Interested in saving money? Who isn’t?!
Let’s face it – even if you are the most money-conscious person, there might be a way or two left to save, especially after the holidays.
While we are not financial advisors or gurus, here are a few simple tips to help you start saving without sucking all the joy out of everything. Ready?
Here are 25 Ways To Save Money And Still Have A Life.
Being structured with money and working to save it is hard work. When you reach milestones and win big victories, celebrate! You earned it and deserve to acknowledge your epic awesomeness.
How many hours does it cost?
Start thinking about money from the perspective of how much time it costs.
If you make $15 an hour, and something costs $30, that means it costs 2 hours of your life. How much do you need or want it?
Time = money.
Give Yourself Grace
There will be setbacks and mistakes. When these things happen, give yourself some grace and remember this journey has a learning curve. Take a deep breath, reset, and keep moving. You are a rock star, but you’re still human.
Have Snacks in Your Car
If you are on the go often, using the drive-through for lunch for a quick snack is easy. A simple way to reduce this is by packing a snack box in your car or even as simple as having a granola bar handy.
Having a trusted friend or advisor know your financial goals and current situation can help you when the going gets tough. They will be there to remind you of what you’re doing and why.
Set Up Bank to Auto-Transfer Funds
There are quite a few banks out there that have programs to help you automatically save money. Some will round up your purchases and the leftover change gets put in your savings account. For example, that $4.50 coffee will be a $5 purchase – with 50¢ going straight to your savings.
You can also set up to have a portion of each deposit you make transferred to savings.
Make Cash Your Friend
Want to FEEL how quickly you are spending money? Use cash. It hurts sometimes. However, it can quickly illustrate how much you have to use. You will promptly start prioritizing and setting boundaries.
MOST things you see at the store have a generic brand that’s just as good as the name brand.
Sometimes, the product is even made at the same factory. You might find a couple of products that don’t follow this norm, but easily 90% of the time, you’ll save yourself money just by buying the generic.
Do the Pantry/Freezer
Most of us have unused food products lurking in our pantry or freezer. That steak marinade you will “one day” try. The chicken breast was on sale even though you were SO over chicken last month.
Give yourself a challenge to only plan and make meals around those random things in your pantry and freezer.
It will help you save money on that shopping trip, and it freezes up physical space in your life.
Check Your Subscriptions and Auto-Charges
Subscription services can be super excellent and add richness to your life. They can also add up and junk up your life. (A lot quicker than those coins, too!)
It’s easy to forget to add these services to your list of expenses – $5 a month, $30 a month, $9 a month.
Either say no to these services or review your statements every three months to see what’s being charged and what you’re not using.
Save Your Coins
Remember that small numbers add up to make big numbers. Start saving all the coins you find and then add them up at the end of the year. You might be surprised at how much you have!
24 Hour Rule for Big Purchases
Depending on your budget and what you consider a big purchase, set a 24-hour waiting period for anything over X dollars. Getting caught up in the moment is easy, and a shiny new want can quickly turn into a need. Waiting 24 hours before making that purchase can help put things into perspective.
Pay What You Can in Advance
If you have money set aside, always ask if you can get a discount by paying in total upfront. Familiar places this option is offered would be sports programs, gyms, and medical offices.
Plan for Vacations in Advance for Savings
Find Exchange Programs for Clothes
Look up “clothing exchange program,” and you’ll find a few online programs and probably even a few local ones. Think online/mail-in clothing swap.
The Library is Your Friend
Unsubscribe from Emails
The budget is set. All is going according to plan. You feel like a money-management boss.
And then…50% off your favorite XYZ thing!
The sale is too good to pass up, even though it will reduce your budget. Money-management boss status, what?
Remove the temptation by either unsubscribing or having a separate email account only for offers and coupons. When you need or have budgeted for XYZ, search that email account for a coupon or discount.
Plan Your Meals Each Week and Stick to
Sit with a healthy snack or full tummy, and grab a pen and paper.
While you are happily munching, think through what you want to prepare and eat for the next week. Make a list of what’s missing, and then stick to your list!
Why the snack or a full stomach? Shop while hungry, and you will buy ALL THE THINGS. Plus, food helps your brain work better.
The food plan will save money and take the guesswork and frustration out of meals by eliminating the question, “What am I going to make for dinner?”
Scout out the Upcoming Months
So next month there are 5 birthday parties, a wedding you need a gift and outfit for, AND that school party you want to donate to.
Phew, well, besides being either exciting or overwhelming, it also makes next month’s budget needs a *little* higher.
Ask yourself what big things are coming and adjust accordingly. If you know you have 5 birthday parties you want to shop for, start saving a month or two early so it’s not as huge of a hit.
Check Your Insurance Rates
When was the last time you checked in on your insurance rate?
Not just for your car but for your house, health, etc.? Rate criteria are adjusted periodically, and you might have additional life changes to help lower your rate. It might not yield much, but you might find that you’ve been paying several hundred dollars over for premiums.
Look into Staycations
It’s so easy to ignore fun things in our backyard. Start paying attention to what’s around you if you haven’t already. Is there a museum you pass by every day on your way to work you’ve never been to? An escape room or aquarium? A resort?
The common thought is, “Meh, that’s what all the tourists do. Not the locals.” Well, time to be a tourist in your town. Check for resident or military or teacher or whatever discounts, save yourself flights, accommodations, etc., and play in your backyard.
Take Advantage of Apps and Coupons
You can use various apps on your phone to help you save money or get cash back on purchases. Gas stations, grocery stores, clothing stores…many places have these reward programs. Even that bougie and overpriced coffee shop has such a program.
They might not sound like huge savings, but you’ll be surprised how those nickels and dimes add up.
As a side note, you might say, “…but all the emails!!” Set up a separate email account ONLY for when you need to sign up for these programs.
Build an Emergency Fund
There’s nothing like finally progressing toward your financial goals, and your car breaks down. What is the price to fix it? A $700 repair bill, ride share costs while your car is in the shop, and probably a few lost work hours. Ouch.
Setting aside money in an emergency will help alleviate much of this stress. All the money gurus say the ultimate recommended amount is 3-6 months’ worth of expenses. However, starting small is better than not starting at all. Even having $500 in savings could help take the pressure off.
Start a Budget
I see the eye-rolling. Budgets can feel dull and restrictive, but they can help make your money work for you.
There is freedom and power in knowing how much money you have coming in and how much you have going out. Having this information can help avoid painful mistakes and wasted money…and this is true whether you make $3,000 a month or $300,000 a month.
Set a Financial Goal
Before considering your budget, ask yourself what you want your money to do for you. What goals do you have? Is it paying off that credit card finally? Is it having a down payment for a house?
Is it $500 a month extra for fun shopping and activities?
There will come moments when you find your willpower waning, and it will be SO easy to say forget it. Having a realistic goal in mind, which you have to work towards, will help keep your focus on the end game.
Lists Going Viral Right Now
So tell us, what is your favorite way to save a few dollars? What tip did you find the most helpful? What tips did we miss?