Everything in life costs money such as living, traveling, and raising children. This is a key reason why learning to save money is important. Saving money helps you take control of your finances and helps prevent you from living paycheck to paycheck.
Moreover, saving money in certain areas of your life creates the opportunity to effectively spend money in other areas such as, raising children, retirement, and having fun.
A large number of people go to work and earn money only to pay bills and then repeat it again the next day. This list has been compiled to help you break the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck.
In no particular order of importance, here goes:
1) Open an account at a different bank!
Open an account at a different bank, don’t get a debit card from that bank, and then set up an automated transfer of money to that account. It is crucial to set this up so that you have to go to that bank to access that money. This puts some distance between you and your money.
You can take this a step further by entrusting a responsible adult to be a co-signer. That will force you to have a good reason when taking money out of your savings account.
Note: I found it useful to treat automated transfers like bill payments.
2) Use big bills for your piggy bank!
The inspiration for this tip came from my girlfriend who tends to always have cash (she’s a waitress, not a drug dealer).
If you like the idea of a piggy bank, using big bills ($50 and $100 bills) helps you save money. Most people, myself included, find it difficult to break bills for a coffee. Plus, using big bills for your piggy bank means you can make larger deposits to your bank account at the different bank.
3) Pay off Credit Card!
Once upon a time, I always carried a balance on my credit card because a bird told me that’s how to improve my credit score. Lies. Pay your credit card in full so you don’t have to pay interest on it. Contrary to somewhat popular belief, Carrying a balance doesn’t actually do anything for you except make you pay interest. If you intend on saving money, paying interest is not in your best interest.
4) Renegotiate your payments!
Why pay $100 on your phone bill when you can pay $80? Why pay $200 on insurance when you can pay $180? I could keep going but you get the point. For services you always use, renegotiating prices is a good way to save money. Use your loyalty these services as leverage.
5)Track your expenses!
This tip has made quite an impact of my finances. I don’t always keep my receipts and I don’t have an excel spreadsheet to do this for me. Being that I use my debit or credit card for the majority of my purchases, tracking my expenses is easy because everything is online. I took it a step further and downloaded an app called Mint. This app categorizes everything. I can see how much I spend on restaurants, clothing, bills, etc.
Tracking my expenses that way makes me think twice about swiping cards because $60/month on coffee alone goes a long way. Yes, I did spend $60/month on coffee.
6) Don’t buy name brand!
I am all for quality and I am willing to pay for it. However, I do not buy something only for the name.
Exhibit A: I love Nike’s workout gear but I have also found quality gear at Costco.
It is important to make sure you’re not paying for the name of a product when making purchases. This tip is not exclusive to workout attire. You can apply this to anything.
It is worth mentioning that you should NEVER cheap out. Always look for quality in other products for lesser price.
7) Carpool/ Public Transport/ Bike!
Save money, gas, and the environment. Why burn your gas when you can burn someone else’s.
8) Learn to cook!
Instead of eating out, learn to cook. I generally cook once or twice a week and eat left overs the rest of the days. This saves me both time and money.
Other options are looking into ordering prepped meals. Why waste time cooking when someone else can do it for you.
9) Homemade coffee/tea!
Remember when I said I spent $60/month on coffee? I found it cheaper to buy a coffee machine, coffee mug, and coffee instead of spending that money at Starbucks or Tim Horton’s. The yearly cost of coffee based on $60/month is $720. However, if you put up the capital to buy a coffee machine, to go coffee mug, and a large can of coffee, it will cost you $100-$150 upfront and $300/year.
The $300/year is based on $25/month on a large can of coffee.
Tea is much cheaper… To go mug, tea bags, hot water? No need to run numbers on that.
10) Improve credit Score/ maintain good credit score!
Having a good credit enables you to pay less on interest. A good credit score means you pay less on your car payments, mortgage payments, loan payments, etc. Paying less on interest gives you the potential to save more money.
11) Netflix and chill!
In my personal experience, an average night at the movies with my girlfriend costs $25. That is without the popcorn, drinks, and candy that last as long as the previews. A Netflix subscription, on the other hand, only costs $10/month.
If you have loving friends and family that own a Netflix account, then watching movies is practically free. I love you mom.
12) Make a grocery list!
Making a grocery list before shopping has been effective for me. Walking in with a grocery list and buying only what’s on the list prohibits me from wandering the grocery store and buying things I may not necessarily need.
13) Use coupons!
Use coupons whenever you can. Especially for places where you spend a lot of money. You can find coupons anywhere. A simple google search could save you lots of money.
There is an app called Honey which helps you save money. Here is how it works;
1) Install the app on your google chrome browser
2) Go do some online shopping
3) At checkout, activate the app for coupon codes and cash back.
14) Turn off your lights!
This goes for your water, TV, Radios (for those who still use them), etc. Point is: Reduce the amount you pay in bills by turning everything that is not in use off.
15) Ask for a raise!
Bosses typically will not pay more if they do not have to. Asking your bosses for more money is also not very easy. Go to your boss and ask for the raise that you deserve. The worst they will say is “no” but you will not lose your job.
16) More cash, less debit!
If you find yourself in a situation where you will be spending money, cash is a good option. Pull out cash, limit yourself to that amount, and leave your debit card at home. Although using cash can make it difficult to track and categorize where your money goes, it permits you to physically see how much money you’re losing.
That concludes my list of 16 easy ways to save money. Have you tried any of these? Do you have any more ideas? Leave a comment below and let’s get a discussion going!