Of course, we all know the basics of saving money.
- Pay yourself by saving money every paycheck.
- Less debt= fewer monthly payments.
- Earn more by doing side jobs.
- Stick to your budget. There’s an app for that- Click the image below!
- Decide what things are needs and what things are wants.
- Buy cheaper brands.
- Watch the credit cards! Credit cards= more debt= more interest= more $$$.
- Eat out less. Or at least order water. Maybe pack a lunch for work instead of eating out.
- Use coupons or compare prices between grocery stores.
- Spending money is not a band aid for your soul. Watch out for emotional shopping!
- Find websites that offer better deals.
- Buy in bulk.
- DIY everything (Shaving cream, air fresheners, cleaners, laundry detergent, etc.)
But there are infinite creative ways to save money. Things that don’t just pop into your mind when you try to think of ways to cut out expenses.
And they really work!
Here are some of my favorite tips to saving money here and there… beyond the usual tricks.
As I shop, I make a hundred tiny decisions about which items to put in my cart and which items to leave on the shelf. Purchases often affect each other due to opportunity cost (If I get this, I won’t have enough money for something else). And yet, I often forget to double check the items that made it into my cart to make sure I really want them. If I review my cart before checking out, I often find that there are a few things that I put into the cart that I don’t want after all.
I have also found that things worth having are worth waiting for. When I make major purchases, you know things out of the ordinary that usually cost a lot of money, I wait 30 days before I buy. If I still want it at the end of the 30 days, the purchase is worth it. Often I lose interest in that item and save myself a lot of money!
There are so many ways to be energy efficient, which saves you money and is great for the environment. Double whammy.
We all need to have a little time out with friends here and there. When you’re in a social group, there are many ways to save yourself a few bucks.
The hard thing about being in a social group is that there is often peer pressure to spend money, not to save it.
But that doesn’t mean you have to cave.
Who knows, maybe one of your friends is trying to save money too? Your being conscious of your money sets a great example for them and reduces peer pressure to spend because everyone else is.
If you are the voice, you will find that there are many people who were thinking the same thing. They were just afraid to say it until someone else said it first.
Nobody ever talks about how peer pressure can be a good thing.
Use peer pressure to your advantage to help you make and keep financial goals. Tell other people what you are working on so that they will encourage you. Knowing that other people will check up on you makes it easier to keep your goals.
If you have a friend who is good at saving money, talk to him or her about it. Get tips that you can try out. Learn from their example.
If you really want a challenge, tell your kids about your financial goals. They will really hold you to it.
Often, your old junk is worth money to other people.
Earn back a little cash by selling old items that you don’t want or don’t use anymore. There are great tools online to help you find buyers for your old things, such as Craigslist or local Facebook pages.
Or you can have an old-fashioned garage sale.
Entitlement is an expensive attitude.
It sounds like this, “I deserve… Blah blah blah.”
Nobody “deserves” anything other than basic human rights (speech, education, protection) and the bare necessities (safety, food, water, shelter). Those of us who have more than that are lucky and should be grateful for what we have rather than thinking of what we “deserve.”
That being said, it is important to find balance in work and play. A lot of people enjoy purchasing a special treat for themselves when they’ve worked hard.
But that doesn’t mean that they have to be entitled.
There’s a big difference between “I deserve this” and “I am so lucky that I can get a special treat today”.
When you want something special, work hard and save for it. A great way to afford small treats is to save change. You might get enough to go get ice cream or a soda. My parents used to save change until they could afford to take the kids to Disneyland!
And don’t forget to teach your children to work hard rather than being entitled!
Here’s one great idea of a resource to help children learn to divide money between self and others: Moonjar Classic Moneybox: Save, Spend, Share.
Once challenge to many people is how to provide fun experiences to their kids without breaking the bank.
The great thing about kids is that they still appreciate the small things in life. It’s the parents who are mistaken when they think they have to take their kids to Disneyland every time they want to do something fun as a family.
There are so many fun and exciting family activities that you can do at home for free or with just a little $$.
Read about our fun and cheep Mother and Daughter Spa Day!
Take care of your body. I know- how is that supposed to save money? If you’re healthy, you can avoid medical bills. This is one of those times that prevention can save you a lot of headache.
- If you ask, some doctors are willing to give you a 3-month supply on prescriptions. This can be cheaper and cut down copays.
- Avoid things that can be harmful to your body, like cigarettes, drinking, or drugs. All of these habits have potential to cause medical issues. It also costs a lot of money to maintain these habits.
- Rather than paying expensive fees to participate in live fitness classes, check online for free fitness classes or buy DVD’s for a fraction of the cost of a gym membership. Click the images below!
There are some purchases that we can anticipate we will need or want in the future. If we can plan ahead, we can often save money by being in control of the timing of these purchases.
When choosing your timing, keep the following in mind:
- Purchase seasonal items (warm clothes for winter, swimming items for summer, etc.) after season ends. These items are often discounted up to 50% off.
- Similarly, holiday items go on sale after the holiday ends. You can buy Christmas ornaments, Halloween dishes, or Fourth of July decor after the holiday for half price or better. Buy what you need for the next year and have it ready to go. Then, restock again after the holiday ends.
- Various businesses have slower times when they discount prices to attract customers. Theaters have matinees, restaurants have happy hour. You can save a lot of money by shopping during a particular business’s slow time.
- Don’t shop hungry. Control the timing of your shopping trips to avoid buying more food than you need because you were hungry.
- Have a nice, warm crock pot meal ready for you when you get home from work, so that you can go shopping with a full belly!
- Visit local farmer’s markets during summer and fall months. You can find cheap, fresh produce and other goodies.
- Use up the food in your fridge before shopping again. This avoids expiring food in the bottom of your fridge. It’s hard to use up the older food when there are fresher options available to you because you just went shopping. Eat the food that needs to be used first.
- Check for hidden expenses that will pop up later on. Does that toy need batteries to work- meaning you will have to spend more money? Is that outfit dry clean only- meaning you will have to pay later to clean it?
Is it Worth the Effort?
Do small things that force yourself to put more effort into shopping. Often, a little more effort isn’t worth it and we end up saving money.
- Leave your wallet at home so you aren’t tempted to buy things.
- Remove your credit card number from Amazon or other online shopping accounts so that you have to go through the effort of plugging the numbers in.
- Make yourself save a certain amount of money for every dollar amount that you spend. For example, for every $100 that I spend I will save $10.
Help Yourself Out
We are all human. We all have pitfalls that get us every time. If there’s a certain temptation that you just can’t resist, then stay away from it altogether! Avoid those at all costs!
If you can’t help but order take out when there’s nothing good to eat at home, make sure you’ve got easy meals at hand. Have freezer meals ready or put something in the crock pot so that it’s ready to eat when you get home from work (crock pots are very energy efficient and easy to operate).
If you can’t help buying something every time you log in to your Amazon account, then stay off Amazon!
If you buy a pack of cigarettes every time you go into a gas station, then don’t go in!
Be aware of your habits and make the necessary adjustments so that you can be successful! If you want to change your financial habits, learn how to write successful goals here.
And remember, this is a great learning opportunity for your kids, so let them know what steps you’re taking to improve your finances. They will grow up to be smart savers just like you!