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Lifestyle

30 Ways You Can Start Saving Money

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Saving money is something often at the top of many New Year’s Resolutions lists, but it sometimes seems like such an abstract concept that we are often nowhere near a solid financial goal or plan come mid-year. This is a reminder that you can still start saving money — starting today. All you need is to learn some handy tips, get a plan in place, and be disciplined about it.

In order to get you started on a goal of saving money in 2019 into 2020, or to keep you motivated, inspired, and disciplined, here are 30 easy-to-follow pointers on how you can save money. Feel free to share these with friends and family. We can all use the extra help when it comes to augmenting our wealth!

Create a Budget — For Real

Some people avoid really sitting down and setting a specific budget each month because this means getting really honest about how much you spend, versus how much you bring in. However, setting a budget and taking a laser-focused look at your spending makes things real. Having a clear budget allows you to see what all your monthly bills are, how much is coming in, and where it’s going and should go. It takes a bit of work in the beginning, but once you figure it out, monthly budgets from then on are a breeze.

Check Your Priorities, M’ija

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Once you see exactly how much you spend each month on little luxuries, things you think are inexpensive, and all that extra stuff, you will see that you could have had more money to save each month had you not gotten these things! Small purchases seem like no big deal when you buy them (often to feel like you’re indulging), but they add up over the course of a month, a year, and beyond. Do you want to appease yourself in the short term, or have real money saved up soon? It’s about being an adult, really analyzing your priorities, and seeing how you are going to realistically achieve those goals.

Take Lunch to Work

Now that you realize you need to start taking steps to save money, why not start with money you are already throwing away every day? Eating out for breakfast or lunch will save you time, and is convenient, but it adds up — fast. Why not eat breakfast at home, or make one to take with you, along with your lunch? You will save a ton of money, avoid eating unhealthy food, know what’s in your meals, and help the environment by avoiding buying plastic containers, to-go boxes, plastic utensils, and more. Everyone wins!

Cancel Those Subscriptions and Memberships You Aren’t Using

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It’s crazy how much marketing affects us in daily life. They make us think we need the latest greatest thing. We need more stuff or we are missing out. The emails, the billboards, Instagram sponsored ads, Facebook ads. It’s everywhere. • I have to turn a blind eye otherwise it’s easy to fall into that. Or it’s best I unsubscribe from the emails, unlike certain pages so I don’t see all the “stuff” , or simply not go to Target! 🤦🏻‍♀️. Anyone else?!? • Get rid of all the temptations…. delete, ignore or remove yourself! Cancel all memberships and see how you feel! • If you miss it for more then a month maybe add one thing back in. But I’m pretty sure you won’t miss it! It’s a great feeling becoming so simple and minimalistic! #nospendapril2019

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Our lives have gone digital, but we are still human. Chances are, you don’t even know how many things you’re subscribed to, in terms of paid apps, memberships, online subscriptions, and more. Take a look at your bank account, Google account, and other sites that will show you what you’re signed up for. Then, eliminate those you aren’t using. All those inexpensive monthly fees add up, and if you’re not even having the time to use them, why bother? Talk to your friends and/or fam and share these memberships! While you’re at it, also unsubscribe from brand and store emails — they’re great at getting you to buy things you shouldn’t!

Take Advantage of Store Deals

There are many people who loathe shopping, and just want to get it, buy what they need, and get out. Totally understandable, but if you take a look at the store deals each week (you can usually do this via the store’s app or online, as well as printed circulars), and pay attention to in-store deals you come across, it can save you a lot of money on your purchases. If you have the time, you can combine manufacturer coupons with in-store deals for incredible savings!

Plan Your Meals

 

Planning is a pain in the butt, but it works, saves time, and saves money! It takes a little more time, but it’s worth it. While you are looking at those weekly store ads, use the deals you see to plan your weekly meals. If you have any coupons that match up with these deals, clip them and take them along with you on your shopping trip. Whether or not you go the extra steps of looking at deals, if you plan your meals ahead, you will avoid spending way too much time at the store, and buying things you don’t need and/or won’t eat.

Use a Money Organizing App

We aren’t all financial experts, so getting tips and tricks, as well as a sense of organization when it comes to saving money is gold. This is why it may be worth it to download a money saving app, Like Qapital, Acorns, and/or EveryDollar on your phone. It will show you where your money is going, offer ways to save money and keep you on budget.

Make Coffee at Home

An easy way to start saving money is to start making your own coffee at home. Coffee is relatively not a bank-breaker, but all those frappuccinos, fancy lattes, and specialty coffees do add up. Do the math — you’ll be surprised. There is also a health bonus to making your own coffee; it ensures a healthier brew, as you’ll know exactly what ingredients are in it. As with taking any other beverages and food from home to the office (in reusable containers made out of healthy, natural materials), it also helps the environment by cutting down on waste.

Use Coupons

While you don’t have to become an extreme couponer, if you have some coupons, use them! These days, many will print out during your transaction for your next use, and they tend to be products you already buy. If you want to save even more money, use store deals along with coupons for each item itself (called manufacturer coupons). You can find these in Sunday newspapers, on apps, and online to print.

Buy in Bulk

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When you see a good deal, stock up! These include buy-one-get-one-free deals, severely discounted products, and buying items in bulk. It will really save you money in the long run. Make a list of items you use the most each month, both in food and household products (cleaning and care products) and see where you can benefit from buying more at a time. This will save you time wasted on shopping smaller and will also save you money in the long run!

Get Your Deli Meats at the Deli, and Grate Your Own Cheese

When it comes to grocery shopping, sometimes old school tips can wind up saving you a significant amount of money. Going to the deli to have your deli meats sliced, and grating your own cheese will ensure that your food is without a lot of the preservatives and other icky ingredients (like cellulose in shredded and powdered cheese) that you don’t want to ingest. It also saves money!

Open a Savings Account

While you don’t have to open an official savings account, it does make you feel like you mean business. Plus, you can get an account that accrues interest, so that your money will be making money. Do whatever works for you —that can be having different jars or envelopes dedicated to different goals (vacation, new car, new house), opening an account, giving your money to a trusted friend or family member for safekeeping, etc.

Be a Mindful Shopper

When we go to shop anywhere, things are merchandised so that we buy them. Stores and their buyers don’t care if we are trying to save money — they want us to spend money! Be mindful when you shop. Go with a plan and a list. Look on the shelves above and below your line of sight for the better deals. Avoid impulse buys like all those cool things they set up around you near the registers, and don’t fall for all those fun, decorated endcaps (displays located at the end of aisles) with enticing signage and other sections meant to grab your attention — and your dollar. Play them, with a plan, coupons, and a maintained focus — don’t let the stores play you!

Quit Smoking

Womp womp. No, we aren’t trying to tell you what to do, but chances are, you know that smoking is really bad for your health. And your wallet. If you are serious about saving money and saving your health, quitting smoking is a two-for-one deal!

Don’t Be a Label Whore

We are taught that name brands are always better than generic versions of the same things, and especially today, that isn’t always the case. When you purchase name brand items, you are often paying more for the name. Buying the supermarket or drugstore’s house brand version will save you a few bucks. Just make sure to check the ingredients, as some name-brand options might have better, or more natural ingredients.

You may trust name-brand medications more than the generic versions, but by buying them, you are throwing your money away. Generic medications are just the same as the name-brand ones. In fact, the FDA “requires generic drugs to have the same active ingredient, strength, dosage form, and route of administration as the brand-name drug. The generic manufacturer must [also] prove its drug is the same (bioequivalent) as the brand-name drug.” So, now that you know, you can opt for generic over-the-counter drugs, and tell the pharmacist that you’d like the generic option for your prescribed medicines (after checking with your doctor that the quality is the same across the board; some name-brand medications have better-quality ingredients, for example). Your wallet will thank you.

Go Out Less

While you don’t have to give up your social life and become a hermit, your wallet, and savings plan will benefit if you calmed it down a little. Try doing something fun at home, like having your friends over for a pampering spa at home day, watching movies, cooking a fun meal, or updating each other’s wardrobe, a la Sex and the City. Or you can find fun free events to attend in your city, like festivals, art shows, free days at museums, etc.

Buy Used, Thrifted, and Vintage

A lot of people love to shop vintage and other used items regardless of what their savings look like. When you shop vintage or thrift items, not only do you save a ton of money, but you get items that you often won’t be able to find anywhere else. It’s also a form of recycling, which gives items a new life and cuts down on the waste that is negatively affecting the environment.

Cancel Your Cable

There was a point where we were pretty much depended on cable companies to be able to watch our favorite shows and movies. They knew this, and they charged us whatever they wanted. Thankfully, we have more options now. More and more people are saving a lot of money each month by canceling their cable subscriptions, and instead signing up for streaming services through Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Prime HBO Now, and more.

Do Your Own Nails

While it’s so pampering to get your nails done, especially every two weeks, there are times where you can make the sacrifice to do them yourselves, at home. Remember we talked about priorities?! If you are serious about saving money, you have to start with the non-necessities. You can make a fun day out of it with fam or friends, and do each others’ nails, with cocktails, great music, and yummy snacks.

Stop Wasting Electricity and Water

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Heard about “vampire power”? It's the amount of power a device uses in standby mode when you aren’t using it. But just how much difference does vampire power of a charger count to, and is it worth the hassle of unplugging them when you aren’t using them? First, it is a matter of fact that each system consumes at a different range. Let's use math to arrive at numbers ease the understanding. Each charger on an sverage consumes 0.3 Watts/day. Let’s assume these are all plugged in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, over an entire year. There are 8760 hours in a year. That equates to 2.628 kilowatt hours (kWh). Why think twice if you could save energy by a little act of conciousness? #mychoicematters #tuesdaytip #savetheplanet #savelectricity #noplanetb #nature #lightishope #life #spark #ledawareness

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Don’t equate turning off lights that don’t need to be on and unplugging appliances you aren’t using with “acting broke.” It’s about not wasting energy and money. Same goes with turning off the water while brushing your teeth or cutting down on your showers. We waste so much, that if we were more cognizant of how much we waste and started implementing ways to cut back, we would be helping both the environment and ourselves.

Buy Fresh Food and Cut Your Own Fruits and Vegetables

Whether it’s the boxed foods that live in the center aisles of the supermarket (fresh foods like bread, produce, and meats are always on the perimeters of the store), or packaged healthy, fresh food, you are probably paying too much. You are paying for the packaging, as well as the food. You are also paying for someone to prepare, arrange, and package it, to essentially make life easier for you. It’s healthier, and cheaper, to buy fresh food yourself, and store them in the food containers of your choice at home.

Cut Back on Alcohol

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Day 11 of the 12 days of Health Cut Back On Alcohol I love a glass of wine as much as you do. But alcohol in excess is not good for you. If you drink too much or too often it will impact your ability to stick to an exercise routine. You wake up the morning after a few too many, and it's easy to justify skipping your workout, and we all know hangovers aren't exactly conducive to quality food choices. I used to drink more, more often, often too much. Cutting (WAY) back on alcohol has allowed me to have the energy and clarity needed to stay focused and determined on my health journey. If you choose to take your health seriously, while indulgence from time to time is imperative, going all in and giving your best every day, will lead to a lifestyle you can literally feel great about.

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If you start going out less, you will find that you spend less money, especially on drinks. Drinks can be expensive, and they add up, especially if you’re in party mode. And especially if you start feeling generous and like inviting everyone else for more drinks as the night goes on. To save money, have your adult beverages at home, or forgo them completely for a while. This will also cut back on empty calories, give your liver a rest, and are good for your overall health.

Check Out the Sale and Clearance Sections

Many stores have sale and/or clearance sections, and they’re worth checking out. You’ll find some great deals on items you wanted/needed anyway. A lot of retailers, like Target, place their clearance items at the end of certain aisles, as do supermarkets, so make sure to shop the perimeter first to see what’s discounted. Shopping the outside of the supermarket is also good for your health, as this is where the more natural, fresh food is.

Sell Items You Don’t Use or Need Anymore

Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark, eBay, and Etsy are just some of the places where you can sell items lying around your house that you don’t use anymore. You’d be surprised at the items sold on these sites, and how much they fetch. Take a weekend coming up to declutter your home, choose items to sell, take pics, and post! You can also go the old fashioned route and put together a yard/garage sale by yourself or with your neighbors!

Price Compare

Whether you do it through the Honey app, by comparing different Amazon sellers, with Google shopping, or in your own way, comparing prices will save you money. It’s often when we feel rushed, and or lazy, that we just pay the first price we see for an item, not realizing we could have gotten it for way less. Saving money helps you have leftover money for your savings!

Use LED Lightbulbs and Energy Efficient Appliances

We have touched on this a few times already, but saving energy is great for the environment, but it also saves you money. Win win! You don’t have to spend a ton of money either replacing all your appliances with energy efficient ones (if you do want to replace them at all, just start with one at a time and make sure you get the best deals, i.e. during holiday sales!). You can start small by replacing the bulbs in your house with energy efficient ones.

Patronize Your Local Library

Whether you want to spend the weekend reading a stack of magazines, need the perfect book for your vacation, want to rent some great movies, or unwind with some cool music, you don’t have to spend a dime to do any of these things. All of these things, and more, are available at your local library.

Shop the Dollar Store for the Right Things

While we don’t recommend buying certain things at the dollar store, like food, beauty products, batteries, chargers, and more (check out our article on the topic here), there are a lot of cool things you should definitely get there! This includes super cheap yet adorable decor items, greeting cards, wrapping paper, and notebooks.

DIY

 

Not only is DIY fun, but it can save you a ton of money. You can learn inexpensive ways to rework things you already own, and how to make new things, by looking at the dizzying number of how-to videos on YouTube, pins on Pinterest, and articles on blogs everywhere. Have fun with it, and have a crafting day or weekend with the girls!

Stop Buying Premium Gas

We want to have the best, and take care of the things we have. It’s just human nature; however, businesses play into this, creating fancier options for purchases that we can’t help but say yes to. Take gasoline, for instance. Why wouldn’t you want to put premium gas in your car? I mean, it’s premium! But AAA recently found that premium gas might just be a waste of your money. Unless your car (examples were Ford F150, Audi A3, Jeep Renegade, Ford Mustang, etc.) recommends it, it might not make any difference in your vehicle’s performance and fuel economy. Even those that do recommend it only saw a “modest improvement” in both.

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