- Personal Finance
19 Incredibly Easy Ways to Save Money
“A penny saved is a penny earned” , or so the saying goes. It’s true, because sometimes, try as hard as we might, it’s difficult to save money. Bills, taxes, groceries, unavoidable purchases – it can certainly drain one’s pocket!
Never fear - here are some easy ways to cut back on your purchases and expenses.
1. Do grocery shopping with a list
Aimlessly walking around in grocery stores can result in more impulse purchases. Instead, write out a list of items that you need, and only head to the aisles that have these groceries. This can definitely cut down on unnecessary, unplanned purchases.
2. Buy things in bulk
Items such as toilet paper, laundry detergent, paper products and light bulbs among others can be bought in bulk. This would save on multiple grocery shopping trips, and if bought wholesale, can be much cheaper in the long run. Be sure to look up wholesale sellers in your area, and see what else you can buy in bulk. Other items that wholesale businesses sell include baby diapers, canned foods, baking flours and goods, and cleaning products.
3. Wait a day before making that big impulse purchase
Picture it: you’re shopping and you suddenly see something that you absolutely love. It’s a new outfit, pair of shoes, car accessory or home décor. It’s absolutely perfect, yet the price could send you screaming out of the store.
This has happened often. Instead of making that purchase on the spot, spend some time thinking about it, and if it’s worth the price. A day would be enough time. If after that you still really want to buy it, then go ahead.
4. Write everything down
Keep a ‘spending journal’ of sorts: get a notebook, and simply write down every purchase that you make – what the item was, and how much it cost. Also, make sure to keep your bills. Keeping a log of your purchases can help you track where your money goes, and it’ll help you figure out what you can cut out.
5. Turn off electricity and electronics when not in use
You’re always hearing this, but there are indeed benefits to turning off electronics that are not being used currently. Doing this can lower your electricity bill, plus save you money on buying replacement batteries.
6. Weigh out the pros and cons on big purchases
Luxury items such as brand name clothing, shoes and makeup, are very desirable, but they can definitely take a large chunk out of your wallet. Before rushing out to buy it, think about why exactly you want it. Also, figure out if it’s something that you would wear often, or only once in a while, and if it can be a staple in your closet, or if it’s just a fad.
7. Keep your spare change in a jar
Loose change – we all have it. However, collecting and keeping our loose coins can help save more money than you think! Keep all your spare change in a large jar, and when it’s full, take it to the bank and have them changed to paper money or deposit it to your account. It’ll add up to a lot more than you think! Also, don’t be embarrassed or afraid to pick up coins if you see them on the ground – every penny does count!
8. Invite friends over instead of going out
Nightclubs, movie theatres and restaurants, while being tons of fun and a great way to socialize, are pretty costly. Instead, have get togethers with your friends at one of your houses, and everyone can bring a snack, food or beverage. You could even rent movies, or use Netflix or a similar service, and have a ‘movie night’. It’s a great way to have a night with your friends while going easy on your pocket.
9. Keep a reminder in your wallet
Do you have something that you’re saving up for specifically? Maybe a new electronic gadget, outfit or a future vacation?
Write it down on a piece of Post-It notepaper, and stick it in your wallet or purse in a very visible area. That way, every time you open your wallet to make a purchase, you’re reminded of what you’re saving for, and if this purchase is really worth the money.
10. Look for local events
Be sure to check your local newspapers and Facebook for free or inexpensive events. Things such as poetry nights, comedy shows, and local band concerts are normally very enjoyable and not too pricey. Bring along some friends and make a great time out of it!
11. Pay off credit card bills
Paying off all your credit/debit cards and other bills as soon as you can will prevent your interest from rising.
12. Take your lunch to school/work
Instead of buying something in the cafeteria or the snack machine at work or school, bring your own lunch and snacks with you. Plus, you can freeze a bottle of water overnight, carry a travel mug of hot coffee or tea, or even some juice boxes with you.
13. Make your own presents
Instead of getting storebought gifts for people for their birthdays or Christmas, how about making your own? Handmade items such as jewelry, paintings, crocheted and knitted items, and home décor all make excellent gifts. It’d save money, plus it’d be more personal (and therefore appreciated) too. Look at websites such as Craftgawker, Craftster and Etsy for inspiration.
Carpooling to school or work with friends is a great way to cut back on gas prices, plus you’d have company on the journey there!
See if your favourite stores, restaurants and websites offer memberships to their customers – these are normally free or very inexpensive, and are full of benefits. Benefits can include free gifts (such as on birthdays), entries for sweepstakes, discounts for both online and in-store purchases.
Also, on websites, sign up for email updates - this way, you'll be in the know whenever they have a sale or deal!
16. Find flight and hotel room bargains online
Next time you’re planning your vacation or trip, be sure to check out websites such as Priceline, Expedia, Kayak and Orbitz (just to name a few) to compare prices on airline tickets, hotels, car rentals and activities. Start looking for flights months in advance, as sometimes airlines hike up their prices as it gets closer to the travel date. However, some places also offer “last minute deals” on hotel rooms and plane tickets, so be on the look out for those as well.
17. Buy clothes on sale
This one is pretty obvious, but buying items like clothes on sale can save you some serious dough. Visit stores that are advertising sales and specials, and also check out online retailers. Also, don’t be afraid to buy things from the thrift store! You can get an entire outfit for just a few dollars. Just be sure to thoroughly clean them before wearing.
However remember – don’t just buy it because it’s on sale.
There are many ways to stay fashionable while on a budget, as listed here.
18. Save certain bills
This is quickly growing in popularity, and for good reason - it's an easy and neat way to save money! All you have to do is this- decide on a certain denomination of money that you are going to save, for example, a $5 bill. Now every time you spend or receive money, save the $5 bills - don't spend them. By the end of the month or week, you would've saved quite a bit of money without too much effort! Think about it - four saved $5 bills add up to $20.
19. Coupons are your friends!
Coupons can be used to get discounts or even freebies when shopping, so it's best to always be on the lookout for them. Some companies have exclusive coupons online that you can simply print off and take with you. If you're on company mailing lists for email updates, be sure to check these for coupons as well. Plus, check the bottom of your bill the next time you shop - sometimes stores have a coupon printed on there to be used the next time you shop with them!
There are also smartphone apps that can get you instant discounts!