20 simple ways to save money
Saving money is a mission that many people want to do (maybe to pay off their debt or just to buy something special for someone else), but sometimes don’t know where to start.
Let’s face it – saving money in a world that almost forces us to spend is not a very easy task. It requires a change of habits, discipline and self-awareness.
Below are 20 tips that can help you reduce your expenses and hopefully make you save some bucks in the end of the month. Some of them may not apply to you, because you might already be a saver, but I hope you can find some new tips here.
1 • Keep a record of your expenses
For a couple of weeks or even a full month, learn how much you spend: write down everything you spend your money on and take a critical look at your expenses. Don’t leave anything behind (rent, insurance, phone and cable bills, fuel, food, the coffees you have, entertainment, etc…).
This will help you check where your money is going and where you can start saving.
2 • Write down a shopping list and stick to it
When shopping, write down a list of the items you need and avoid buying anything that is not on the list. This will require some discipline but it can help you not wasting money.
3 • Buy cheaper products
When shopping, try buying cheaper brand products. If you like them, go for it. You can save a lot over time.
4 • Use grocery bags for trash
If you use small trash cans in your house, your plastic grocery bags can be used in them. Instead of buying your trash bags, use the ones you get from the grocery.
5 • Go shopping after work
Instead of shopping in the weekend with lots of time to buy unnecessary things, shop after you get out of work. Not only can you save a car trip, but it can also make you shop quicker to rush home and avoid buying stuff you don’t really need.
6 • Give your car a rest
Let’s say you need to go to the groceries and it’s only a 10 or 15 minute walk from home. Give your car some rest and your legs some exercise, maybe you can find someone to go along with you.
7 • Turn off your electronics
Any device you leave on standby still uses electricity that has to be paid. Turn them off when you go to sleep or when you go to work. The usage of standby power has grown very much in recent years. I’m talking about your TV, DVD player, computer monitor, router, wireless phone, microwave oven, sound systems (PC speakers), video game console, etc.. They are all restless energy suckers. Use a switchblade power strip for those which don’t have an OFF button.
Also, unplug your chargers when not using them (cellphone, digital camera battery, etc.).
8 • Use CFL lamps
They are expensive, I know. But compact fluorescent lamps last much longer than regular ones. They are more resistant, much more efficient and produce less heat. These kinds of lamps are, in my opinion, one of the best home investments.
9 • Avoid charging stuff at night
We all love charging our cellphones while we sleep, but the fact is that after they are charged they will still continue to consume energy.
10 • DIY (Do It Yourself)
Do your own stuff. Learn basic home repairs and maintenance. Need to change a light bulb of your car? It’s actually very easy and you can save a lot in these small things.
11 • Give up expensive habits (cigarettes, alcohol, gambling)
I know it’s a hard one, but at least try reducing your expenses in this one.
Winning the lottery creates millionaires every week or month, but that money comes from people who don’t win and just spend. You can save a lot by not playing. By quitting unhealthy habits, not only you save money but you can also save a trip to the doctor.
12 • Take a look at your magazine subscriptions
How many magazines do you get by mail? Do you read them all? Can’t you find the same information online?
I’ve never been a big magazines fan. I had two subscriptions, but their content would repeat over and over just with new products. I mean, do I really need to know about all the graphics boards that come out every month, or every new digital camera?
Check if you really need those magazines you pay for. You can save a good amount of money by canceling your subscription. They will insist and offer you new products, but don’t let them convince you to change your mind.
13 • Cancel some of your TV channels
You don’t really need all those channels. If you are paying for one that you don’t really watch, try canceling it. TV is a very expensive entertainment, because we pay just to watch it for a short time.
14 • Love your leftovers
You can use your leftovers to make great snacks or even a second meal. Use chicken leftovers and make a pie. If you have some meat you saved on the fridge, cut it in small bits, mix with pasta and a tomato sauce and you have a quick dinner.
Just don’t save your leftovers for too much.
15 • Grow your own garden
You don’t need a large space to make a garden. You can even have one inside your own house. Grow cooking herbs and give your meals some fresh flavor.
16 • Go to bed earlier
Every time you stay up late doing stuff you can do in the morning you are wasting energy. Go to bed. Work during the day with natural light.
17 • Don’t go out for dinner
It’s your birthday? Instead of preparing a night out, invite your friends and family for a Sunday barbecue. Play some games in family. Everyone will have fun. Next time, you’ll get invited.
Going out for a dinner party always leads to spending money on nightclubs.
18 • Buy used stuff
Don’t be afraid to buy used stuff. If some of your neighbors are having a garage sell, go check it out. Be careful though, don’t buy junk and don’t spend too much. But if you like reading, for example, you can find used books in great conditions. Books age very well and they don’t break like electronic stuff.
When you want to buy something, check first if you can find a used one in good conditions.
19 • Make money from junk
Do you have stuff you don’t need? Organize a garage or yard sale. Sell your stuff online. Even if you just earn a little bit, it’s still money from things you don’t really use.
20 • Don’t buy bottled water
If you have the habit of drinking water during the day, buy a stainless steel bottle and boil your own tap water. Bottled water is a very expensive product, especially if you’re buying a bottle every day or two.
That's it. I hope I can help you save some money in these tough times. Small saving might not be noticed in a short time, but in long term they will help you a lot.