. Replace old windows and doors to save energy.

If you have  old windows (especially if they are single pane) or drafty doors and are in a home you own and plan to stay in for very long, it will likely be worth it to replace them.

When we’ve replaced the windows for both of our homes (and the doors in one of our homes), we have found a contractor on Craigslist in order to save money on the installation, so look into that option in addition to Googling local installers.

 

7. Add insulation.

If you have any areas in your home that are poorly insulated, replace or add more insulation. For example, we had more insulation added to our attic a couple of years ago. And the gas company actually did it for free as part of an initiative they were doing in the city to increase energy efficiency among utility users. So look into such opportunities, and if you have them available, take advantage of them!

 

8. Use heavier curtains and blinds to help keep in the heat.

Another winter energy saving tip is to use thicker curtains to help prevent heat loss through your windows. At night and during the day for windows that aren’t in direct sunlight, keep the curtains or blinds closed.

If you want to get really intense, you might even try this trick we did while I was in college: we would tack up blankets over our windows during the winter. I had some pretty frugal roommates, and so they asked us to turn the furnace off at night except when it was cold enough we were afraid that pipes might freeze. I kept grabbing more blankets every time I would go home for the weekend. But we survived! Good times! And I’m sure it helped build character. 🙂

In our last home, we also put plastic covering over our windows before we replaced them with new, double pane windows, so that is another winter energy saving tip. 

 

9. Turn down the thermostat and use more blankets at night.

Another simple winter energy saving tip is to use more blankets at night. If you can drop the thermostat down to 60 degrees or lower (like we used to before we had kids!) for the night, you can save a lot of money over the winter season.

 

10. Use an electric blanket.

Another way you can potentially save money on energy during the winter is to use an electric blanket at night. Though that of course uses some energy, if it keeps you warm enough that you can drop the furnace thermostat and keep your whole home at a lower temperature, you could come out way ahead. (And I have to admit—I just love heating blankets! They’re so cozy!)

 

11. Use a humidifier.

Another simple winter energy saving tip is to use a humidifier. By adding moisture to the air, a humidifier helps the air hold heat better. I love the cozy, warm feeling when using a humidifier!

 

12. Turn down your water heater and put an insulating blanket around it.

To save money heating your water during the winter, buy an insulating blanket and put it around your water heater. And turn down the water heater. To save energy, set it at 120 degrees Fahrenheit (about 49 degrees Celsius) or lower.

13. Close air vents in rooms you aren’t using.

If you have guest bedrooms, storage rooms, or other areas that you don’t use often, close the air vents in those rooms to save energy.

14. Close off rooms or areas in your home that you are’t using.

Similar to the idea just above, in addition to closing the air vents in unused rooms, close off the rooms themselves by keeping the doors closed or by hanging blankets over the doorways if there is no door. 


15. Add or replace weather stripping around doors and caulk around windows.

Another of the many relatively inexpensive things you can do around your home to improve its energy efficiency is to caulk around your windows and put new weather stripping around your doors.

 

16. Turn off Christmas lights at night and consider getting LED Christmas lights.

To save money on your Christmas lights, turn them off at night before you go to bed. And if you are ready to make a little bit of an investment, replace your Christmas lights with LED lights. That will cost a chunk of change up front, but you can save 75 percent or more of the cost of running the lights.

 

17. Consider heating your home with wood or coal (if you can get it for cheap or free!).

If you can find wood or coal for a good price, or even better, for free, then look at the option of heating your home with one of these fuels. We do not have a fireplace, but in our area I do sometimes see signs for free firewood. So if you have a fireplace, watch for these kinds of opportunities. I know one family who was able to save a lot of money by using free firewood that other people were just giving away.

 

18. Warm up with hot cocoa, hot milk, wassail, hot Tang, or a similar drink.

I know sometimes in the winter evenings I feel a little cool, even when I have a sweater on. And so I will sometimes turn up the thermostat a degree or two or three. But another thing that you can do and that I have sometimes done, instead of cranking up the thermostat, is to make some hot cocoa, hot milk, wassail, hot Tang, or even a drink made out of sugar-free gelatin (flavor of your choice; I know that probably sounds weird, but it is actually pretty good!).

If you can warm up by drinking a warm drink and it keeps you from turning up the thermostat until you go to bed, that savings can definitely add up!

 

19. Use a heating pad to get warmed up.

This tip is a good energy-saving tip for the same reason that using an energy-efficient space heater in select rooms can be. And I have done this one too! Instead of, again, cranking up the thermostat, get your heating pad and put a towel or light blanket around it, and then put it behind your back or under your seat (that is, your hind end).

Running your heating pad is really cheap (comparatively)—much cheaper than running a space heater or turning up the thermostat. And it can potentially warm you up more quickly, too! I have had the same heating pad for years, and it keeps on going, even though I have used it to warm up and not just for the occasional earache or sore muscles or similar thing. 🙂

 

Conclusion

Utility bills are the kind of bills I like the least—because you spend the money on something intangible; in a sense there isn’t much to show for your hard-earned money now being gone. What I mean is, you have nothing cool (beyond temperatures, I guess; no pun intended) to show for all that money you spent. Not even fun memories, like with an awesome family vacation.

So though I know it’s a necessary evil to spend money on the power bill and the gas bill, that doesn’t make me want to spend my money on it! 🙂 So whenever I can save energy during the winter to reduce my spending in this area, I do. And with the tips above, I hope you are able to save energy this winter—and therefore money—as well.

 

What do you do to save money on energy during the winter? What is your top winter energy-saving tip or hack? I would love to learn from you! Leave a comment below and let us know even more winter energy saving tips!

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Was there something in this article that inspired you to change something about your money? Are there ideas or tips that you feel could help a family member or friend or people in general? Would you please take a minute to share this article via email or social media? I would love your help to share these principles of financial well-being with others. Thank you!

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15 Awesome Tips to Lose Weight on a Budget

lose weight on a budget


Lose Weight on a Budget

In this article I am going to talk about how to lose weight on a budget. Find out how you can get back to a healthy weight without breaking the bank!

 

Tip: Pin the image above so that you can easily refer to this article on how to lose weight on a budget later!


 

15 Simple Steps to Lose Weight on a Budget

You can learn how to lose weight on a budget by following the 15 simple steps below.

As you work to lose weight, commit to going all in! The more focused that you get and the more you work to reach your ideal weight, the more likely you are to be able to stay motivated and to reach your goal of losing weight! And  you can do it by following these steps. I have been able to lose weight (a little weight and a lot of weight) various times throughout my life by following these simple tips to lose weight on a budget.

 

1. Understand what it takes to lose a pound.

Perhaps the most important step for how to lose weight on a budget is to understand what it takes to lose a pound.

One pound is equal to 3,500 calories. So to lose a pound, you need to consume 3,500 fewer calories than you burn. To lose two pounds, you need to consume 7,000 fewer calories than you burn.

This is a very basic concept, but it is one that I didn’t know until long after high school and college—until I was taking a wellness class sponsored by my employer, in fact. So if you want to lose 10 pounds in a month, you need to burn 35,000 more calories than you consume, or about 1,100 calories per day more than you consume. 

For most people, losing five to eight pounds in a month would be more realistic. To lose five pounds in a month, you would need to burn 17,500 more calories than you consume, or about 565 more calories per day than you consume.

 

 

2. Figure out how quickly you want to lose weight.

Next, figure out how many calories to eat and how many extra calories to burn to lose weight at the rate that you want to.

You also need to figure out your basal metabolic rate (BMR). You can do so using this simple basal metabolic rate calculator. That will let you know how many calories your body naturally burns, without doing any extra exercise.

Most nutritionists recommend that you eat no fewer than 1,200 calories per day when you are trying to lose weight. And many women’s resting metabolic rate is to burn about 1,500 calories or less a day. (For example, I burn less than 1,400 calories per day as my BMR.) That might be less than you thought, given the fact that food companies base their recommended daily nutrient percentages on a 2,000 calorie a day diet. 🙁

So that means that to burn the other 300 or so calories to be able to lose at least 5 pounds a month (if you eat 1,200 calories a day to lose weight and naturally burn 1,500, which is 300 calories more burned than consumed but then need to burn about an extra 265 calories a day beyond that to get to 565, the number we figured out above—but I’m just going to round up to 300), you will need to do some exercising in addition to cutting calories. But that is OK, because you should be doing that anyway. 🙂

 

3. Keep a food journal and record all of the calories you consume in a day.

The next important part of losing weight on a budget is to keep a food journal and log of how many calories you consume throughout the day. This is one of three most important best practices that nutritionists have found helps people to lose weight and then maintain a healthy weight long term.

You can find a bunch of calorie counting apps and websites, such as the ones at MyFitnessPal or Calorie King or A Calorie Counter. Or you can just Google “calories in a Gala apple,” for example, and you will get results from websites with that information already figured out. 

I know that calculating and tracking your calories requires a little bit of time and effort, but there are ways to make it simpler. I will talk about those a couple of paragraphs below. But for now, planning to food journal will give you some great insights into how, when, what, and even why you eat, and so I highly recommend it starting out.

To use our example from above, if we want to lose five pounds in a month, and we are planning to eat 1,200 calories per day, then we would need to plan our meals and snacks accordingly.

You will soon realize, if you haven’t already from dieting before, that 1,200 calories isn’t a lot to work with. What I usually do is 300 calories for breakfast, 300 calories for lunch plus an afternoon snack of 100 calories, and 500 calories for dinner. That keeps things really simple, and I don’t have to (now) write down everything I eat. I just make sure that I don’t eat more than 1,200 calories in a day when I am working to get back to my desired weight, and I don’t worry about tracking what I eat anymore.

So, for example, if I have something different for breakfast where I eat 400 calories instead of 300, then I simply don’t have a 100-calorie snack (like an apple or whatever) in the afternoon.

 

Related articles:

 

4. Have exercise equipment in your home or a gym you will actually go to.

According to the study that I read about that I mention above that determined best practices of maintaining a healthy weight over time, the second crucial part of being able to lose weight and then keep it off is to have exercise equipment in your home that you will use (such as an exercise bike, elliptical machine, or treadmill).

So you may want to consider buying your favorite piece of exercise equipment, even though I know that will cost some money. We bought our treadmill used for a couple hundred bucks off of Craigslist or our local classifieds (I can’t remember for sure which now), and it has worked great. If you want to save a significant amount of money, buying used is a great way to go.

If you truly don’t have space for a piece of exercise equipment in your home or apartment, then choose a gym or rec center that is close and that you enjoy enough that you will actually go there regularly! But again, if you can, exercise at home. Maybe that’s even doing aerobics or Zumba or Pilates or something, if you can burn enough calories doing that.

Or go running or biking, for example, outside near your home when you can.  Because  if you have to leave the house and drive to a gym, that’s just one more hurdle between you and losing weight. And the fewer hurdles you have, the more likely you are to succeed at losing weight and maintaining your desired weight. And of course you save money by not having to go to a gym or rec center, as well.

The simple truth is that the easier it is for you to do things to burn calories or consume fewer calories , the more likely you are to be able to lose weight.

One way to be able to burn a significant number of calories pretty quickly is to use an incline treadmill. If you have a treadmill with an incline of 30 percent and you walk at a pace of 4 miles per hour, then you can burn 20 to 25 calories a minute, or 1,200 calories in an hour. Pretty awesome!

 

5. Weigh yourself regularly.

The third best practice nutritionists have found for maintaining a healthy weight is to weigh yourself daily. Now, depending on your personality, weighing yourself every day while you are working to lose weight, however, may not be a good idea, as there will be many individual days where the scale won’t budge or where you may actually gain a pound despite an overall downward trend.

So unless it will help you stay on track and won’t demotivate you, I would recommend you don’t weigh yourself every day while trying to lose weight but rather once or twice a week.

But I do think that weighing yourself at least once a week is important while losing weight to make sure you are making progress and so you can see if you might need to adjust something. It is also a great motivation to continue to exercise and eat less when you see that you actually are losing weight.

6. Avoid special diet programs where you have to purchase special food, shakes, or the like if you want to lose weight on a budget.

In general I would recommend losing weight the old-fashioned way, by simply burning more calories than you consume with a healthy, low-calorie diet of regular food.

I have known many friends and family who have bought the foods and shakes for special diets over the years (such as Isogenix, for example), and while they can be effective for a time, they are expensive, and so they may not be maintainable long term. And unless you want to eat that food on the diet plan indefinitely, they won’t help you keep the weight off, either, once you go back to your regular foods.

If you are on a budget, which is why you are reading this article, I honestly feel that eating healthy, low-calorie, regular food is the best way to go.

 

7. Avoid fad diets if you are trying to lose weight on a budget.

Similar to the point above, if you are want to lose weight on a budget, where you don’t have to spend a ton of money, you should probably stay away from the fad diets because they may require buying food that is more expensive than what you normally eat.

I have tried one or two fad diets in my life (such as Atkins back in the day), and even if they work to help you lose weight, as with the point above, since they aren’t necessarily maintainable long term, it is very likely that the weight will come back on.

 

8. Drink adequate water.

Another important part of losing weight is to drink enough water. Did you know that if your body is dehydrated, it may actually tell you to eat, just so it can try to get the fluids that it needs? So when you are hungry, you may actually be thirsty. And even if you don’t feel particularly thirsty, keeping adequately hydrated can help you to avoid overeating. And it is better for you than diet sodas and other diet drinks.

 

9. Cut out (or at least drastically reduce) the sweets and junk food.

One of the simplest ways to lose weight on a budget, though it may not be easy, especially at first, is to eliminate or at least largely cut out sweets and other junk food.

I have a sweet tooth, and I love cookies and brownies and cake and all that stuff. So I know that it can be hard to give up that stuff (or largely give it up) for a time. But it is very hard to lose weight if you eat many sweets or junk food because of all the extra calories you have to then burn exercising. It is easier, in a sense, to give up the sweets or all but say 100 calories worth of sweets than to have to do the work to burn the calories from them.

 

10. Cut out alcohol and soda and the like.

Alcohol and soda and punch and all that are just empty calories, so cut them out. That is a simple win right there. If you just love your soda and feel you can’t live without your soda (at least, not for now; people do change over time!), then at least drink diet soda (but that’s not really good for you either . . .).

 

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11. Replace less healthy food options with healthier, low-calorie, low-cost alternatives.

In theory, a calorie is a calorie. So if you choose to eat three 100-calorie cookies for breakfast, a 400-calorie slice of pizza for lunch, and two corn dogs (200 calories each) and another 100-calorie cookie for dinner, you will still be keeping to your 1,200 calories, for example. And you would still lose weight. But that’s not a great plan! 🙂

Your body of course needs nutrients to help it run well and so you will have the energy you need to get done all that you need and want to.

So when you are working to lose weight on a budget, buy a lot of low-calorie, in-season vegetables. These include items like spinach and romaine lettuce and broccoli and carrots and the like, and make your own simple salad with a low-calorie (or even no-calorie!) dressing to save money. Frozen vegetables also work well and lose little if any nutritional value and are fairly inexpensive. Canned vegetables can also be a good option.

Fruits are another great low-calorie option because they a healthier way to satisfy your sweet tooth. And they are fairly low cost (compared to processed and special diet foods).

To save money, don’t buy organic. Or at least limit what you buy that is organic. It costs a lot more money, and it just might not be worth it in your current financial situation.

Buy more healthy, less-expensive meats as well, such as chicken, which is fairly low calorie and fairly inexpensive. and other lower-calorie, less-expensive meats like turkey.

Beans are another great option because they are super cheap (relatively) and are packed with protein. I feel they are one of the most filling food options and a great bang for your buck.

And so are eggs. A large egg is less than 100 calories, and eggs are another one of the cheapest protein items you can buy.

 

12. Avoid or buy less convenience foods, or buy them on sale.

I admit that buying packaged foods is more convenient, especially when you are trying to count calories to lose weight. But it is also more expensive. So if you are going to buy it, buy it when it’s on sale as much as you can.

 

13. Stick to the basic foods and keep things simple.

If you are willing to stick with a handful of basic foods that you eat most of the time while you are working to lose weight, you will keep things much simpler for yourself.

Once you start to count calories, it becomes pretty easy over time to know how many calories your go-to foods have. A medium apple is about 100 calories. A banana is also about 100 calories. A tablespoon of peanut butter is about 100 calories. A slice of whole-wheat bread is also about 100 calories. One ounce of cheddar cheese is about 110 calories. And a large egg is only about 80 calories. A quarter-pound chicken breast has about 190 calories. Half a cup of uncooked oatmeal has 150 calories. A cup of cooked pasta has 200 calories.

If you will come up with a basic meal plan with a handful of basic items (and then stick to your meal plan!), you can keep things simple for yourself and be well on your way to reaching your weight loss goals.

 

14. Set yourself up for success.

When trying to reach any difficult goal, you need to make a plan to help yourself succeed. When it comes to losing weight on a budget, some of those steps to success could be the following:

  • Getting rid of the junk food in the house.
  • Getting your spouse and other family members or friends to support you in your weight loss goal.
  • Putting your exercise clothes out the night before so you have fewer obstacles to getting up to exercise in the morning
  • Buying a piece of exercise equipment to have at home or work (as I mention above).
  • Getting an accountability partner.
  • Finding apps to help you track calories consumed and burned.

Again, take a little time to think about the hurdles that might keep you from losing weight (or that have kept you from losing weight in the past), and figure out ways to overcome or work around them.

 

15. Go all in.

I mentioned this above, but it is worth repeating here. One thing that can help you to succeed is to go all in. So instead of reducing the amount of junk food you eat, cut it out completely. Instead of exercising 3 days a week, exercise 6 days a week. From my experience, I am more likely to be successful (with both my financial goals and my health goals) if I give an intense amount of effort for a shorter amount of time. That way, our willpower is less likely to give out, right? That has been my experience. 🙂 

Conclusion

It definitely is possible to lose weight on a budget. When I first wanted to get serious about losing weight several years ago, I had over 50 pounds to lose. But I did it all by exercising more and counting calories on the basic, inexpensive foods that I ate. I didn’t buy any special diet foods or follow any diet plan or program. And I feel that doing things that way really does make maintaining a good weight easier because you aren’t drastically changing what you normally eat and normally do.

 

Are you ready to get serious about losing weight? What have you done to lose weight on a budget? What are your favorite go-to foods  and best tips for inexpensive weight loss?  I would love to hear your ideas! Leave a comment and let me know where you are at in your weight-loss journey!

 

 

Invitation to Share

Was there something in this article that inspired you to change something about your money? Are there ideas or tips that you feel could help a family member or friend or people in general? Would you please take a minute to share this article via email or social media? I would love your help to share these principles of financial well-being with others. Thank you!

Join Our Facebook Group!

Join our closed Families for Financial Freedom Facebook group to get support and share ideas for how we can all improve our financial well-being by earning more, spending less, saving more, and investing more and reach our financial goals. You can do this! And we are here to help.

25 Cheap Lunch Ideas

cheap lunch ideas

Cheap Lunch Ideas

Find cheap lunch ideas that you can make in 30 minutes or less for your family! If you are looking for quick and easy cheap lunch ideas, then this is the article for you!

These quick, easy, and cheap lunch ideas are perfect for busy workdays or busy weekends!

 

Tip: Save the image above to Pinterest so that you can easily refer to these cheap lunch ideas later!

 


Check out these related articles:

31 Cheapest Foods to Eat When Money Is Tight
100+ Cheap Meals for a Tight Budget
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25 Cheap Lunch Ideas

Below are 25 easy and cheap lunch ideas that you can make at work or at home in less than 30 minutes!

One of the easiest things you can do to save money on food is to take your lunch to work, eat at home when you are not at work, and to keep things simple! Today’s families are busy, and keeping things easy will help you save both time and money! Your family will enjoy these cheap lunch ideas!

Why It Is So Worth It to Stick with Cheap Lunch Ideas

It is amazing to me how many people spend $5 or more every day for lunch at work! I just can’t do it.

Lunch is a meal that you can keep oh-so-cheap and easy if you choose to! I primarily eat either a peanut butter sandwich with fruit and carrot sticks, a simple ham and cheese sandwich, an easy green salad, or leftovers for lunch every day at work, so it keeps things very simple and inexpensive.

To me it is worth it to save the tons of money that we are able to every year by not buying work lunches at the nearby food court or even the cafeteria where I work. If I bought lunch every workday it would easily cost over $100 per month (if I bought inexpensive lunches). By bringing lunch every day and investing that saved money in my Roth 401(k) instead, that money can grow to hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years.

In fact, if you invested just that $100 a month in your retirement fund from age 25 to age 65 and earned an annual average rate of return of 11 percent, which is very doable long term, you would have $774,992! If you were able to earn an annual average rate of 12 percent, also doable over the long term with good growth stock mutual funds, you would have $1,030,970! Isn’t that $1,000,000 worth bringing inexpensive lunches from home?! It sure is to me! I love the power of compound interest! Learn how to start investing here.

In the list below I am including only very simple lunch options that you can make in a matter of minutes—they are perfect for busy mornings when you are trying to get ready for work and get kids off to school. (Many of these options are great for school lunches, too!) Of course you can also use any of the ideas for dinner (or for breakfast!) listed later in this article as a meal for lunch, as well!

 

25 Easy and Cheap Lunch Ideas for Work or Home!

 

1. Peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter and banana, or peanut butter and honey sandwiches

These are about as simple an option as you can get. 🙂 But I love them!

2. Tuna fish sandwiches (with pickle, if desired)

Though not as cheap as it used to be, tuna is still an inexpensive way to go for lunch.

3. Tuna fish and egg salad sandwiches

If you love tuna sandwiches and you love egg salad sandwiches, put them together for a new twist on an old favorite.

4. Egg salad sandwiches

In our family we love this simple and tasty cheap lunch option. All you need is bread and eggs and your favorite brand of mayonnaise or salad dressing and favorite seasonings, and you are ready to go!

5. Lunch meat and cheese sandwiches (with tomato and lettuce or spinach, if desired)

Choose your favorite lunch meat such as honey ham, chicken, turkey, or beef, and then add a slice of cheese, tomato and lettuce (or spinach), and a little mayo and mustard if desired.

 

 

6. Chicken salad sandwiches

Chicken salad sandwiches are one of my all-time favorite lunches. You can keep it really simple with just the chicken and a little may or salad dressing and your favorite seasonings.

Or dress this sandwich up (see the information about chicken salad supreme sandwiches below) with your favorite nuts (such as cashews or my preferred cheaper option, peanuts), seeds, sliced grapes, cubed cheese, finely chopped apples, chopped celery, and more! There are so many options for this versatile meal!

7. Grilled cheese (with lunch meat and spinach, if desired) sandwiches and tomato soup

This classic and cheap lunch idea is great any time of year, but is particularly delicious on cold days! To make this kid-friendly dish even more filling add your favorite lunch meat, or add spinach or another favorite vegetable to boost the nutritional value!

8. Quesadillas (traditional or lunch meat and cheese; add spinach to make them more nutritious)

Quesadillas are so easy! You can use just your favorite tortilla shells and type of cheese, or add sliced lunch meat, spinach, hot dogs (kind of weird, but my younger brothers love it), beans, or favorite cooked vegetables. Yum!

9. Avocado egg salad sandwiches

Egg salad sandwiches are awesome, and adding avocado makes them even awesomer (but also more expensive :-\).

10. Bacon, lettuce, tomato, and cheese sandwiches (BLTs)

What’s not to love about classic BLTs? Add mayo or salad dressing for a little extra zing, and swap the lettuce for spinach to make them a little more nutritious.

11. Chicken salad supreme sandwiches

This is a chicken salad sandwich with even more good stuff added, like sesame seeds or peanuts (we generally use the kind we have to shell ourselves, since they are cheaper), chopped grapes, raisins, chopped apples, and dried cranberries.

12. Chicken salad

I tease (but it really is kinda true :-}) that the salad is just the way to get the ranch dressing to my mouth and that the salads that I really like to eat are the ones where I basically turn them into a sandwich. So my favorite chicken salad, for example, has croutons and cheese in addition to my favorite veggies like spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and so on.

But whatever you like to put in your chicken salad, you can’t go wrong!

13. Traditional green salad

Like I said just above, in my opinion, the best green salad is the one that is filled with tons of other great foods like meat and cheese and croutons. 🙂 But you can also keep them simpler (as I often do, despite my preferences :)) with using simple greens like leafy lettuce and spinach or kale and adding your favorite vegetables and fruits like broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, carrots, and the like.

14. Spinach and strawberry salad

Even though I do not turn this salad into a sandwich :), it is still one of my favorites. All you need are spinach, strawberries, and almonds if you have them on hand (or substitute less expensive seeds or nuts). Here is a simple strawberry spinach salad with tasty homemade dressing:

Ingredients

2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup vinegar
10 oz. fresh spinach, torn into small pieces
4 cups sliced strawberries
1/4 cup slivered almonds

Directions

1. In a mixing bowl, mix the sesame and poppy seeds, sugar, oil, and vinegar.

2. In another large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries, and almonds. Pour the dressing over the salad, and toss. Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

 

15. Avocado tuna melt

If you love avocado and tuna and cheese, you will love avocado tuna melt sandwiches! You can find a simple avocado tuna melt recipe here:

Ingredients

2 5-oz. cans of tuna
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 avocado, sliced
4 slices cheddar cheese
8 slices bread
1 tablespoon butter or margarine

Directions
1. Mix the tuna and the mayonnaise. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Place four slices of bread in large frying pan. Spread each slice with 1/4 of the tuna mixture. Add 2 to 4 slices of avocado on each.

2. Place a slice of cheddar cheese on top of avocado for each. Top sandwich with other slice of bread, butter side up.
3. Cook on medium high heat until bottom of bread is a golden brown, and then carefully flip over to toast the other side until it is also a golden brown and cheese is melted.

4. For even more goodness, add tomato and spinach or your favorite lettuce.

16. Avocado and chicken salad

This is another simple and tasty avocado dish, and a great option for a cheap meal. All you need for this easy salad are chicken, avocados, lime juice, green onion, and mayo.

Ingredients
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
2 medium avocados, diced
1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
salt, to taste
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
2 tablespoons mayo
Directions
1. In a large bowl, mix the diced avocado with 1 tablespoon of the lime juice, and season with the salt to taste. Add the chicken and the sliced green onion.
2. In a small bowl, mix the mayo and the lime juice to make the dressing.
3. Add the dressing to the chicken mixture, and mix well to coat with the dressing. Sprinkle the other tablespoon of lime juice over the top (or omit, if you want less lime juice).
4. Serve as is as a salad, or serve inside pita bread or as a sandwich or lettuce wrap.

17. Chicken avocado salad sandwiches

Similar to the cheap meal mentioned just above, here is another tasty chicken avocado salad sandwich recipe:

Ingredients
2 cup cooked chicken, chopped
2 ripe avocados, chopped
2 apples, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
8 slices of bread

Directions
1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, avocado, apple, celery, and red onion. Gently mash the avocado with a fork and stir it around so that everything is mixed well.
2. Add the parsley, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. If the mixture seems dry, add a tablespoon of oil.
3. Spread on sandwich bread, toasted bread, or pita bread.

18. Bacon, lettuce, and tomato wrap

This tasty dish is a simple alternative to regular BLT sandwiches. Simply omit the bread and keep the bacon and tomato, season to taste with salt and pepper, and wrap in large lettuce leaves.

19. Meatball sub sandwich

After a delicious spaghetti dinner, don’t just put that tasty concoction away! Take a few minutes to put some of the meatballs and sauce in a microwave-safe container, grab a couple of pieces of your favorite bread and put them in an airtight bag, and tomorrow you can have a tasty and super quick and easy lunch at work. Just reheat the meatballs, arrange them on the bread, and enjoy!

20. Pasta frittata

The meatballs aren’t the only thing you can repurpose from last night’s spaghetti fest! Making a cheap meal out of pasta frittata is another great way to use up leftovers from spaghetti. All you need are several large eggs, a little oil, some cut up vegetables such as onion and tomatoes and peppers, a couple of cups of chopped spinach, and a little shredded cheese.

Ingredients
8 large eggs
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped peppers
2 cups chopped spinach
4 oz. leftover or cooked pasta (such as penne, elbow, or spaghetti)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions
1. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
2. Heat a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add the oil. Once it is hot, add the onions, and saute them until they are translucent. Add the other vegetables, and cook them until they are slightly softened. Add the spinach and cooked pasta, and cook for 2 more minutes.
3. Pour the eggs into the pan, and turn the heat up to medium high. Cook the mixture, frequently lifting up the egg so that the uncooked egg flows underneath, until the egg is almost fully set.
4. Reduce heat to low, cover the pan, and continue cooking until the eggs are fully set. Uncover the pan and turn off the stove. Sprinkle the cheese over the frittata, and then cover the pan again for another minute or two until the cheese is melted.
5. Loosen the frittata from the pan and slide it onto a large plate. Slice into wedges, and serve.

21. Easy pasta salad

This is another cheap meal that is quick and easy to make. Use leftover pasta and add in some of your leftover vegetables like broccoli, carrots, onions, or spinach. Toss with a little oil, vinegar, and your favorite spices, and you’re set. You can also add chicken, ham, or another meat of your choice to add protein.

 

22. Parmesan pasta salad

Ingredients
1 (16 ounce) package uncooked rotini pasta
1 (16 ounce) bottle Italian salad dressing
2 cucumbers, chopped
6 tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook for 8 to 12 minutes, until al dente. Drain.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta with the Italian dressing, cucumbers, tomatoes, and green onions.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning, and gently mix into the salad.
  4. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

23. Quick and easy chicken fried rice

Ingredients
2 cups uncooked rice
1 package (12 ounces) frozen mixed vegetables
4 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
2 large eggs
2 cups shredded chicken
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

 

Directions

1. Cook rice according to package directions.

2. Prepare frozen vegetables according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon cooking oil over medium-high heat. Add eggs; cook and stir until eggs are thickened and no liquid egg remains. Remove from pan.

3. In same skillet, heat 3 tablespoons cooking oil over medium-high heat. Add cooked rice; cook and stir until rice begins to brown.

4. Stir in chicken, salt, and pepper. Add eggs and vegetables. Cook until heated through.

24. Chili cheese dogs

If you like chili dogs, then this is a simple and cheap lunch idea your family will enjoy. To your favorite hot dogs in a bun add your favorite canned chili and some shredded cheese. Serve with scoop chips and extra chili, if desired.

 

25. Sweet pasta salad

This is a fun twist on traditional macaroni salad. And even better, this simple pasta salad takes only 20 minutes to make, plus the time that you allow it to chill. (Personally, I like to eat my pasta and potato salads while they are still warm. :))

Ingredients

1 package (16 ounces) elbow macaroni
4 medium carrots (or substitute baby carrots), shredded or finely chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 cups mayonnaise
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper 

Directions

1. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain.

2. In a large bowl, combine macaroni and vegetables. Whisk together remaining ingredients until smooth and sugar is dissolved; stir into macaroni mixture. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

22. Easy pasta alad

Ingredients

1 (16 ounce) package uncooked rotini pasta

1 (16 ounce) bottle Italian salad dressing

2 cucumbers, chopped

6 tomatoes, chopped

1 bunch green onions, chopped

4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook for 8 to 12 minutes, until al dente. Drain.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta with the Italian dressing, cucumbers, tomatoes, and green onions.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning, and gently mix into the salad.
  4. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

23. Quick and easy chicken fried rice

Ingredients

2 cups uncooked rice

1 package (12 ounces) frozen mixed vegetables

4 tablespoons cooking oil, divided

2 large eggs

2 cups shredded chicken

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

 

Directions

1. Cook rice according to package directions.

2. Prepare frozen vegetables according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon cooking oil over medium-high heat. Add eggs; cook and stir until eggs are thickened and no liquid egg remains. Remove from pan.

3. In same skillet, heat 3 tablespoons cooking oil over medium-high heat. Add cooked rice; cook and stir until rice begins to brown.

4. Stir in chicken, salt, and pepper. Add eggs and vegetables. Cook until heated through.

24. Chili cheese dogs

If you like chili dogs, then this is a simple and cheap lunch idea your family will enjoy. To your favorite hot dogs in a bun add your favorite canned chili and some shredded cheese. Serve with scoop chips and extra chili, if desired.

 

25. Sweet pasta salad

This is a fun twist on traditional macaroni salad. And even better, this simple pasta salad takes only 20 minutes to make, plus the time that you allow it to chill. (Personally, I like to eat my pasta and potato salads while they are still warm. :))

Ingredients

1 package (16 ounces) elbow macaroni

4 medium carrots (or substitute baby carrots), shredded or finely chopped

1 large green pepper, chopped

1 medium red onion, chopped

2 cups mayonnaise

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

1 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

 

Directions

1. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain.

2. In a large bowl, combine macaroni and vegetables. Whisk together remaining ingredients until smooth and sugar is dissolved; stir into macaroni mixture. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

Conclusion

These 25 quick, easy, and cheap lunch ideas will let you get food on the table fast to feed your family and are a great option to avoid spending a bunch of money going out to eat on your lunch break at work or with your family! You can make all of these cheap lunch ideas in 30 minutes or less, and many of them can be ready in 5 minutes or less! Keep it simple, sweetie! 🙂

 

What are your favorite quick and cheap lunch ideas? Do you have quick and inexpensive go-to make-at-home work lunches that you just love?

Give these cheap lunch ideas a try and let me know how it goes! I would love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment below!

 

Invitation to Share

Was there something in this article that inspired you to change something about your money? Are there ideas or tips that you feel could help others? Would you please take a minute to share this article via email or social media? I would love your help to share these principles of financial well-being. Thank you!

Join Our Facebook Group!

Join our closed Families for Financial Freedom Facebook group to get support and share ideas for how we can all improve our financial well-being by earning more, spending less, saving more, and investing more and reach our financial goals. You can do this! And we are here to help.

Get the New, Free Budget Binder Printables to Help You Get Out of Debt and Save More Money!

free budget binder printables

FREE Budget Binder Printables!

Get the free Budget Binder to help you take control of your money today! The free Budget Binder printables will help you to track your income and expenses, pay off more debt, spend less and save more, and reach your financial goals!

 

Note: Save the image above to Pinterest so that you can easily refer to this web page again later!



 

Free Printable Budget Binder

 In the new, free Budget Binder, you will find tools to help you to manage your money in order to spend less, save more, and live better. Use these awesome free Budget Binder printables to get out of the debt and paycheck to paycheck cycle, and start making your money work for you!

 

In this beautiful Budget Binder, you will get these awesome printables:

  • Awesome, classically designed cover
  • 1 inch, 1.5 inch, and 2-inch spine label
  • Financial goals sheet
  • Monthly budget sheets
  • Income tracker
  • Expenses tracker
  • Debt payoff tracker
  • Saving goal tracker
  • Monthly budget review sheet
  • Notes page

Now, let’s talk about each of these free Budget Binder printables a little bit.

Classy Cover

You will love this classy cover for your beautiful Budget Binder!

Convenient Spine Labels

There are three sizes of spine labels for your Budget Binder: 1 inch, 1.5 inches, and 2 inches. No matter the size of your binder, we have got you covered!

Financial Goals Sheet

If you want to accomplish amazing things with your money and stop simply living paycheck to paycheck, you need to set and work toward awesome financial goals for an awesome financial future!

With the financial goals sheet, you can set short-term, medium-term, and long-term financial goals to help you spend less money, save more money, get out of debt, build wealth, and more!

As you set your financial goals, remember to make them SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Check out my best tips for how to reach large financial goals.

 

Monthly Budget Sheets

These monthly budget sheets are perhaps the most important part of your free Budget Binder printables!

If you have been intimidated by budgeting in the past, you don’t need to be! Think of your monthly budget as simply the mini goals that are going to help you reach your own financial awesome. Remember—you are the boss of your budget. But then once you have created your budget, let it be the boss of you, to keep you on track financially.

With these monthly budget sheets, you will record your monthly income and expenses so that you can truly manage your money!

The main categories have been designated in order for you to easily plan and organize your budget, so all you need to do is add the specific budget categories that meet the needs and circumstances of your family.

Some of the fixed expenses (meaning, the amount generally stays the same every month) you may want to include in your budget are these:

  • Tithing
  • Charitable giving
  • Rent or mortgage
  • Renters insurance
  • Homeowners insurance and property taxes (if not paid with the mortgage)
  • Car payment
  • Automobile insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Internet
  • Cell phones
  • Cable/satellite TV
  • Home phone
  • Gym or rec center membership
  • Retirement savings

In addition to these fixed expenses, you will likely have a number of variable expenses (where the amount spent fluctuates from month to month) such as the following:

  • Groceries
  • Household items (such as cleaning products, towels, and related items)
  • Eating out
  • Gasoline/fuel
  • Public transportation
  • Clothing
  • Utilities (electricity, natural gas, water, sewer, garbage)
  • Toiletries, makeup, and related items
  • Child care
  • Pet food and supplies
  • House maintenance
  • Home furnishings and appliances
  • Car maintenance
  • Education/tuition
  • Kids’ school or sport/music expenses
  • Entertainment
  • Electronics/toys
  • Recreation/sports and vacations
  • Hair care (stylist/barber)
  • Christmas and gift giving

Income Tracker

With the income tracker, write down all of the income you receive during the month, no matter how small. Even small amounts can help you accomplish big things over time!

Expense Tracker

With the expense tracker, you will record all of your expenses, how much they are for, and when they are due (if applicable). This form can help ensure you get your bills paid on time every month.

Debt Payoff Tracker

The debt payoff tracker will allow you to keep up-to-date on how much you owe for each one of your debts and when your target date is to get each one paid off. You will also see at a glance your progress toward reaching that payoff goal.

 Print a separate debt tracker page for each of your debts you are working to pay off, record your progress regularly, and you will be surprised at how quickly you are able to crush your debt and get it out of your life!

Savings Goal Tracker

This is another powerful free Budget Binder printable in your financial toolbox. Use a separate sheet to keep track of your progress toward each of your awesome savings goals.

On each sheet, record the savings goal amount, how much you have saved already, how long you plan to save for (if known), what you are saving for, and why you are saving for this financial goal.

Don’t overlook or neglect to complete the line for why you are saving! Your financial why is very important because it will help give you the motivation to reach your financial goals!

Discover how determining your financial why can help you to save more money. And get my best tips for how to achieve your financial goals.

Monthly Budget Review Sheet

On this free Budget Binder printable sheet, record areas where you struggled with keeping to your budget or what you could do better for next month. Also record financial goals for next month that your Budget Binder can help you to accomplish!

Notes Sheet

Be sure to record here any notes that will help you to manage your money better and reach your financial goals.

Conclusion

With these awesome free Budget Binder printables, you can finally make budgeting work for you! By identifying and tracking your expenses, listing your income and expenses, and including money for saving and paying off debt, you will succeed at your financial goals! It will take some time and consistent effort, but you can do this! And your future self will profusely thank you! 🙂

If you want to be able to have financial peace and stability and eventually reach financial freedom, you have to be able to have money left over after your spending to save and to invest.

And in order to do that, you have to master a budget or spending plan. If you want to win financially, as with any area of your life, you have to make a plan and stick to it.

Find information on how to stick to your budget here. And you can find the complete  Beginner’s Guide to Budgeting.

What questions do you have about the Budget Binder? Have you tried to budget before and not been able to stick with it? What are your biggest budgeting challenges or hurdles? Leave a comment below and let me know!

 

Invitation to Share

Was there something in this article that inspired you to change something about your money? Are there ideas or tips that you feel could help others? Would you please take a minute to share this article via email or social media? I would love your help to share these principles of financial well-being. Thank you!

Join Our Facebook Group!

Join our closed Families for Financial Freedom Facebook group to get support and share ideas for how we can all improve our financial well-being by earning more, spending less, saving more, and investing more and reach our financial goals. You can do this! And we are here to help.

7 Best Tips to Save Money on Car Maintenance and Repairs

save money on car repairs

Save Money on Car Repairs and Maintenance

Learn 7 top tips for how to save money on car repairs and maintenance. Whether you need to get regularly scheduled vehicle maintenance done, have repairs needed from general wear and tear on your vehicle, or need repair work done after an accident, these tips will help you save money on your vehicle.

 

Tip: Pin the image above so that you can refer later to this article on how to save money on car maintenance and repairs!

7 Best Tips to Save Money on Car Repairs and Maintenance

If you have been driving for a while, you know how expensive taking your vehicle to the shop can be. It really makes me have a love-hate relationship with my car sometimes! (In all fairness, it has been a great car, so I really shouldn’t complain. But I just hate how much money it costs to have vehicle repairs and maintenance done!) Fortunately, we have literally been able to save thousands of dollars over the years by following the five tips below.

1. Get regular maintenance done to save money on car repairs and maintenance.

You have the potential to save thousands of dollars over the years on your transportation costs by getting regular maintenance done. This can help prolong the life of your car. And the longer you are able to drive your car, the more bang you got for your purchasing buck. Get your oil changed regularly, have the tires rotated and aligned, replace filters, get recommended or needed tune-ups, and so on.

Follow the guidelines in your vehicle owner’s manual so that you are getting needed maintenance done on the recommended schedule. Though this costs money, it costs a lot less money than a blown transmission or engine from vehicle neglect! 🙂

 

2. Save money on car repairs by shopping around.

Another one of the main ways that you can save money on vehicle repairs and maintenance is by choosing carefully where to have your mechanical work done. Call around to do price comparisons so that you know where to get the best deal for the work that needs to be done.

When we have vehicle maintenance or repair work that needs to be done, I will generally call at least a half a dozen places to see who is currently offering the best price for the needed work, both auto parts stores and auto mechanics.

If you are mechanically inclined, or have a family member or friend who is, search for the needed repair on YouTube, and see if you can do the work yourself. Especially for relatively simple repairs, this could be a great option to save your family money.

And if you have children who are old enough, have them do the repairs with you (or at least watch as you do the repairs). Passing on mechanical knowledge is an invaluable skill that could save your children literally hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout their lives!

Check out these related articles:

 

3. Be very wary of car mechanics.

Related to the point just above, another way to potentially save a ton of money on vehicle maintenance and repairs is to shop around for good car mechanics. I generally call half a dozen places or more when I’m looking at repair work that needs to be done. And I also look at the price of just the cost of the part, separate from the labor.

So, when they tell me it’s going to be “$842 for parts and labor,” I ask them to break that apart for me, parts separate from the labor. I’ve had mechanics straight-up tell me that the high cost is because of the labor, which is itself very cheap, they claim. And so I ask them for the exact part name and as much info as I can get about it so that I can look it up for myself.

And I’ve looked up the cost of the part online at that very moment and can see that it’s much less than the amount they quoted me. I’ve found that generally the parts costs at least 50 percent less than the number the mechanic quoted me.

So I’ve learned over the years that most of the car mechanic shops, even the honest ones, even the ones with good or great Google or Yelp ratings, greatly inflate the cost of the parts. This is a huge profit margin for them. Please, please do your research and don’t just take what they say at face value.
How can you combat this challenge? Shop at awesome online parts discount stores like RockAuto (I’ll talk more about that below). I love RockAuto! Even the chain auto parts stores like Napa, O’Reilly Auto Parts, and AutoZone have much better prices than the mechanic will quote you—but in my experience RockAuto has always trumped those prices, hands down. Sign up for a free account with them today!

 

4. Look on Craigslist or in your local classifieds ads to find mechanics (but be careful) to save money on car repairs and maintenance.

You can also save money on your vehicle maintenance and repair costs by finding a reliable, trustworthy small-time or independent mechanic from word-of-mouth referrals from your friends (ask for recommendations on Facebook, for example), or check Craigslist. (But as with everything on Craigslist, be cautious!)

We’ve had only good experiences using services from Craigslist, but always do your due diligence. Especially for large projects, ask for references, look for online ratings, and check websites like the Better Business Bureau.

 

5. Don’t use the dealer if you want to save money on car repairs!

I’ve just explained how expensive auto mechanics can be. The dealers are even more expensive. My general rule is simple: avoid them. Instead, look to RockAuto and other online parts stores for amazing deals.

As I mention above, these online sellers generally offer a much better price than buying the part from a mechanic and even much more so than from a dealer.

6. Read the owner’s manual to help you save money on car repairs.

It is a great idea to become familiar with the regular maintenance needs of your car by reading the owner’s manual. When you first purchase your car, whether new or used, take a little time to at least scan the owner’s manual. Then you will have a general idea of needed maintenance. And if (when) something goes wrong with your car in the future, the information could prove invaluable at some point.

Did you misplace your owner’s manual? Look online! Chances are you can find an electronic copy. 

7. Don’t ignore the dashboard malfunction indicator light (check engine light).

Checking out potential issues early is another important way to save money on car repairs. Even though you may be tempted to ignore the malfunction indicator or check engine light, that is not a good idea. Even if nothing seems out of the ordinary with your vehicle, there could be a potentially big problem caused if needed maintenance work is delayed.

All of the auto parts stores that I know of do a free reading of the malfunction indicator light report and it only takes a few minutes, so at least looking into the issue won’t cost you anything and won’t take very long out of your day.

You could save a lot of money on car repairs by not putting this off!

Conclusion

 You can save a ton of money on car repairs and maintenance if you follow the tips listed above. Take care of needed regular vehicle maintenance. Save money on needed vehicle repairs by shopping around for parts and labor and by doing the work yourself if you can. Research auto mechanics before you decide to use one. And again, price compare!

 

What are your best tips for how to save money on car repairs and maintenance? Leave a comment below and let me know. I would love to hear your money-saving tips!

 

Invitation to Share

Was there something in this article that inspired you to change something about your money? Are there ideas or tips that you feel could help a family member or friend or people in general? Would you please take a minute to share this article via email or social media? I would love your help to share these principles of financial well-being with others. Thank you!

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