Saving is best accomplished by forming new habits – the less disruptive and more automatic they are, the more successful they will be. It is also important to tackle only one or two changes at a time, so you are not overwhelmed. Taking one small step at a time and turning it into a financial routine is much more achievable than trying to implement a long list of time-consuming ‘recommendations’ that most people give up on.
Did You Know?
In 1987 American Airlines saved $40,000 by eliminating one olive from its First Class salads.
The tips are divided into categories, and you will find saving easier if you:
1. Choose a couple of easy tips to follow and turn them into a habit
2. Gradually start implementing additional savings tips, one at a time
3. Invest the money you save
The Electronic Money Pit:
- Cancel cable and try Netflix
- If you are the only one using the phone in your household, do you really need a cell phone and land line?
- Find a cheaper cell phone plan & get rid of unneeded features
- Check out a family plan for multiple cell phones
- Cut out Pay-per-View, and all other entertainment charges
- Stop making in-game purchases
- Instead of buying a new video game, play an old one that you already own and haven’t used in years.
- Unless your T.V. is broken, you don’t need another one
- Don’t fall into the ‘app trap’
- Reduce your consumption of e-everything, such as e-readers, cell phones, notebooks, laptops, digital cameras, electronic toys, and battery operated anything. E-waste is not only a drain on your finances, it is an environmental time-bomb being dumped on some of the poorest nations in the world.
- Buy in bulk
- Don’t go grocery shopping when you are hungry
- Cut down the number of trips you make to the grocery store
- Buy No-Name products whenever possible
- Buy only what you need, instead of what you want
- Skip grocery shopping once in a while and live off the fridge, freezer, and pantry contents for a week
- Plan your meals in advance
- Cook in bulk, and freeze for ready made meals later
- Freeze things like bread to have as a backup
- Avoid individually packaged products
- Cut out convenience foods
- Don’t shop at convenience stores
- Make a list and stick to it
- Buy prepaid cards from your grocery store to have on hand in case you can’t make it to payday
- Check out: Make ahead freezer meals – Southern Living
- Check out: Bulk cooking – Menus4Mom
- Stop buying so many toys (for kids & big toys for you)
- Set a reduced dollar limit on gifts with friends and family
- Pick names instead of buying for everyone
- Try DIY, recycled, and upcycled gift giving
- Send free email greeting cards, instead of store bought paper cards that may require postage as well
- Give everyone on your Christmas list a ‘gift in a jar’ filled with anything from homemade cookies, candy, hot chocolate mix with candy canes, or a collection of tiny gifts. Decorate jar if desired with ribbon, ornament, etc.
- Offer your time or services – house sitting, babysitting, help with spring cleaning or yard sale, etc.
- Give food – everyone needs to eat
- Cash in your card points on gifts
- Shop after Christmas for one-size-fits-all non-perishable gifts for next season and save up to 75%
- Walk, bike, or take public transit instead of driving
- Carpool if you have to drive
- Do you really need a car? Could you get by with renting a car twice a month or taking a cab once a week?
- Buy only the car you need, not the car you want
- Pay off auto loans promptly
- Tell the doctor you can’t afford expensive prescriptions, and ask for alternatives
- Ask the doctor for samples
- Buy generic prescriptions whenever possible
- Ask the pharmacist if there is any way to lower the costs. They are there to serve you, so if they aren’t helpful, find another one
- In case someone has missed this message: Three of the habits that are the costliest to your finances, happen to be three of the worst things you can do to your health. Anything you can do to cut down or eliminate these habits will save your money and your health
- Smoking – The worst! Not only is there the obvious cost of cigarettes, you can add on higher insurance premiums, higher medical bills, more days of worked missed, more medical expenses that increase dramatically the longer you smoke.
- Alcohol – Check out Rethinking Drinking’s Alcohol Spending Calculator
- Cutting out junk food improves your diet which will help to keep medical costs down now and in the future
- Check out local free events and activities
- Buy a few $1 board games at a garage sale or thrift store & have a weekly game night
- Rediscover the Pot Luck dinner
- Invitations should all be BYOB – bring your own booze
- Make your own wine and/or beer
- Look for half priced movie nights or discount coupons
- Take the kids to see high school sporting events, science fairs, etc
- Go to a museum
Lunches – Work and School:
- Get an insulated lunch bag
- Use a thermos to take a hot lunch
- Get a reusable water bottle and/or coffee cup
- If you eat lunch in a restaurant, cut costs by $1 to $2 per meal, per week
- Eat out on special occasions or payday only
- Have a selection of ready-made food to go such as trail mix, granola bars, budget friendly meal replacement shakes, etc
- Check out this awesome site: Taking lunch to the office? – EasyLunchboxes
- Start using your local library instead of buying books
- Shop at dollar stores and thrift shops for hobby and craft supplies
- If you are a wine drinker, try making your own
- Learn the most basic skills of expensive tradespeople, so you can do some of your own carpentry, plumbing, electrical, and vehicle maintenance
- Bird watching or nature observer
- Free or near-free: reading, writing, drawing, walking, jogging, swimming, biking, gardening, volunteering your time,
- Shop in cheaper stores
- Take inventory of what you have before you buy
- Buy vintage (a.k.a. second hand)
- Consign your clothes for sale
- Trade with friends
- Don’t get suckered into the red tag sale signs on overpriced merchandise, things you don’t need, or poor quality items that can’t be returned
- Reality Check – Shopping is not a hobby and shoes are not a collectable!
- Watch your statements for ‘hidden’ fees, and reduce or eliminate them in the future
- Watch ATM fees
- Limit your cash withdrawals
- Reduce the number of cards you have
- Pay off high interest debts
- Shop around for better rates and lower fees
Around the Home:
- Get a roommate or a tenant
- Program your thermostat so you are not wasting power while you are away at work or school
- Turn the heat down overnight – that’s what blankets are for
- Turn the heat down if you leave the house
- Close the air vents in rooms you don’t use (forces more warm air (winter) or cold air (summer) to the rooms you do use)
- Keep your furnace and filters clean
- Always turn the lights off when you leave a room
- Check all doors and windows for drafts – seal with weatherstripping
- Pay bills on time – a late fee makes the cost of utilities higher
- Turn down the temperature on the hot water heater
- Learn to repair things yourself or you may end up paying $100 to get a 20 cent rubber washer replaced.
- Conserve water with low-flow shower heads and faucets
- Some utility companies provide free energy audits (some come with other freebies as well)
- Call all your utility companies or go to their website to see if they have energy saving guidance.
“Warren Buffett, perennially ranked among the world’s richest men, lives a lifestyle that hasn’t changed much since before he before he made his billions. He is often referred to as the world’s greatest investor, and his long-term track record suggests the title is well deserved. He is also legendarily frugal, residing in the same house in Omaha, Nebraska, that he bought in 1958 for $31,500.”
Apps That Get You to Save Money
How to Save Money Every Day
The 30 Year Daily Saving Habit
In case you think that small amounts of money, or a few bad spending habits don’t make a difference, check out this chart.
When that money is invested instead of wasted, it can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in 30 years. The Daily Savings column represents a dollar figure that is saved and invested every single day for 30 years. The 1% interest rate is what you could earn on a savings account, and 7% is the historic rate of return on the stock market. Inflation is not included in any figures.
While $5 may not seem like much when you are spending it every day, it adds up to $150 a month and $1825 a year. If you put it in a savings account, you will have $63,817 after 30 years. If you can handle the ups and downs of the stock market from one year to the next and just focus on the long-term outlook, a 7% return would grow to $185,533.