Any financial guru can tell you that the key to saving money is to spend less than you earn. Duh! Unfortunately, most of us are accustomed to certain amenities and the thought of losing these might seem harsh. The goal of this list is to enable you to save money on the activities and things you already love. Set a savings goal for yourself or your family and use the following actions to achieve it.
(I know that every dollar I save will go towards my next real estate purchase.)
You probably already know that making your lunch and brewing your own coffee can save you hundreds of dollars a year. That is basic stuff! This list of 11 actions goes above and beyond making your own lunches.
1. Cancel all your monthly memberships! Ok, well you don’t have to cancel all of them, but seriously consider how much value you gain from all of your monthly memberships and subscriptions. For example: your gym membership, take the monthly fee and divide by the number of times you went last month. If your membership is $35, and you go twice a week, that’s $5 a pop.
2. Try to plan out your meals for the week. Use the weekly mailings that list all the sales and specials at your local supermarket and shop accordingly. If you like T-Bone steaks, wait until they go on sale and freeze them for later.
3. While we’re on the topic of food, don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry. I don’t have any scientific proof to back me up, but I know that I buy more food(especially snacks/desserts) when I’m hungry.
4. Start paying with cash, you’re likely to spend less than with plastic. This is one of the first things I’ll recommend to a beginning budgeter. I’ve never read a study that contradicted this fact.
5. With gas prices soaring and summer roadtrips around the corner, it’s essential to shop around for gas. I use an iPhone app called Gas Buddy that tells me the cheapest gas in my area. This is one of the easiest habits to get into and can save a ton depending on how much you drive.
6. Have you ever regretted a large purchase you made? Some people just like the thrill of buying something new. So I say, why not let them? But they key is to hold onto the item for a few days without opening it. Hold onto your next borderline purchase for a few days after purchase and see how you feel about it after 5 days.
7. KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid. There’s no need to have 3 checking accounts, 2 savings accounts, etc. This tip might not save you a ton of money, but it will make your financial life a lot simpler.
8. Do things yourself. Use the internet as a research tool for your next small project. Youtube has some great instructional videos on everything from replacing a headlamp to removing a kitchen sink. Don’t be afraid to call a plumber though if your apartment is flooding.
9. I love going out for drinks and food at nice restaurants but that can add up quickly. Instead, I like to go to happy hours and get the same quality of food and drinks at half the cost. Happy hours aren’t as convenient, but you can really save a lot without sacrificing quality.
10. Compare prices online. A lot of people are starting to utilize sites like Amazon and eBay to comparison shop for new items. In addition to lower prices, many of these sites also offer free shipping and no tax.
11. What about making more money? If you’ve exhausted all these options and still aren’t saving enough, work on earning a second income. Is there anything that you enjoy or are skilled at? See if you can parlay your hobby into a side business. The profits may not be huge, but if you enjoy doing it, it’s hardly work.
There’s no need to follow all of these actions, but a lot of people tell themselves “I’ll start saving more when I make more.” This could not be more false. As you make more money, your tastes and styles will follow accordingly. I believe saving money is a skill that must be practiced. Now is the perfect time.
Do you think saving money is important? Are there any other tips I missed, let me know about them. I want to save even more!