7 Easy Ways to Save Money that Wont Drive You Stir Crazy
7 Easy Ways to Save Hundreds
Saving hundreds of dollars is easier than you think. I want to control my spending habits and grow my savings, without making too much of a drastic change in my lifestyle. I believe that I could potentially save money every month by making a few minor lifestyle modifications.
7 Easy Ways to Save Money is an article intended to share my ideas to help myself save money this year. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to add them in the comment box below.
1. Do You Have a Financial Budget?
I strongly believe that the very first step in saving money is to know where your money goes. A budget is one of the most important parts of saving money, yet until recently I've never had one. I have no idea where my money goes. I am determined to overcome this. I have bought the latest edition of Quicken personal and I now have an overview of my financial position. Rather than being a scary process, I found compiling a budget to be highly liberating as I can now account for (and take responsibility) every dollar spent.
2. Are you Paying Too Much For Your Service Providers?
The start of a new year is the perfect time to find out if you are paying too much for your service providers. This includes your phone, electricity, water, internet and subscription TV provider. This one thing alone can save you hundreds, if not more, each year.
For example, I am finding that when it comes to broadband providers I am finding that every year new broadband plans that offer better value are being released. Make it a rule of thumb to evaluate your broadband plan as soon as it expires. If you not currently under contract, research into all the broadband plans out there. I did the exact thing last week, and my broadband plan has gone from 12 gb a month to 120 gb a month and $30 less! If you are on contract, it still may be cheaper to pay the cancellation fee and go on another plan.
3. Buy in Bulk to Save Money
Buying in bulk is a great way to cut your household bills significantly. At the start of every year I try to buy a whole bunch of items in bulk such as laundry detergent and staples. Approximately every 3 months I check to see if I need to replenish anything. Not only does this bring the unit cost per serving down (or per washing load) it also cuts down the time spent grocery shopping. If the upfront cost is a bit to much for you, consider going halves with a neighbour
4. Get Rid of Unwanted Goods and Earn Extra Money
A quick way of getting extra money is by holding a garage sale and selling goods that you have around the home that you no longer require. If a garage sale is not an ideal option for you, you could try using eBay or selling through your local classified. Many local papers have set days that they might offer free classified ads for goods sold under a specific selling price.
5. How Much Money is That Costing Me Each Year?
It's amazing how many things that we can cut out our your budget and the savings that this can bring. Asking yourself how much something is costing you yearly can be a real eye opener. For example, I stopped buying the TV guide last year. From memory it cost around $4 each week (in Australia). I now use an online TV guide for free and quite easily save $208 a year. That's money that can be put towards extra mortgage or loan repayments or towards an annual vacation.
Another example is the buying lunch at work example. Yes it is a cliche, but it is a good one. I was spending at the minimum $5 a day at work on lunch. Taking into account 2 week of vacation from work and leaving me with 50 working weeks (5 days a week) that amounted to a staggering $1000 spent on lunches. Even bringing your lunch from home on alternate days can save you $500.
The trick is to put the money saved aside. Using my TV Guide example, each week you could put $4 in a jar and at the end of the year put that into the bank.
6. Being Organized Can Save Your Hundreds Each Year
Being organized can very well save you hundreds each year. For example, if you pay your bills on time, you can avoid hefty overdraft and late fees. My old credit card would charge me a $30 overdraft fee and a $30 late fee. That’s robbery!
Being organized in what you and your family are going to be having for dinner each night can also save you a fair deal as you will be avoiding the temptation of ‘fast food.’ It’s a good idea to plan the week’s meals a week in advance if possible. Try to combine dinner and school/work lunches by cooking a little extra dinner so that the leftovers can be used for the next day’s lunch. This not only saves you money but time.
Keep track of every dollar, no every cent, you spend. That could mean hanging on to all receipts when you are out shopping and doing your errands and transferring that information into a budgeting software when you get home. You should also keep a small notebook on you for those expenses that we run into when no receipts are available. The tech savvy may prefer to use on the many, many money tracking phone applications on the market.
7. Back to Basics and Saving Money
It's amazing how many different types of cleaning products there are in the local supermarket. I don't think it's necessary. Our grandparents used to keep a clean house using the very basic ingredients such as vinegar and bicarb soda. These ingredients are often the active ingredient in many commercial cleaning products anyway, we just pay an inflated price for them.
You can save hundreds each year by going to back to basics and as a bonus you know you won't be inhaling harsh chemicals.
More resources on saving money by getting back to basics:
The List Could Go On and On
That’s just some ideas to help you save money in 2012. The list could easily go on and on, from using kids wall decals to give a child’s bedroom an inexpensive room makeover,or starting your own veggie patch to avoid the increasing price of fresh produce at the supermarkets or even learning new skills online. I was intending to take piano lessons this year, however I have since started to teach myself online via instructional videos and I would estimate a saving of around $900 for the year.