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The Easiest Ways to Save Money

Updated on January 10, 2016
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Dr. Penny Pincher founded the popular personal finance blog Penny Pincher Journal in 2013 and has published two books about saving money.

Stop Wasting Money!

There is an old saying: "The easiest way to make money is not to spend it". This makes a lot of sense. It takes time and effort to make money. If you want to make more money, you'll need to spend more time and effort on earning money. Instead of finding ways to make more money, in many cases it is easier to simply spend less money.

Like most good advice, spending less money is easier said than done. This article will highlight some of the easiest ways to spend less money by focusing on waste. A lot of the money we spend is wasted. It is so easy to buy things that almost everyone spends money on things that are not needed or would not really be missed if they were gone.

Why Waste Money on Things You Don't Need?
Why Waste Money on Things You Don't Need? | Source

Replace Cable TV or Satellite TV with a $50 antenna!

Stop Wasting Money on Cable TV/Satellite TV!

Most people have a big opportunity to save money by cutting cable TV or satellite TV. I recently disconnected my Dish Network satellite TV at my house. It was costing me about $110 per month- which adds up to over $1200 per year. I decided to save lots of money by cutting satellite TV and using cheaper alternatives.

I was worried that my family would regret the decision to cut satellite TV. We had had satellite TV for 10 years and had cable before that. However, we spent more time watching Netflix- which costs $8 per month. I still wanted to be able to watch live local news, so I bought an indoor HD TV antenna to receive free HD TV over the air. The antenna cost $50, and there are no monthly bills.

I am very happy saving $1200 per year by cutting satellite TV. This truly was a waste of money since we were not getting $1200 of value by having satellite TV. We don't even miss it!

Stop Wasting Money on Food!

Did you know the average American is now 23 pounds overweight! This fact implies that most people are wasting money buying food that they do not really need. If you are overweight and eating more food than you require, this is just as wasteful as throwing food away! If fact, overeating is worse than buying food and throwing it away since being overweight is bad for your health. It costs over $700 for extra food to gain 23 pounds of fat.

You can save money if you stop wasting money buying extra food. The fastest way to save money is to reduce fast food and restaurant food since this is much more expensive than buying groceries and making your own food. Here are tips on how to spend less money eating out.

Another great way to waste less money on food is to pack a lunch instead of buying lunch. You can pack a much healthier lunch than you can get at a fast food restaurant, and it will likely cost less as well. I save about $165 per month by packing my lunch instead of eating out.

Stop Wasting Money on Beverages!

A lot of people drink soda or bottled water out of habit. This is an expensive habit. Soda or bottled water costs about $1.50 per bottle. Soda is not healthy- regular soda is loaded with corn syrup and has lots of calories. Diet soda has lots of chemicals. All soda has carbonation which exposes your teeth to carbonic acid.

If you drink one or two bottles of bottled water or soda a day, you can save about $100 per month by tap water drinking water instead. Several brands of bottled water that sell for over $1 per bottle are actually bottled tap water! You can get a refillable container and take your own water for almost free. If you want, you can buy a pitcher with a carbon filter or even a water bottle with built-in filter to improve the taste of your tap water.

Refillable Water Bottle with Built-in Filtration

If you are really attached to drinking soda, you can save money by making your own soda at home with a Sodastream. This is not only less expensive than buying soda at the store, but cuts the use of plastic bottles as well. The Sodastream system comes with reusable 1L bottles, a CO2 canister, and a variety of soda flavors to try.

Bringing your own water or other beverage from home is not as convenient as buying a cold beverage on the spot, but I think most people can break this habit quickly and will not miss it much.

Coffee is another beverage that people waste money buying. I drink coffee every day- I make great coffee at home for 60 cents for a 16 oz cup. If you buy a coffee at a coffee shop, you'll spend about $2 for the same cup of coffee.

I used to buy coffee at a coffee shop every day, sometimes more than once per day. This was adding up to a lot of money. Now I make my coffee at home every morning and take it with me. If you get a set-up to make great coffee at home, you won't need to waste money buying expensive coffee at a coffee shop.

If you buy coffee at a coffee shop every day, you can save over $50 to $100 per month by making your own coffee at home.

Credit Card Consolidation Calculator- How Much Can You Save?
Credit Card Consolidation Calculator- How Much Can You Save? | Source

Stop Wasting Money on Interest!

There is a reason that bankers usually live in big houses and drive nice cars- we give them money every month in interest payments! If you have credit card balances, you are probably paying somewhere between 12.9% to 29.9% interest every month. If you are only making the minimum payments, you may be making payments for 20 years or more before your credit cards are paid off!

The best way to avoid paying interest on credit cards is to avoid carrying a balance on credit cards. Buy if you already have a credit card balance, is there anything you can do to stop wasting money on interest? Yes- you can get a credit card consolidation loan. If you have a good credit rating and high enough income, you can get a low interest loan from a bank to pay off your credit cards. Most people with a credit card balance can save thousands of dollars with credit consolidation and can pay off their credit card debt years early. My free credit card consolidation loan calculator will let you figure out how much you can save on interest payments.

If you have a home mortgage loan, you may be able to save money on interest through a mortgage refinance, also known as a re-fi. A mortgage refinance loan may allow you to get a home loan with a lower interest rate than your current loan. Mortgage re-fi loans have origination fees and other costs, so you will need to stay at your current house for a few years for a re-fi to save you money.

Stop Wasting Money- Save it Instead and Watch it Grow!
Stop Wasting Money- Save it Instead and Watch it Grow! | Source

What Do You Waste the Most Money On?

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What To Do With All the Money You Stop Wasting?

What can you do with the money you save? If you have high interest loans, applying the money to pay down these debts is a top priority. If you pay down a debt at 29% interest, it is like getting a 29% return on your money.

If you don't have high interest debt, you can put your new found money into a savings account, but the interest rate is currently under 1% per year. If you invest in the stock market, the long-term historical returns are about 8%, including the Great Depression and other downturns.

Check out this investment calculator to see how long it will take your savings to add up to reach your goal. You can enter a rate of return to compare saving your money in a bank vs. investment in the stock market. You can also calculate the effect of capital gains taxes and inflation on your investment.

Seeing how much the money you are wasting now can help you if you save it is a great motivator. Stop wasting money!

Waste Not, Want Not

The old saying "waste not, want not" means that if you don't waste anything, you won't want anything because you'll have enough.

Most people can find ways to stop wasting money. If you examine where your money goes and how much value you are getting, you can find ways to cut spending that you won't notice very much. Following the tips in this article can save you hundreds of dollars each month with minimal effort. Use the money you don't spend to pay down debts and then invest the money and watch it grow!

© 2014 Dr Penny Pincher


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    • drpennypincher profile image

      Dr Penny Pincher 4 years ago from Iowa, USA

      Bishop55, I agree that memories are valuable and I also enjoy a fancy meal out on the town with my family once in a while. I think cutting cable or satellite TV is probably the easiest way for most people to save money. What else can you do that only takes one phone call to save $1200 per year!

    • drpennypincher profile image

      Dr Penny Pincher 4 years ago from Iowa, USA

      Kidscrafts, Thanks for visiting. Any monthly bills that you can cut, such as cable or phone, keep saving you money every month. It's great to hear you found some ways to save some real money.

    • Bishop55 profile image

      Rebecca 4 years ago from USA

      This is a good hub. I'm doing almost all of your suggestions for the exception of dining out. I've noticed in the last 6+ months or so, that I'd rather spend money on memories rather than stuff, eating out to me is more like making a memory. As for the mention on stopping cable, it reminded me of a hub I wrote, maybe you will enjoy it? cable is such a sick waste of money!!

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Great points! You are right that people can save money on a lot of things. We stop having the cable about 4 or 5 years ago. We don't watch a lot of TV to start with. The cable is even more expensive in Canada than the US. There are a lot of place where it's possible to save money. We just switch phone company and we will save about half the amount that we used to pay. So on the long run we can save a lot!

      Thanks for sharing!