Whenever the New Year arrives, don’t you usually make it a resolution to save more money? How many times have you successfully done it? If the answer is never, you are not alone. Millions of people from the US and all parts of the globe find saving money to be a huge challenge. This is especially true for those who do not make it a habit to create a monthly budget, or set aside a savings or emergency fund.
The good news is that you do not necessarily need a major lifestyle change in order to save money. There are little things that you can do on a daily basis which, when all put together, will give you great savings in the long run.
Before dishing out which everyday changes you can make in order to save money, let us first have a quick look about why this is important in the first place. Even if your salary is above average, you might find yourself deep in debt if you are spending more than what you’re actually earning. A lot of people fall into this trap of spending more than their keep.
So the next time that they receive a paycheck, they use the money to pay for their debts instead of allotting the funds for expenses and savings. Once you fall into the habit of borrowing money, it is not something that’s so easy to get out of – thus the vicious debt trap.
This is where budgeting proves to be useful. When you take steps to create a monthly budget, you can set aside funds for all your necessary expenses, put money towards your savings account and even be fully prepared for the future as well as emergency expenses.
Top Tips on How to Save Money in Your Daily Life
What are the specific ways for you to save money in your daily life? Some of these are suggestions from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. They published a list of ways to cut down on family expenses. The individual savings may not sound like it’s a lot but when you put together all your efforts, you are bound to realize huge savings later on. Take a look at the following list:
1. Know where your money is going
How much income is entering the household? If you’re living alone or earning with a spouse, determine your total monthly salary and deduct from it your overall expenses. Make sure that your expenses are all necessary and do not include the wants, or the little luxuries that you indulge in every now and then.
When you’re monitoring the ins and outs of your finances, you will know exactly where the money is going and make adjustments as necessary.
2. Brew your own coffee
If a branch of a popular coffee chain is right next to your office, you might be tempted to drop by every morning to get your caffeine fix. But if you’re always ordering the tallest cup of fancy latte, your coffee-related expenses will soon add up. By buying a decent coffee machine, you can brew your own coffee at home at a fraction of the price.
3. Use a water filter at home instead of always buying bottled water
There are many good quality water filters that you can install at home for drinking water. Instead of always buying bottled water, having a reliable water filter will save you lots of money. Even if you’re going out for a run, you can still use the same water by bringing a refillable container. You can even do your share in helping save the environment by minimizing the number of plastic bottles that your household is using every year.
4. Eat out less
There’s absolutely nothing wrong in trying out a newly-opened restaurant in your area but always eating out will take its toll on your budget. Schedule those visits to fancy restaurants on a twice or once-a-month basis. For the rest of the weeks, you can prepare simple, healthy meals at home without having to spend too much.
5. Save money on entertainment
If you must go out with friends, do it during happy hour to save on bar tab. You can also limit the number of times that you’re buying those quite pricey movie theatre tickets. Plan DVD marathons at home and enjoy the company of friends or family – and save money in the process.
6. Make your own baked goodies
For this, you can determine if baking bread or pizza dough from scratch will cost you less. If it does, go ahead and fill your kitchen with the smell of freshly baked goodies. Otherwise, buy the bread that you need from a neighborhood bakeshop.
7. Make your own gifts
During the holiday season or if someone is celebrating a birthday, it’s a good idea to make your own gifts. Consider the personality of the person who you are giving the present to and think of affordable yet thoughtful presents that you can make right at home. For instance, a niece who is a movie buff should enjoy a gift basket with microwavable popcorn, DVDs and packs of candies.
8. Save money on meat
Eating less meat will actually make your family healthier but if you can’t help it, buy a slow cooker which you can use to slow-cook cheaper cuts of meat. The taste will be divine but the expense will be lighter on your pocket.
9. Save money on groceries
When going grocery shopping, always make a list. Plan a menu for the week and make an inventory of what you still have in the pantry so you don’t overbuy.
10. Make sure that everyone in the family wants to save money
Your home’s heating and cooling system takes up 50% of your utility bills. Depending on the season, you can make sure that your home’s insulation is tight so that no cooled or heated air from the inside will escape. Also, you can make every family member do something to save on water and electricity consumption. This will allow you to save a lot of money paying off those monthly utility bills.
11. Buy clothes off-season
At the end of the summer season, you can buy swimsuits and summer clothes at a fraction of the price. Save these for the next summer season and do the same thing for your winter clothes. When buying garments off season, you can stumble upon great sales and discounts.
12. Go comparison shopping
Whether you are buying from online or physical stores, going comparison shopping will save you a lot of money. There are online tools and apps that you can use to compare the rates from different stores. You might also want to check out the online reviews so that you would know if buying a specific brand will give you the best value for your money.
13. Use coupons, online discount vouchers and similar deals
Another way to save money for everyday shopping is by cutting out coupons from magazines or using discount vouchers which are available online. Just make sure that the coupons are for items which you usually buy. If you will use a $5 coupon on an item which you would not usually add to your grocery cart in the first place, you might end up hating the product and waste your money instead of saving it.
14. Eliminate any unnecessary subscriptions
If you already have Internet connection, you might not necessarily need cable or satellite TV subscription. You can simply subscribe to streaming services online to get the premium content that you need. You can also eliminate magazine or landline subscriptions which are considered superfluous these days.
15. Use heat-generating appliances during the cooler hours of the day
When ironing clothes, do it during the cooler hours of the day so that you can use less electricity.
16. To save money on gas, check out sites like GasBuddy.com
If you’re using your car to get yourself to and from work, your car will be consuming a lot of gas. Use sites like GasBuddy.com to check on the rates of different gas stations – even a few cents in price difference will save you money if you are filling up the tank.
17. Take full advantage of the services from your public library
Instead of renting DVDs, simply borrow them from your public library. You can also gain Internet access there, borrow books, download or borrow e-books and use the references for free.
18. Stay healthy
With medical and hospitalization costs being always on the rise, the best way to prevent such expense is to stay healthy. Prevention is always better than cure so live a healthy lifestyle by eating right and exercising so you can stay away from the hospital.
19. Swap babysitting services instead of paying for a nanny
Working parents spend quite a lot on child care expenses. To cut back on this cost, swap babysitting services with neighbors or relatives. You can also pay your niece, sister or a female relative to watch the baby for you at a lower price than what you would pay professional babysitters.
20. It doesn’t hurt to ask for fees to be waived
Finally, it never hurts to ask for annual credit card fees or late fees to be waived. These expenses do add up in the long run and if you have a good paying record with the company, they will usually agree to requests to waive off any fees that you might have incurred.