Money Saving Tips

Top Money Saving Tips for Your Financial Problems

Top Money Saving Tips for Your Financial Problems
Written by Irina Vasilescu

Whether you’re fresh out of college or if you are already starting a family, there would be times when you’d find yourself in a financial rut. It could be that you are neck-deep in credit card debt and you cannot seem to find a way out of it.

Those who are just starting out in their jobs might not have the means to survive while waiting for their first real paycheck, while also struggling to pay for their student loans.

Those who have kids may have real problems paying off the mortgage while sending the children to school.

No matter which stage in your life it is that you are in, you are bound to encounter such financial hardships at one point or another.

The good news is that there are ways for you to get out of the bind you’re in. With a lot of planning and self-discipline, you can implement money-saving ways so that you can iron out your finances and get out of whatever rut you find yourself in.

A Dozen Money Saving Tips That Will Improve Your Finances

Nobody wants to live like a pauper but not everyone has the opportunity to earn a huge paycheck every month.

So how can you make sure that you are living comfortably, without having to kill yourself or sacrificing your time for family by working two or three jobs? It’s all about learning how to live within or below your means.

Take a look at a dozen money hacks that we put together, on how you can improve your finances for the better:

1. Ditch the plastic

Ditch the plastic credit card, that is. This may not necessarily work for some people but it’s actually easier to control your spending when using cash. Instead of constantly swiping your plastic card for your everyday purchases, you would know when to stop or how to make adjustments with your purchases when you have cash on hand.

Let’s say that you are out for a snacks run in the grocery store. You can easily spend $50 on candy bars, chips and soda if you will use your credit card to pay. But if you only have $20 in cash, you can look for cheaper yet equally satisfying items that you can munch on while enjoying a DVD marathon of your favorite premium cable shows. The same thing holds true for eating out, stopping for gas or visiting the supermarket for your weekly household supplies shopping.

2. Pay off your debts first, then save

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when it comes to managing their finances is having a savings account while paying off credit card debts at the same time. Consider the interest that you’re paying on your credit card bills if you are unable to pay off the full amount by the due date.

According to IndexCreditCards.com, the average rate of interest on credit card debts is 17 to 20%. Even if you have a quite significant amount set aside on your savings account, if you keep on paying this amount as interest, the savings that you have will all be for naught.

As such, a good rule to follow is to eliminate all your debts first so you won’t have to waste money on interest rates. Then, you can pump up your savings account and not counteract it with interest payments for the debts that you incurred.

3. Schedule cash transfers for your savings account

If you don’t have enough self-discipline to set aside enough funds for a decent savings account, schedule automatic cash transfers through your bank.

For example, you can automatically deduct $10 or $20 from your paycheck to your savings account. This will not really make a huge dent out of your monthly expenses so you won’t feel like you are depriving yourself of life’s little luxuries. But at the same time, the little savings do add up so you can have something to spend for future emergency expenses.

4. Know how to cut back on your entertainment expenses

When going out, you’d have to eat at restaurants, get what you need from the mall or a convenience store, and spend for almost everything – including bottled water and transportation or gas.

The same thing holds true when planning trips to the movie theatre. Instead of always going out, cut back on your entertainment expenses by opting to stay at home. Make your own pizza or popcorn at home and invite friends over for movie night.

There’s nothing wrong in trying out a new restaurant once in a while, but the expenses of eating out do add up so it does pay to only allot a certain amount of your budget for this.

5. Unsubscribe to catalogs, subscriptions, store mailing lists, etc.

When a company selling products or services asks for your e-mail or mailing address, simply say no. Opt out of those e-mail alerts because the more that you are aware of what they are selling, the more likely you’ll buy. Even if the item is something that you do not need, anyway, the fact that you are aware that there is a price slash-off or similar offers will tempt you to buy – so just say no.

6. Exercise at home

When the New Year arrives, a lot of people find themselves saying yes to pricey gym membership agreements. The weight that they gained from overindulgence during the holiday season will be quite obvious, so they are willing to spend money to get back in shape. But if you don’t have the self-discipline to go through a rigorous exercise program, you will simply be wasting your money on such memberships.

What you can do is exercise at home, or use the great outdoors. Walk, run, hike, bike or use the gym mat or the dusty exercise equipment that you probably have at home. When you combine regular exercise with eating healthy, there is absolutely no need for you to spend a single cent on gym membership fees.

7. Cook at home

Whether you have a family or are living alone, cooking at home will save you a lot of money on restaurant bills and grocery bills.

  • Plan a weekly menu so that you can eat healthy dishes without spending a lot.
  • Scope out the farmer’s markets where you can get fresh produce at very low prices.
  • Buy a slow cooker so that you can buy cheaper cuts of meat but still taste that awesome flavor on your dishes.
  • Stir-fry frozen veggies, cook tofu in soy sauce or bake your own pizza using a ready-made crust from the store.

There are plenty of mouth-watering items that you can whip up in your own kitchen which lets you eat healthy without having to spend too much.

8. Simplify your life

The more stuff you own, the more cluttered your home is. Why don’t you start saving money by making a major de-cluttering of your stuff? Doing so would allow you to simplify your life as well.

Once you clean out your closet, for example, you can get rid of the items which you haven’t worn in ages to make room for new clothes.

Or, you can simply cut back on your possessions and once you experience how it is to live a clutter-free life, you will definitely think twice about buying those souvenir items which will simply gather dust or bring about mess inside your house.

9. Barter services

You’ll be surprised at how many people are still willing to barter services these days. Instead of paying cash for babysitting services, why not swap time with your sister-in-law or a neighbor who also has a baby?

If you have a mechanic friend and you’re an accountant, you can offer your service of looking at his books while he tunes up your car.

Whether in the workplace or at home in a typical neighborhood, the bartering system still works, especially if you’re friendly enough.

10. Teach your kids how to save money, electricity, water and food supplies

Those with big families will definitely be spending more on utilities as compared to families with a smaller number of kids, or those who live alone.

To minimize your utility bills, teach your kids the ways for everyone to save on electricity and water. Impress in them the value of saving money and not wasting food.

If each family member does his or her share in saving money, electricity, water and food supplies, that will add up to a lot in the end.

You may also like: Super Fun Games That Teach Kids About Money

11. Get rid of pricey subscriptions

Aside from gym memberships, you can also consider ditching land line services, magazine subscriptions, etc.

If you already have Internet connection, you can simply use that for communication and to consume your premium cable TV content at a lower price through streaming services.

12. Use a spreadsheet to keep track of your finances

Finally, use a spreadsheet to monitor the ins and outs of your finances. One of the most challenging aspects of ironing out your finances is knowing exactly where the money is going.

If you have a spreadsheet – be it electronic or old-fashioned pen-and-paper – you would know how much you are spending on which aspects of your everyday living. If there’s a need for you to make certain adjustments in some areas, you can easily do that as well.

By following these top twelve money hack tips and tricks, you can improve your finances in no time at all.

About the author

Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our crafty designer. She joined the team three years ago and is also involved in the writing process.

11 Comments

  • In my opinion, having an entertainment budget is not necessary at all. You can find so many good things at your local library and there are so many free things you can do as a family or with your friends. I grew up having only the public library as a source for movies and books, so I know you can do it. Especially now that many libraries have digital borrowing for new ebooks. The selection is even better than it was back then.

    • It’s impractical for most people to not have any entertainment budget whatsoever. If a person absolutely needs to cut back on their expenses, then, sure, they can cut out the entertainment. Still, not everyone wants to go to the library and deal with the poor selection of movies available there. Not all areas have great library systems, such as those found in larger cities. Some form of entertainment budget is absolutely a necessity except in the most dire cases.

  • The best thing I did to turn my finances around was following steps 1 and 7. I used to pay for everything with my debit card and you really don’t think about how much money you’re spending when you do. I would think nothing of just tossing in a couple extra items at check out and then I’d get the total and slide the card and voila! Then halfway through every month, I’d check out my bank account and try and wonder where all my money went. Once I started paying cash for everything, I can see my money every day and see it leaving. This spurred me on to cook at home as well as suddenly dropping 40 dollars on a meal didn’t see as fun.

  • I was in a financially awful state a few years ago due to some poor financial decisions that i use to make. I was always buying things in the spur of the moment, i am on my way to work and a co worker comes by selling lovely shoes and i just take one or two. This is a practice which i know is wrong but sometimes the product is so tempting i find it so hard to resist. I start picturing myself in it and matching it out with clothing that i have. The end of the month i would realize that my finances are off and it was as a result of these things.
    Presently i walk with only the funds that i need on a daily basis, i hardly ever keep excess cash around the house. I also leave my cards at home to avoid the temptation of swiping away when run into the fashion drug.

  • Simplifying your life is some incredible advice, despite being so simple. Most people don’t know how to simplify their lives, but it’s quite easy and comes with incredible results. Slowing things down and getting rid of clutter in one’s life can lead to tremendous and positive changes.

  • I definitely agree that living a more simplistic lifestyle is definitely the way to go if you are looking to put your family in a more financially stable situation. I wholeheartedly agree with the fact that you should always pay cash if you can – using a debit card is convenient – but you very rarely take account of how much you are actually spending on a daily basis and how it adds up. Carrying around cash forces you to be accountable and forces you to see how much you have left while you make every single purchase.

    • I disagree to some extent. Cash might keep you accountable, but most people are more than capable at balancing their check book when they do so on paper. Cash can be dangerous to just walk around with, and you have less protections if you happen to lose your money somewhere by sheer bad luck or accident. Debit does have its distinct advantages in some cases.

  • I love these ideas. I don’t know if I’m the type to keep a spreadsheet though. I feel like I can’t really commit to doing something like that. However, I’m totally up for exercising and cooking at home, as I am one lazy person, and I hate leaving the house.

  • One thing to be wary about ditching plastic is that it makes it much more difficult to track your finances. Many banks include budgeting features on their online banking that can closely track spending from your credit/debit cards. They also have trending and other stat tracking to help you analyze where your money is ending up.

    The problem with cash is that it’s really easy to have it disappear a bit at a time while never knowing where you spent it unless you hoard your receipts.

  • I find using cash helps me to save money. The act of handing the cash over makes the spend seem more real – you can actually see the money leaving your wallet. I find it far too easy to overspend when I use plastic. I keep a small notebook where I write down everything I spend. This makes it easier for me to identify where I can cut back too.

  • I think that getting rid of your credit cards, if you’re the type of person who struggles to control their spending, is something that is very important to think about. Because of the fact that it doesn’t feel like “real money” as such, a lot of people find that they spend a lot more than they have, which leaves them unable to pay it back when the time comes. So you should try to avoid spending money other than what you actually have, as this can make it much easier to stay out of debt.

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