Saving money is much simpler than some people think – or at least it is so when you really put your mind to it. In the end, it is all about willpower and about knowing how to do this.
Of course, some tips and tricks on how to save money more efficiently can definitely help you out – and this is precisely why we have put together this list focusing on the top 10 saving money tips and tricks you can easily apply into your life as well. Read on and find out more.
1. Be wise when you choose your mortgage
If you are like the vast majority of people out there, your house is probably the most expensive item you own (or plan to own, for that matter). And if you haven’t made this step just yet, you should definitely know that choosing your mortgage the right way can save you several hundreds of dollars (or more) every single year.
For instance, a standard variable rate may get much more expensive on the long term and it can lead you to paying hundreds of dollars more for every year you have to pay for your mortgage. If you can save even $300 every year, that will make for a whopping $9000 for a 30-year mortgage.
Furthermore, if you can do this, you should definitely try to make overpayments for your mortgage loan. Even a smaller sum of money (such as $100 every month) can help you pay your debt sooner AND save tons of money (and by “tons” you can understand as much as a couple of tens of thousands of dollars – and even more than that). $100 is not a huge deal if you have a steady income (and you can even save them with the help of other “tricks”) but it can go a very long way in terms of saving money.
2. Want to save money? Start by tracking your current savings!
The number 1 mistake most people make when it comes to their finances is not knowing exactly what their money goes into. It can be very easy to overspend if you don’t track your spending – so before you even start actually saving money, spend them as you usually do and jot everything down (or keep the receipts).
Start doing this at the beginning of the month and do the math once the month is over – you will see just how much of your money goes into things you could have easily lived without and you will also be able to determine where you can cut your spending without affecting your lifestyle too much.
3. Turn off the TV
If you are the type who gets home and turns on the TV almost instantaneously without actually watching anything in particular (as most of us do, for that matter), turning off the TV may have a lot of benefits for you. For starters, you will not waste as much electricity as you normally do and even if a TV uses a relatively small amount of it, the truth is that it can all add up by the end of the month. Even more than that, turning off the TV will help you get away from many of the ads that make us buy things we don’t actually need.
If you feel the need to relax after a long day at work (which is perfectly natural), listen to some music, play a game, spend some time with your family, read a book or watch your favorite shows using inexpensive online services (such as Netflix, for example). Although the Internet is fairly rich in ads as well, you get more control over what you want to see and what you don’t want to see – and thus you can limit your exposure to unnecessary advertising.
Seriously, if you want to make a fairly large purchase and if you are not sure if it’s actually worth it or not, wait. Generally speaking, specialists advise you to wait for 30 days before you make the actual purchase. This will give you plenty of time to do your research on that particular item and, eventually, to learn if you actually need/want it or not. Believe it or not, a lot of the major purchases we make are very much influenced by the “heat of the moment” – and waiting for one month before spending the money can really help you put things in perspective.
4. Do your homework
If you think your phone bill or fuel bill are too large, do your homework and start looking into other suppliers. One of the main advantages that come with capitalism is related precisely to the fact that, as a buyer, you have more options to choose from – which also means that there’s a high chance that another supplier will provide you with cheaper service than your current one.
Doing the switch doesn’t take a lot of time and, in most of the cases, you don’t even have to wait in line anywhere because you can simply request the new supplier to make the switch via an online form. You can save hundreds of dollars every year by simply knowing what is out there and what works best for you.
5. Plan your shopping
Again, if you are like a lot of the people out there, you don’t actually plan your grocery shopping. You may go out to shop for groceries once a week, but you may not have a very particular day set in mind for it. Even more than that, you probably simply jump in your car, take a cart and buy whatever looks good.
That’s a very good way to waste a lot of money, actually. If you want to save your dollars, make a shopping list and organize yourself in such a way as to go shopping on one particular day of the week.
Before leaving home, take a look at what you are missing and make a list. Also, if possible, create a list of the meals you plan on eating for the following week as well (this will also help you stay healthier too). Having a list with you will help you stick to what you had in mind and not jump to every special offer you see just because, well, a product is on sale. Saving $10-$20 every week this way means saving up to $1,000 a year – and that is a lot for such a small thing to do.
6. Have a glass of water
….or 8 every day, to be more precise. By now, you are probably very much aware of the fact that drinking water is the healthiest thing you can do in terms of hydration. It will make your body function better, it will cleanse your kidneys and it will also help you shed some unwanted extra-pounds (especially if you normally drink soda).
Even more than that though, replacing your soda or juice with water will save money as well. On top of everything, drinking one glass of water before a meal can help you eat less – by this helping you save money on food as well (not to mention helping you be healthier too).
7. Cook, don’t order or make prepackaged meals
Cooking is fun and it helps you keep yourself healthier (and thus, it also helps you save money on healthcare as well). Even more than that, it’s the cheapest alternative to good food.
If you know that you very frequently end up very busy at the end of the day and if you know the last thing you will want to do is cook a meal, avoid ordering in – it is expensive and unhealthy too. You can cook a lot of delicious meals in 20-30 minutes at most (which is about the amount of time ordering a pizza would take as well).
Even more, when you prepare casseroles, you can simply make more of them (4, for example) and refrigerate what you don’t eat. This way, the next time you need a quick meal, you can simply reheat what you have refrigerated (and this will also help you save money by buying in bulk).
8. Don’t take your credit cards with you
The main issue with credit cards is that they make people feel like they’ve got an almost unlimited supply of money on them – when, in fact, they can very easily get one in huge debt.
To avoid overspending by using the “plastics”, simply keep your credit cards at home (and well hidden). Keep a small sum of money on your wallet especially for emergencies and leave the cards at home because this will definitely help you save a lot of money.
Also, remind yourself to remove the credit card numbers from the online shops you frequently go to because this makes it way easier to overspend on things you do not necessarily need.
9. Create something to visually remind you of your debt
It takes quite some motivation to save up a certain amount of money but whatever your final goal may be (getting rid of debt or going on a nice holiday, for example), constantly reminding yourself of it will help you stick to your plan.
Thus, draw a giant bar and stick it somewhere you can see it every day. With every dollar saved (or with every payment made towards getting rid of debt, for example), fill in that bar a little. In time, you will get closer and closer to your goal – and this will help you motivate yourself even harder.