Whether you’re trying to strengthen your family budget or you just want to be a little more aggressive with your savings, there are countless ways to save more money.
One of the things I love writing about is earning money on your own terms. Sometimes what you need to do to be able to pull that off, though, is to reduce your spending. After all, the less you spend, the less you need to earn. This can lower the threshold for taking the leap out of your regular job and into something you find more exciting.
No matter what your reason for wanting to save money, there are so many ways you can start doing it, day in and day out. Here’s a list of my favorite tips to get you started:
Skip or Reduce Services and Subscriptions
- Add 2 weeks to the time you usually take between haircuts. It’s a long enough time that you’ll shave off the cost of several hair appointments over the year, but it’s not so long that you’ll look any worse for wear.
- Cut down your cable package, or eliminate it altogether. You can still watch your favorite shows online, and you’ll have the bonus experience of avoiding all those commercials trying to get you to go out and buy more stuff.
- Take a look at the catalogs that come in the door. Go to dmachoice.org to unsubscribe from all the catalogs coming to you in the mail. Not only will you have that much less junk mail, but you’ll be cutting the temptation to buy things you don’t otherwise need. (Take further action by emailing [email protected] and asking to be removed from their marketing database.)
- Cancel any “box” subscriptions you don’t absolutely love. If there’s a subscription that tends to send you things you don’t like or aren’t using, cancel it! You’ll save the money plus the hassle and disappointment.
- Ditch any magazine subscriptions you aren’t reading and stop buying them off the rack, too. You can save the subscription fee on any magazines you don’t absolutely love and relish, and (again) you’ll skip the pages and pages of ads.
Pay Attention to Food and Entertainment Costs
- Next time you’re bored, do anything BUT shopping. It’s easier to avoid spending when you’re avoiding places that have things for you to buy. Pick up a new pastime instead, like reading all those books you’ve got lying around.
- Start shopping using a grocery list. When you know exactly what you need and you stick to the list, you’ll save tons of money on impulse purchases and things that aren’t really necessary. Meal planning goes a long way toward making this easier, but it could be as simple as keeping a notepad on your counter and jotting down anything you’re running low on.
- Start using coupons and/or savings apps. There are several great apps like Ibotta that help you save money on groceries, and there are some great couponing blogs for every region to help you save even more. It really can make a huge difference when you aren’t used to saving money on groceries!
- Shop the sales. Make a “rule” for yourself that you’ll only buy something when it’s on sale. If you stick to the guideline, you’ll be in a great position financially: you’ll either realize that you don’t need whatever the item is by the time it does go on sale, or you’ll get what you need for a great price. (The trick here is to be deliberate about what you buy, not just to give yourself free rein to buy whatever you want off the sale rack!)
- Use deal sites like Groupon to plan your dining out and entertainment. Groupons and the like offer you great deals on places you might not otherwise hear about, and they can save you a boatload on eating out and checking out fun events in your area.
Look for Alternatives and Areas to Negotiate
- Is there a hot new clothing item you can’t wait to get your hands on? Hop onto Facebook and see if there’s a “BST” group for that brand. BST stands for “buy-sell-trade” and you can find groups and marketplaces for just about everything.
- Learn to negotiate. It might seem intimidating at first, but start experimenting with offering lower prices. I’ve had good luck getting lower prices on everything from small items on Craigslist to major transactions, simply by asking “Is there any wiggle room on price if I pay in cash?” (The only catch is that you’d need to have enough cash for the purchase.) One member of my team was able to save $600 on a new furnace simply by paying cash on the day it was installed.
- Take a few moments to look into alternative wireless plans. You might think the major carriers are the only ones, but there are some fantastic low-price wireless companies that can offer you a terrific deal… if you’re willing to part with your iPhone.
- Prescriptions are another area where you can find better prices at different places or even online. Many pharmacies offer cash back or gift cards when you transfer your prescriptions there, which could be an opportunity for major money-savings. You can use the GoodRx app to compare prices in your area.
- If you’ve been with your auto insurance company for a while, you might find big savings by signing up for a new plan. Poke around and see what new rate quotes you can get. If you like the company you’re with and you don’t want to switch to another company, give them a call and see if you qualify for any discounts that weren’t available when you first signed up.
Has your family made saving money a priority? I'd love to hear your simple tips in the comments.