There are many good reasons to start saving money. Maybe you suddenly got slammed with an unexpected bill or maybe your friends just invited you on that trip of a lifetime. Or perhaps, you want to buy a house and you have to save for the down payment. You could even just be trying to grow your emergency fund so that you are better prepared for any unexpected expenses. Whatever your reason may be, there are a lot of ways to save money!
#1 Track Your Spending And Create A Budget
Tracking your spending is the very best way to identify areas where you can save money. All you need to do is track your spending for one month, and this will give you a good idea of where your money is going. Once you’ve identified where you’re spending your money, and you see areas where you can reduce spending, you can set a reasonable budget and then stick to it. This is a simple thing to do, and it’s a very effective way of controlling your spending.
#2 Pay Off Your Debt
If you’re carrying a credit card debt, you’re wasting money. As difficult as it may be, your top priority should be to pay off your debt and free yourself from those high interest rates. Hopefully, some of the other tips on this list will help you retain more of your cash that you can then use toward conquering your debts.
#3 Automate Savings Transfers Each Payday
If you can’t seem to create a habit of saving, scheduling automatic transfers to your savings account can be a huge help. When you have a certain amount of your paycheck automatically transferred to your savings account each payday, there’s less temptation to spend it – and you can easily watch your account balance grow over time. Review your budget and choose an amount that you can commit to regularly, then put your savings on autopilot.
#4 Negotiate Your Bills
While some of your bills, such as your rent or mortgage payment, may be non-negotiable, you may have some wiggle room with others. For example, you may be able to find a better deal on your car insurance or your cell phone service. Doing some research to find better rates, can take a little bit a time – but it can be time well spent, if it helps you save money.
#5 Set Up Automatic Payments For Bills
With our busy lives and busy schedules, it’s not uncommon to forget to pay some bills on time. An easy way to save money, is to simply pay your bills when they’re due. Companies typically charge a late fee for any balances that are overdue. And while it may just be a few bucks here there, these fees quickly add up – especially if you pay multiple bills late. So, set up automatic payments for bills to ensure that they’re paid on time, and to avoid any late fees. It’s also important to keep an eye on your bank account balance to avoid overdrafts and accumulating additional fees.
#6 Go Cash Only
Put your credit cards away, and then take out a limited amount of money from your checking account -enough to last you for a few weeks. Basically, you withdraw a limited amount and then watch it shrink. Since we’re more motivated by loss than by gain, each dollar you physically spend will force you to spend consciously.
#7 Consider Relocating
Perhaps you live in the downtown core, and your mortgage or rent costs you 2-3 times more than it would if you moved just 15-20 minutes outside of the area. Relocating to an area with a lower cost of living or downsizing your home, could potentially put hundreds to thousands of dollars in your pocket each month. Obviously there can be some roadblocks that may prevent you from moving, but if relocating is an option, it may be well worth considering.
#8 Stop Paying For Convenience
It’s the American way to pay for convenience. People are willing to pay $5 for a taco they can make at home for less than $1. They pay $6 for a cup of coffee at a local cafe rather than brew an entire pot of coffee at home for a few pennies. Taking a little extra time out of your day to make your own food, brew your own coffee or clean and repair things around the house can grow your bank account rather quickly.
#9 Make A Grocery List
Making a grocery list before you head out, will quickly save you tons of money. This will ensure that you end up buying only what you need, and that you don’t fall victim to any impulse purchases. Write down everything you need for the week. The less times you go shopping, the less likely you’ll be to pick up something you really don’t need. Plan to shop for an hour or less, and try to race the clock when you shop. This way you won’t spend time wandering around picking up things that look appealing. Also, plan to go shopping shortly after you’ve eaten. Everything will look less appealing if you’re shopping on a full stomach.
#10 Downgrade Your Cable, Phone And Internet
For most families, these three services equal big bucks every month. Monitor your use over a month or two, and decide what you actually need and what you could cut. Do you really watch any premium channels? Is your landline phone doing anything other than collecting dust? How fast do you need the internet to be if you’re only checking Facebook and email? It truly pays to shop around and find a cheaper service.
#11 Cancel Paid Subscriptions, Memberships And Services
Are you subscribed to a magazine that you never read? Are you paying for a product delivery service that you hardly ever use? If you have a gym membership, when was the last time you actually made an appearance? Paid services, subscriptions and memberships can really add up. Make a list of all the ones you have, and ask yourself if you really need them. If the answer is NO, it’s probably time to cancel.
#12 Quit Your Bad Habits
For most people, it’s not easy to quit smoking, drinking, using drugs, or overeating – but these habits are costing you more than just the price of your vice. Quitting destructive habits will improve your health, lower your insurance premiums, and save you a surprising amount of money.
#13 Buy Something New When You Replace Something Old
If you tend to buy things only because they’re on sale, or just because – perhaps it’s time to stop because you’re wasting money. By establishing a rule that you can only buy to replace something you already have, you’re creating an ‘active barrier.’ Before buying anything, think about how many of those you need, and how many you already have! Then think again, if you really need a new one. The psychology of having to open up your closet, decide what to give away, and get it to the nearest charity (or garbage can) is enough to stop many of us from buying something new.
#14 Practice The 30 Day Rule
The 30-day rule is a simple method to control impulse spending. Here’s how it works: Whenever you feel the urge to splurge – whether it’s for new shoes, a new phone, or a new car – force yourself to stop. If you’re already holding the item, put it back. Leave the store. When you get home, take a piece of paper and write down the item, the store where you found it, and the price. Also write down the date. Now post this note somewhere obvious: a calendar, the fridge, or a bulletin board. For the next thirty days, think whether you really want and need the item. If, after the 30 days, the urge is still there, then consider purchasing it. That’s all there is to it, but it’s surprisingly effective. The 30-day rule works especially well, because you aren’t actually denying yourself – you’re simply delaying gratification. This rule has another advantage: it gives you time to research the item.
#15 Take The Time To Comparison Shop
This tip goes hand in hand with the previous point. The retail industry thrives on impulse, luring you with so-called sales that urge you to make an immediate purchase. Although there are some door buster deals that may actually be worth it, more often than not, you’re better off taking your time and comparing prices with other retailers. Among the many things you should consider, are not only the base price of an item, but also any shipping costs, coupon codes, and other offers. As an added bonus, during the course of your comparison shopping, you may even realize that you don’t actually need the item you’re looking to buy!
#16 Watch Out For Fear Of Missing Out
Your favorite social media site may be super addictive and offer plenty of useful advice. But they can also lead to fear of missing out. You’ve probably seen dozens of articles – that whether intentional or not, make you feel guilty about what you’re not doing. Such as:
- Things you should do in your 20s or 30s
- At what age you should buy a house or car
- What luxury items you need to own … and so on
Ask yourself, are they really things YOU want to do or buy? Or are you checking off items on someone else’s “bucket list”? Create your own list of goals, focus on them, and let go of the rest.
#17 Turn Trash Into Cash
Another way to bring in more money is by selling things you no longer need. Look for designer items you don’t wear, electronics you aren’t using, old books, or anything else you can put up for sale on eBay or Craigslist. Figure out what your stuff is worth – so you get a fair price – and stay safe by following best practices, like meeting buyers in a public place.
#18 Earn More Money Using A Skill You Already Have
Most people only think about cutting costs. This often leads to reading silly articles online that seem to only suggest ridiculous tips on how to be frugal. We forget about the possibilities of earning more money – which is the most powerful of all. Try negotiating your salary at work, starting a second job, or freelancing in something you’re really good at. With this extra income, you’ll be surprised how fast your savings account will grow.
Saving money is not as hard as you think. You can save a significant amount of cash just by making small changes. And the best part is, not only will you learn to value money, but in the process of saving, you’ll also learn which strategies work best for you – so you can use them again when needed. Or maybe you’ll keep saving – that way you’ll always have some cash handy to cover whatever expenses come your way. At the end of the day, having a little extra in your savings account can give you the confidence and security to enjoy life. What do you think? What are some other good ways to save money? Let us know in the comments below!