Saving money and cutting expenses is only one part of being financially healthy, but it’s a big one. If you save money you have more to invest and grow for your future.
But how do you save money? Here’s a good list of ways you can save money.
This is a very easy, but very important first step and can save you tons of money over the course of your working life. There are many distractions that can be avoided throughout the day.
- If you’re at work, stay off time-sucking sites and apps (i.e. social media).
- If you’re at home and want to get stuff done, turn off the TV.
- If you’re at home and want to read, turn off the TV.
- If you’re at home and want to exercise, turn off the….TV.
- When you go to the grocery store, take a list and stick to it.
- Avoid the middle aisles — Your processed, unnecessary foods are located here.
- If you want to connect with your significant other more, put away your phone.
The list goes on and on. If you want to improve your finances and your life, you need to be disciplined and remove those distractions from your life.
Sell unused items
Selling unwanted/unused items is an easy way to make a little extra money. If you have a video game console you don’t use, clothes you don’t wear, etc. try selling it for a little extra.
Two added benefits to this — if there are items that you don’t sell, donate to a local charity. It’ll help someone in need and you can take a tax deduction. The other benefit is you’ve decluttered! Less stuff means more physical living space in your home. Win, win!
Sign up for customer rewards
Most stores/websites nowadays have a rewards program you can utilize. I have a countless amount of rewards programs that I use to help me save money every day.
I have one at the drugstore. I use Walmart’s savings catcher. I use Pampers rewards for my son’s’ diapers and wipes. I could go on and on.
Almost any company you could do business with will have a rewards program to save you money. You just need to find the ones that’ll benefit you the most.
Wait at least one week before you decide on a purchase
Don’t impulse buy. If it’s something that specifically a want and not a need, wait one week before you pull the trigger. If, within that time, you’ve decided that it’s not prudent decision, then don’t do it.
On the other hand, if, within that time, you still want to buy it, then go ahead and buy it!
Negotiate credit card rates
Credit cards charge HIGH interest rates. Often times, you can call them and ask them to lower your rate. Usually, if they can it’s not a lot and not for an extended period of time.
You have nothing to lose, and can save some serious dollars, so you might as well try.
Stop using credit cards
If you don’t have the discipline to pay off your balances in full each month, then stop using credit cards. You should only charge a purchase if you have the money in your bank account to pay it off right away.
Do yourself a favor and stop using credit.
DIY when you can
This can save you SO much money. If there are items around your house that repairing and you’re are able to do it yourself, you could potentially save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
Similarly, instead of buying a gift for someone, make it yourself. This will save you some money, and show the person how much you care because it takes way more time and effort to make something than it does to buy it.
Become energy efficient
This can be a very easy, but effective strategy when saving money. There are a variety of things you can do to be more energy efficient.
- Use LED light bulbs
- Turn off lights/electronics when not in use
- Seal your home (door draft block, plastic wrap on windows, etc.)
- Keep blinds open in direct sunlight to heat house (winter)
- Keep blinds closed in direct sunlight to cool house (summer)
- Keep thermostat higher in summer and lower during winter
- Reverse fan direction (blow up during winter, blow down during summer)
- Caulk windows to prevent leaks
- The list goes on. Make your home energy efficient. It saves you money and helps the environment.
Drink water often and from the faucet
Drinking water regularly will benefit you in two ways. One, drinking water is good for you and for your health. Two, it suppresses your appetite which will save you money on food.
If you are a water drinker, use the faucet. Drinking bottled water is a lot more expensive than drinking water from your local municipality. The average cost for bottled water is $1.22/gallon, whereas tap water is $.004/gallon. (Source)
Save on groceries
There are a few ways to save money at the grocery store.
- Meal plan and make a list — You know what you need, so get in and get out. Don’t deviate from the list
- Shop around — There won’t be one store that wins on price for every item. Find which stores offer the best deals on all the items you need.
- Use coupons and/or apps to help you save at the store
Cancel gym membership
Gym memberships can be very expensive. Going to the gym to exercise is great if you actually go on a regular basis. Statistics show that of the people who have memberships, only half go on a regular basis (Source). That’s a waste of money.
Besides, you don’t need fancy equipment to get some exercise. Go out for a walk for 30 minutes each day. Do some bodyweight exercises at home, or spend a little money on some home gym equipment. After a few months, it’ll pay for itself.
Cable is expensive and you rarely get what you pay for. It’s more cost effective to use subscription services, like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.
Don’t go to the theater
Movies at the theater are expensive! If you’re going at night you’re paying at least $10 per person. And if you’re eating there too, forget about!
Buy the movie once it comes out on DVD, or rent it from a Redbox or the library.
Rent from library
This is a very simple, yet effective way to save money on entertainment. You can rent movies, CDs, and books from the library. The biggest benefit, it’s free!
Buy generic items
Name brand items can sometimes be a few more dollars than generic products. If you are buying all name brand products throughout the year, that will really add up.
Generic items are close to if not exactly the same quality as the name brand.
Stop going out to eat
This one should probably be listed first. It’s so obvious, yet most of us struggle with it. I know my wife and I are suckers for restaurant food.
It’s okay to treat yourself once and a while but limit the number of times you go out to eat.
Buy in bulk
For any item, you know you are going to use over and over again, buy it in bulk. It’s more expensive up front, but the cost per unit is much lower.
The one caveat to this is if you are buying food in bulk, make sure you eat it all. If some of it goes bad before you use it, you’re wasting money and would probably be better off lowering the quantity.
Refinancing your loans, whether it’s your mortgage or your student loans could save you a significant amount of money.
The goal of a refinancing is to lower your interest rate, so if interest rates have decreased and/or your credit score has improved, it might be time to look at refinancing.
Find community events for entertainment
Depending on your community, there are probably a handful of free/cheap events happening every month. Look around your city’s website or your city’s Facebook page to see if there some events you’re interested in.
If you are hosting a party, make it a potluck. Having to cook and prepare food for a group of people is taxing and expensive.
Have every guest bring a little something, so it reduces the amount of work and money it takes to prepare.
Spend on maintenance
Money spent on maintenance is money well spent. If you go years without maintaining your car, furnace, air conditioner, etc. you’ll pay for it. Regular maintenance is what helps your equipment run efficiently and run longer.
The is a simple and not very time-consuming method to save some money. Unless you’re an extreme couponer, then it’s very time-consuming.
If you know you’re going to a particular store, go to their website to see if they have coupons for the things you need. If you know you need a particular product, go to Coupons.com and search for the product there to see if they have coupons for you.
If you do go out to eat, happy hour
On the occasions that you do go out to eat, try to go during happy hour. Most places have food and drink specials that can save you some money.
Carpooling is an effective way to save money on transportation. If you have co-workers that live close to you or are on your way into work ask if they’d be interested in carpooling. That way, you all split the costs of commuting to work.
Use public transportation
Cars are expensive. You have to pay for gas, insurance, registration, etc. Not to mention it’s the least safe method of transportation available. Get a bus pass and take that instead.
This is self-explanatory. If you have food that you haven’t used, don’t let it go to waste. Make it into something different or throw everything to a crock pot and make a stew.
Plain and simple, new stuff is expensive. More often than not, it isn’t worth. New cars lose a good chunk of their value the second you pull off the lot.
Refurbished electronics can be as reliable as new ones at a fraction of the cost.
On a similar note, try repairing damaged items before you go and buy a new replacement.
Saving money can be relatively easy if you look in the right places. For the most part, however, being disciplined plays one of the biggest roles in your financial life, so work on that every day.
To learn more about how you can save money and for our disclosures, visit www.crgfinancialservices.com/