It can be frustrating when it comes to saving money because living on a budget isn’t always easy. A lot of people these days tend to consider their everyday luxuries as necessities. As vital as your daily brand-named coffee may seem, it can be replaced by a cheaper alternative.
That is where the good news comes into play. There are quite a few simple ways to save money that don’t involve getting rid of your favorite things.
Instead of looking at money-saving techniques as a restriction, try to consider it as a step towards an overall goal. Whether you are trying to save money to put away for an emergency, a new car, or a vacation, having a goal and set amount in mind can make budgeting a lot more doable … and even fun.
Keep Track and Stay Focused
Saving money is difficult. If it was easy, there wouldn’t be as much debt in the world. Despite how frustrating it may feel at times, it’s important to stay focused on your ultimate savings goal.
Keeping track of how much you are saving monthly can encourage you to keep going.
If you ever feel defeated, reach out to a friend or family member for support. Having people around who are encouraging you to succeed can make the whole process much easier.
Switch Your Phone Plan
Nowadays, some phone plans are more expensive than a car payment. Big companies get away with charging higher taxes and fees because they know people rely on their cellphones.
One of the best ways to make sure you’re not overpaying for your cell service is by comparing prices with other competitors. You can also try switching your plan to a prepaid account so you know exactly what you are paying for.
Buy in Bulk
Retail stores like Sam’s Club, Costco, and BJ’s Whole Sale Club offer very competitive prices. One of the ways they are able to do this is because it costs their suppliers much less to distribute their product in bulk compared to small packaging.
Customers benefit by paying a cheaper per-unit price for each item. Household items that don’t go bad like toilet paper, detergent, and toothpaste are all good products to stock up on.
Many people don’t realize that almost anything can be negotiable. All you have to do is ask.
Unwanted fees are probably the easiest thing to get removed from your account. You can also try negotiating for lower interest rates and better cash rewards.
Keep in mind you can also negotiate for a better benefits package at work, room rates at hotels, and even lower food costs at grocery stores.
The United States spent an estimated $325 billion on retail prescription drugs in 2015, according to the National Health Expenditures. An average American household spends thousands of dollars every year filling their medical prescriptions.
Thankfully, one website is helping people save hundreds of dollars a year. GoodRX offers discount prices on prescription drugs at more than 60,000 U.S. pharmacies. Customers who use the site save an average of $355 a year.
Clipping coupons is one of the oldest money-saving techniques in the book. Coupons can be found in local newspapers, in magazines, or on the web. Searching for the latest deals will become a fun activity the whole family can enjoy.
Try to find coupons for those essential household items like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and hygiene products. When couponing, remember to stay organized and keep track of how much you are spending.
Cut Laundry Detergent Use
Store-bought laundry detergents are typically highly concentrated. This means you can get away with using the smallest suggested amount when you wash your clothes.
If you really want to try to cut down on buying laundry detergent, you could also try making your own at home. All you have to do is mix together two parts Borax, two parts washing soda, and one part grated Fels-Naptha soap.
Beat the Summer Heat
Soaring high summer temperatures can lead to even higher electricity bills. That’s why it’s critical to find cheap solutions to help beat the summer heat. An easy way to cool down a room is by placing a large bowl full of ice in front of a fan.
Also, keeping the curtains closed during the day can decrease a household temperature by 10 to 20 degrees. If things still aren’t cooling down, avoid using any electronics that give off heat, such as lights or the stove.
Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
A typical lightbulb costs around $1.00 per bulb and lasts for about a year. On the other hand, an energy-efficient LED light bulb costs around $8 per bulb but has a lifespan of up to ten years.
So, while regular lightbulbs have a lower upfront cost, the LED bulbs can save you money in the long run. They use an estimated 75% less energy and last around 25 times longer.
Use Natural Teeth Whitener
Teeth-whitening services can cost anywhere from $650 to $1,000, depending on how much your dentist charges. Luckily, there are a few cheap alternatives that can help keep your teeth looking sparkly white.
Brushing with baking soda will help whiten your smile while preventing bacteria growth. Another natural bleaching agent is hydrogen peroxide. It is suggested that you only use the 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash.
Grow Your Food
Growing your own food isn’t just a great way to save extra money on your grocery bill. There are actually quite a few benefits of gardening.
For one, it’s a great outdoor activity the whole family can enjoy. Your family will feel a sense of pride when they pick the fruits of their labor.
Researchers have also discovered that homegrown vegetables tend to have more nutrition than their store-bought counterparts.
Shop Second-Hand Stores
Thrift stores are great places filled with items from all walks of life. You truly never know what you will find in a secondhand store. That is one of the reasons why they are such fun.
Other than the excitement of bargain hunting, shopping secondhand can save you a lot of money. Some items are reduced by at least 50% or more. Thrift shopping also reduces your environmental impact.
Keep Birthdays Simple
Birthdays are a special annual event, but they can be very costly for a large family. People can easily spend hundreds of dollars on one birthday after buying presents, cake, and party supplies.
The emphasis on birthdays should really be on creating memories, not opening presents. One saving technique would be to take advantage of public low-cost locations like parks and beaches to host parties. Also, keeping the guest list small can help cut food costs.
Use Public Transportation
Cars are expensive machines that require gas, maintenance, and auto insurance. Two-car households saved an estimated $9,823 a year when they sold their second vehicle.
If selling your car isn’t an option, try giving your car a break by taking the bus or the subway to work a few days out of the week. The majority of big cities and towns provide low-cost public transportation to residents.
Save Your Change
Putting away pocket change may not seem like a big way to save money, but over time it does add up. Every time you purchase something in cash, try putting the change away in a safe location.
Even if it is a few coins, if the cash stays in your wallet or purse, you may end up spending it. Out of sight, out of mind is a good method for saving money over time.
Be Your Own Hairdresser
Colored hair can be quite costly and difficult to manage. Natural roots tend to grow out just a few weeks after getting your hair done. A monthly trip to the hairdressers can burn a large hole in your pocket.
Luckily, there are cheap alternatives to looking your best. Rubbing appropriate colored eye shadow along your roots will help disguise regrowth. Also, spraying a mixture of fresh lemon juice and water in your hair before a day in the sun can naturally bleach your hair.
Invest in a Crock-Pot
Slow cookers are an incredible kitchen appliance that can help save households valuable time and money. Instead of opting for takeout or dining at a restaurant after a busy day of work, try cooking with a crockpot.
Before you leave for work, all you have to do is place your meat and vegetables into the pot. Then set it and forget it. A deliciously effortless meal will be waiting for you and your family when you get home.
Use Credit Cards Wisely
Credit cards are a dangerous thing because they allow people to spend money they may not have. One way to avoid credit card debt is simply by not using one at all. Knowing that you have access to a certain amount of money can be tempting and could lead to overspending.
Despite the disadvantages of credit cards, there are quite a few benefits. Financial companies like Bank of America and Chase offer their clients cash-back rewards when they spend at certain places.
Take Advantage of Free Trials
A lot of companies promote their products by offering potential customers free trials. This form of marketing allows consumers to experience a product without having to pay for it right away.
Free trials can last anywhere from a week to a month. However, once the trial period is complete, you must remember to cancel it. If you forget, you could be left with another expense you never originally planned for.
Get Rid of Things
Take a look around you. Do you own belongings that you have simply lost interest in? If so, instead of throwing them away, try selling them.
Going through your house and decluttering is a great way to stay organized and make a little extra cash. You might be surprised at how many items you have stored away that are in good enough shape for reselling.
Ditch the Coffee Shop
Fancy coffees have a way of sneaking their way into our everyday routine. They provide that extra boost when you feel like you need it the most. However, they are also quite expensive. Instead of spending around $5 on a cup of coffee, try making your own.
If your favorite drink is a vanilla-iced coffee, buy a gallon of pre-brewed cold coffee and a carton of flavored creamer. You can even invest in a nice reusable cup so you don’t have to keep on buying disposable ones.
Borrow from a Friend
Before you rush out to your nearest department store to buy that household item you only intend to use once or twice, try asking a friend if you could borrow theirs. This won’t only save you valuable space in your kitchen or garage but it will also help you save money as well.
As a thank you, you could try to offer them something you have that they could use. Also, remember to return the appliance in good shape and in a timely manner.
Get Rid of Cable
Watching TV is one of America’s favorite pastimes. The average household pays around $1,200 a year on this luxury, depending on what service provider they picked.
Network applications and streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are a great alternative to pricey cable TV packages. The best part is that they have hundreds of television shows, movies, and documentaries to pick from.
Pack Your Lunch
One of the most challenging parts of saving money is cutting back on the luxuries people are so used to having. Going out for lunch every day is definitely a luxury. The average cost of eating out for lunch in the United States is $11.14, according to Statist.
Even if someone packs their lunch just three days out of the workweek, they could save around $120 a month. A great way to get into the routine is by packing lunch every day around the same time so it becomes a habit.
Buy Generic Brands
Let’s get started with those brand-named products we love to buy. They seem satisfying in all the right ways except the most important one: your pocketbook. Brand-named items are a lot more expensive than their generic counterparts.
If replacing your favorite brands seems too difficult, try doing it in increments. Start off by buying generic cereal at your local grocery store. Then slowly start replacing some of your everyday brand-named items like deodorant, shampoo, and body wash.