Do you feel guilty every time you hear people talk about how to start saving money? Well, you’re not alone. It always seems like when you decide to, something comes up. Your mother needs a new toaster, the roof needs fixing, or your teenager needs some dental work.
You might even go as far as putting the money aside, but find yourself using it to solve problems. The whole time you’re telling yourself, you’ll be able to start saving one day eventually. Maybe when you get a raise or when you’re older.
Well, you won’t. At least not with the way you’re going about it. This is because the only way you can start saving money is by getting educated on healthy money habits. You have to make money-saving a priority with your finances. You can’t keep waiting for everything to be perfect before you save, because it will never be.
One of the crucial things to note when it comes to saving money is that your future needs are more important than your current wants. There are many different ways to save some money, and none of them is rocket science. You can stop living from check to check. Here are some essential money-saving tips that we’ve discovered works over the years.
- Make A Zero-Based Budget
Before the month begins, make a budget and be intentional about it. Living without a budget is risky. With a budget, you can see where your money is going and make a savings plan. A zero-based budget gives every dollar you’ll get for the month a purpose. A budget is not just for people who make a lot of money. You can save no matter what your income is.
- Clear Your Debts
Being in debt robs you of your income. But we didn’t have to tell you this, you already know it. You can clear your debts, by start with the smallest ones and pay off till you get to the biggest. Avoid getting new ones in the meantime too. Once your income is free, you can then save more easily.
- Cut Down on Groceries
Calm down; we’re not saying you shouldn’t get a balanced diet, we’re saying you can get the same things, for cheaper. Most times, the reason why you’re spending all that money with no proof is your groceries. All those little things you think don’t matter, eventually add up (We’re side-eyeing the small junk foods here).
A bag of chips and all those goodies at the register are some things you can actually do without. So how do you cut down on groceries? You can start by planning out your meals every week. If you have in store anything you’ve put on your list, cross it out. Why buy more of something you already have? You could also try leaving your kids at home so you can really stick to your list.
Online shopping for your grocery can also help save costs. You could then have it delivered or do a pickup, depending on which works for you. It’ll save you money and time. You’ll avoid the situation where you see many things you feel you need after making your original list.
- Cancel Your Auto Subscriptions
Nowadays, having multiple subscriptions on things like Netflix, Spotify, Hulu and gym memberships are trendy. You probably have them too, it’s more important to start saving money now. Do you use them on a regular though? When was the last time you were able to go to the gym apart from that one month when you started? Continually paying for the membership won’t make you go!
Cancel them all. If it turns out that there are some that you can’t do without, you can then re-subscribe but turn off your autorenewal while at it. You should also look into getting shared subscriptions with your loved ones. They’re always a cheaper option.
- Go for Generic Items
Brand names come with a high price. All that marketing to get them in your face is part of the price you pay. The logo might be fancy, and you’ll certainly love the jingle, but that doesn’t mean it’s better. Generic brands of staple foods like rice and beans, medicines and cleaning supplies cost less and work just as well.
- Let Go of Cable TV
Cable TV costs a lot. On average, people pay $1200 a year! Why do that when you can stream your favorite shows and use any of these popular network apps? They are cost-effective alternatives and work just as well. You’re probably getting all your news from Twitter anyways. As long as you apply the no auto subscription rule, we mentioned above and only stream what you want you’ll save.
Set up your bank to auto-transfer some amount into your savings account. After making your budget and deciding how much to save, you can set up an autosave feature. Split the total amount to be saved into daily or weekly values and have them directly withdrawn into your savings account. You can also set the withdrawal to happen when you get paid.
- Don’t Spend the Extra Income
Bonuses are uplifting so often, the immediate impulse is to splurge. You can, however, do more than that. When you get extra money like an inheritance or a tax return, how about putting it to good use? It could go towards offsetting your debts or your student loans.
You could also use them to balance out your credit card. If you’re one of those that get a large tax refund every year, you can make that even better. Do this by adjusting the withholding on your paycheck. That way, you can get more money each month.
- Cut Down on Your Energy Consumption
Just a few tweaks to your energy habit can save you a buck load on your electric bill. An excellent place to start is by using LED lightbulbs. They’re energy saving which means you’ll spend less. Taking shorter showers and fixing leaky pipes help.
When replacing appliances, watch out for those which are energy saving. They may be a bit more expensive, but if you save up and get them, you’ll make money back on your energy bill.
- Unsubscribe from Emails
There’s a reason why email marketing is a massive part of advertising. They work! All those emails telling you about a sale or offering you a coupon are designed to make you spend. If you can’t see them, you won’t be tempted to overspend. So click that unsubscribe button. A bonus is that your email will heave a sigh of relief.
- Check Your Insurance Rates
Check around with several insurance companies, get several quotes. On average, people have saved $700 doing that! Have them look over things and see what savings they can get you.
- Pack Your Lunch
Outside food is a primary culprit in the gulping of your budget funds. It may seem harmless to get some lunches here and there, but it isn’t. You can save a lot just by having your breakfast at home and packing your own lunch. Also, try to have one or two date nights at home instead of going out. You can still dress up and light some candles.
- Ask About Discounts
There’s nothing wrong in asking about discounts. They’re there for you to use them. There are often special discounts for seniors, teachers, veterans, service personnel and students. You may also be surprised to discover that you pay less when you use cash.
- Take Advantage of Your Retirements Savings Plan
Sometimes, your workplace will offer to match your retirement savings when it gets to a particular amount. It would be best if you took that offer. Before you do, however, make sure you’re completely debt-free and have an emergency fund set up.
- Make Cuts to Your Phone Bill
Costly data plans, useless warranties and some unneeded insurance could be ramping up your spending. Get rid of these, start saving money now and you’ll discover you’ll be spending less. When you talk to your service providers, don’t just accept amounts upfront. Try to strike a bargain instead. If they disagree, switch to another provider with cheaper plans.
- Challenge Yourself
Set a goal of not buying anything non-essential for a month and see how far you can stick to it. You can make yourself feel better about it by simultaneously taking stock of things you are grateful for each day. Do you spend a lot on outside lunches? Challenge yourself to pack yourself lunch for a month and see how it goes. Also, if it isn’t a basic necessity, then don’t get it.
- Do It Yourself
DIY is a budget saver. Countless DIY videos on YouTube will save you a lot of money. All you have to do is search. You can become your own handyman most times. If you, however, can’t seem to get the hang of it, how about saving costs by sometimes asking a neighbor who can?
- You Do Not Need to Visit the Coffee Shop That Much
If you find that you can’t get to your day without a cup, how about just making one at home? It doesn’t always have to be instant; you can buy a bag of local beans and brew it at home yourself. You’ll discover you’re saving a lot in the end.
- How About Borrowing That Book
Rather than buying that book, have you tried seeing if you could borrow it instead? This is an easier way to read a book you like without going broke. Plus, you’ll be motivated to get started on it before the return date (Maybe this is why you have all those new shiny books you started but have never finished?). Amazon Online Books is also a significant cost-reducing alternative, and you can also check sites like Alibris and Thriftbooks for great bargains.
- How About Having A Staycation This Year?
Planning a vacation when you’re trying to save might not be a good idea. Instead of that trip to Santorini this year, how about exploring your home city? You’ll discover lots of fun new places and save thousands of dollars while at it. All you need is a little imagination and a fresh mind. This will improve your ability to start saving money now!
- Sell It!
Why do you still have that old microwave lying next to the shiny new one? There are countless apps where you can put it up for sale without leaving the comfort of your house. One of these is Facebook. Yes, you saw that right, Facebook has become a popular marketplace where sellers and buyers can get good bargains. There is also Craigslist, eBay Classifieds, Mercari, Poshmark, OfferUp, Letgo, Trovit and Locanto. You’ll be decluttering your home and saving. How cool is that?