Why do you think the most basic method of saving money is putting coins in a piggy bank? Because it’s simple, easy and even the smallest amount adds up to something big over time.
Using the same principle, there is absolutely no reason why you should say no to implementing ways to save a small amount of money. Over time, these small savings will add up – and the funds that you will come up with can go towards achieving your short-term and long-term financial goals.
So the next time that you find some loose change somewhere, go ahead and put the coins in your piggy bank. If you stumble upon a page in a magazine with a coupon for a product that you usually buy, clip it out and use it.
Even the smallest savings will amount to a lot over time, especially when you pool all your savings efforts together. In the next section, we will be dishing out the top ways that you can save a small amount of money so that you can reach your most immediate financial goals.
20 Small Ways to Save Money
What is your goal for saving money in the first place? You may want to buy a gadget that you can’t afford just yet, so you need to save up for it. You might simply want to add funds to your nest egg so you are pooling your sources together to bulk up the funds. You might also want to save money so that you can have funds to use in case of emergencies.
No matter what the reason is behind your wanting to save money, the good news is that even the littlest effort can add up to a lot over time. To give you an idea about the variety of ways that you can boost your savings account by starting small, take a look at the following list:
1. Ask for a rate reduction from your credit card company
If you’ve been with the same credit card company for a good number of years and you’re consistently paying the minimum amount every month, you can ask for a rate reduction. If your request will not be granted, the competition in the industry is tough enough – so much so that you can look for another company where you can do a balance transfer at 0% interest rate.
2. Create a budget and stick to it
How much are you earning and what’s the total amount of your monthly expenses? In order to save money, you need to live within or below your means. This equates to creating a budget and sticking to it, and making adjustments along the way.
3. If you’re an impulsive buyer, follow the 30-day rule
There’s this really cool gadget or a very nice dress that you are itching to buy – but you don’t have the budget for it. Whenever such an impulse to buy something appears out of the blue, you can follow the 30-day rule.
Hold off on the purchase, then look at the item again after 30 days. By then, you will usually realize that you do not need it, anyway, so you can simply leave your money right where it is instead of spending it on an impulse buy.
4. Look for cheap or free forms of entertainment
If you must watch movies, catching the matinee instead of the night shows will give you great discounts. You can also look for coupons for movie theatre tickets online. If you love catching up with friends during the weekend, look for establishments which have happy hours so that you can save money on drinks.
Better yet, invite them over to your house and encourage them to potluck for dinner instead of spending to go out. When visiting museums, check out the official websites of the establishments so that you would know which times or dates you can come in for free, or for discounted rates on the entrance tickets.
5. Have an inventory of your closet
Even if it’s not time for spring cleaning yet, you can find a treasure trove of items in your closet. There are probably clothes there with the tags still on, which you can sell online or at a garage sale. If you haven’t worn something for the past year, it is time to get rid of it. Clearing your closet will get rid of the clutter in your life, and the items that you can pool together can be sold at a garage sale.
6. Stop eating out
Whether you’re living solo, with friends or family, those takeout bills will eventually add up. Stop eating takeout regularly and start cooking real food at home. Not only will you become healthier, but your budget will also thank you for it.
7. Brew your own coffee
Even the cheapest drink at Starbucks or any other coffee chain will cost you less than $5. Compare this with the cost of coffee beans which you can brew at home, and a cup will set you back at less than $1.
If you like those fancy coffee mixes, simply purchase a really good frother and the savings will pay off for the cost of the coffee machine and accessories in the end.
8. Get rid of phantom electricity
If you put your gadgets and other electrical appliances on standby mode, they are consuming 10% to 15% more electricity than they have to. By simply turning them all off when you go out or sleep at night; or by using a power strip, you can get rid of phantom electricity and cut back on your utility bills.
9. Make sure that your home’s cooling/heating system is efficient
Half of your electricity bills comes from the cooling and heating costs. By making sure that all gaps are sealed so that no cool or warm air escapes, you can significantly save money on your electricity bill.
10. Install a programmable thermostat
During winter, your goal is to make the temperature inside your home more comfortable. But it does not have to be at the expense of a huge electrical bill. By installing a programmable thermostat which you can turn down a notch or two, you can easily cut back on your home’s heating bills.
11. Replace your air conditioner’s filter
When you’d rather stay indoors during summer, the air conditioning unit will work doubly hard. To make sure that the motor is not working harder than it has to, replace the filter regularly.
12. Ditch any unused memberships
When you have any unused memberships, you are simply pouring your money down the drain. Eliminate this wastage by cancelling all unused memberships – online or physical magazines, gym memberships, club memberships, etc.
13. Do use coupons – but only for the items that you regularly buy in the first place
Even if a coupon says that you will save $10 by using it, if it is for an item that you are not buying in the first place, the savings is practically useless. In fact, you will be simply spending more and might even end up wasting the product if you really will not find any use for it. The moral of the story is to use coupons, but only for the items that you regularly buy in the first place.
14. Buy kitchen staples in bulk
If you have a big family, buying kitchen staples in bulk will save you a lot of money in the long run. You might also want to grow your own food, or check out the cheaper local produce at the farmer’s market in your area.
15. Buy generic and store brand
From cosmetics to toiletries and food products, you will save more by buying generic and store brand. A facial cleanser from branded cosmetics company, for example, will be way more expensive than the generic brand. But once you see the list of ingredients, it’s practically the same so it will work exactly the same way.
16. Make your own gifts
For special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries, making your own gifts will save you money than buying something generic from the store. Not only that, but that personal touch will make the present more appreciated by the recipient of your gift.
17. Ride a bike
When riding a bike, you can get many minutes’ worth of your workout. Riding a bike to get from point A to point B will also help you save money on gas and other car-related expenses.
18. Get rid of your vices
When you realize how much money you are paying for a pack of smokes, you just might be encouraged to get rid of your vice. The same thing holds true for drinks and gambling.
19. Re-evaluate your wireless subscription
With plenty of wireless carriers operating in the market today, you can take your pick from dozens of plans which include data, calling minutes, text messages, etc. Even if an unlimited data offer sounds too good to be true, there is absolutely no reason for you to pay for it if you will not be using the minutes, anyway.
Evaluate your mobile phone usage before subscribing to any plan so that you won’t have to pay any more than you have to.
20. Conduct an annual review of your insurance policies
Just like credit card companies and wireless service providers, there is also plenty of competition in the insurance industry. You do need these plans to provide you with the financial coverage you need in case of emergencies, but there are plenty of cheap plans available out there.
On a yearly basis, make sure to conduct an annual review of your policies. If there’s a better offer from a competing provider which has the same coverage but involves lesser premiums, you can just as easily switch.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways that you can save a small amount of money. Doing these on a regular basis will make the savings add up eventually, thus giving your emergency funds a boost.