Need to save some money? Welcome to the club.
Figuring out how to save extra money in everyday life can really help you to find some breathing room in your budget for growing your wealth.
I try to live a frugal life as a rule. That means when I do spend money, I’m not paying full retail. But there are a ton of little changes you can make in your life so that saving money is second-nature.
These are my best money-saving tips for spending less.
- Commit to the process. Accept that you are now on a journey to save money. Life will look a little different now, finding the best price might take longer but it’s all worthwhile.
- Automate a small transfer to a savings account. Start with $5 or $10 each time you’re paid. The amount here is not important – saving this small amount will help you get into the habit of saving regularly.
- Track your spending. Much like dieting, we see more success when we track. Tracking your spending for 30 days will help you identify places you can make savings.
- Start a budget. Find a budgeting method you can stick to and work at it. Tweak it, finetune it and make it better. This is your budget.
- Set a visual goal. Some people like to use a bullet journal or debt trackers. I like to pin my budget on the fridge. Whatever it is – make your finance goal visible so you can’t forget about it.
- Switch to a cashback credit card. This is a quick way to make each purchase count. Be sure to use the cash you get back each month to reduce your overall debt, or if it’s enough to cover your entire balance, save the payment.
- Put the little savings to work immediately. Say, for example, you spend $128.42 on groceries but your grocery budget allows for $135. Get home from the grocery store, put away your groceries then login to your banking or investment app and transfer that extra $6.58 into your online savings or investment account. Alternatively, you could stash the extra money towards making a future debt repayment. Either way, make those little savings count by putting them to work right away.
- Switch to LED Bulbs. Upgrading your light bulbs to LEDs can save you over $100 a year. It’s a simple change to make that doesn’t cost a lot but can have a big impact on your budget
- Line dry your clothes. I’m a big advocate of line-drying because we don’t have a dryer but also because line drying is better for the environment, your clothes and your wallet. What’s not to love??
- Buy an espresso machine. Coffee was always the thorn in my budget’s side. Not anymore, I now have an amazing little espresso machine (a Sunbeam Mini Barista) which saves me $5/day on weekdays and $10/day on weekends. It cost $249, so after five weeks of ownership, we were in the black.
- Reduce daycare hours. If you can work from home for 1 day a week, that can potentially save thousands in daycare each year.
- Switch to active transport. Walking or cycling to work not only saves a bundle of cash, but it’s also incorporating exercise into your day. Win-win.
- Go on a debt diet. Easy credit is as addictive as chocolate and potentially just as bad for you. Commit to cutting out spending on credit cards or applying for personal loans and store credit.
- Try online grocery shopping. Some people find online grocery shopping to be cheaper than visiting a supermarket simply because it eliminates impulse buys.
- Shop early in the morning. If online shopping is not for you, head to the grocery store early to get marked down meat and produce.
- Introduce vegetarian meals. Find a couple of healthy vegetarian meals your family love to eat. We are big fans of these red curry lentils by Pinch of Yum – so good!
- Use Cashback sites for all purchases. If you’re in the US, Rakuten/Ebates is a good bet, in Australia and New Zealand CashRewards and KiwiWallet are two good options. Either way, check the cashback sites before you make any purchase.
- Stash gift cards for Christmas. One of my favourite money-saving tips is to do online surveys for gift cards so you can build a gift card stash for Christmas. If you start in January and earn $20 a month through surveys, you’ll have a decent balance by the end of the year. Here are the top 10 best paid surveys Australia has to offer, here are my picks for New Zealand surveys. If you’re in the US, check out these options.
- Shop your pantry. Before you write your shopping list, get creative by shopping your pantry.
- Have a no-spend weekend once per month. This can be a ton of fun. Think of free activities like packing a picnic and discovering a new park in your area, going for a bike ride or just pottering around the home. Even if you’re not a big spender, a no-spend weekend can be a great way to try new things and discover free fun in your area.
- House swap on vacation. Aah travel, the entire reason I even bother saving. As much as a lot of us love to travel, we know it’s not a cheap pursuit. But it can be – house swapping with other homeowners can help you to eliminate almost all of your accommodation costs allowing you to
save for retirementtravel more.
- Use Facebook to bookmark free events. There is one good thing about the creepy way Facebook knows everything about us – it shows us content we might be interested in. For example, I mark ‘interested’ on pretty much every family fun day or carnival, school fete or country fair in my city. I figure they are free fun for kids and get us out of the house. Now Facebook shows me them whenever they come up and I use the ‘interested’ feature to remind me.
- Downsize your home. If downsizing is a possibility for you, it can be a huge money saver. We saved over $500/month by moving into a smaller home.
- Schedule a savings day each year. This is a day where you gather all your utility bills, insurances, credit card statements and any other recurring bills and assess whether they are best suited to your needs right now, or if there is a better deal to be had. Do this once a year and it’ll save you thousands over your lifetime.
- Always automate the minimum payment on your credit card. Paying interest or late charges on a credit card bill plain old sucks. I do not recommend just paying the minimum each month – pay it off in full whenever possible, but automate the minimum payment so you do have to deal with late fees.