Finding creative ways to save money isn’t as hard as you may think. If you take a close look at where your money is going, it’s likely you can find places to cut spending without putting a damper on all your fun. The easiest way to start saving is to adopt some habits of frugality. The tips below can help keep more money in your wallet, without having to make major sacrifices.
There is no shame in using a coupon
Whether you’re going out for a quick bite, buying clothes online or splurging on a manicure, discounts are abundant. Coupons are often sent through old-fashioned mail by local businesses. You may be throwing out discounts for places you frequent. Before throwing out that “junk” mail take a look to see if there is anything valuable hiding inside.
When shopping online always look for a promotional code for the website where you are shopping. You’d be surprised how many codes are available online for free shipping or 20% off your purchase. Just a quick search can save you big money.
How many times have you made a purchase because you received an email from someplace you shop? Likely more often than you think. Retailers send these emails with discounts because they create a desire for you to buy what you otherwise may not have needed. Stop this by unsubscribing to promotional emails from retailers that you’d rather not be tempted by. Out of sight, out of mind.
The library is digital
Did you know that if you have a Kindle or other e-reader, you can get books from your local library, for free? It’s true! If you are an avid reader that could save $100s of dollars a year. Thousands of books, magazines and periodicals are available to you without ever leaving your couch.
Get paid to shop
When you do shop online, take advantage of one of the cashback apps that are available. Sites like Rakuten, Honey and Coupon Cabin offer cash back for purchases you make at 100s of online stores. This is an easy way to get money back, with little effort.
Have an app intervention
Admit it. Your phone is loaded with apps that you haven’t thought about in months. Some of these apps come with monthly fees that can quickly add up. Take inventory of what you are currently subscribed to and cancel anything that you are no longer using. Dig deep - apps for music, menu plans, exercise routines, and video streaming have permeated our lives. It’s time to eliminate what is no longer of value to you.
Don’t panic! If you must, you can still splurge on your favorite yogurt. But in many cases the only thing the brand name has that the generic doesn’t, is a big marketing budget! Generic brands of rice, beans, OTC medicines and cleaning supplies work just as well as their higher-cost branded versions.
At least do a test to see if you can tell the difference. There is often a significant premium to be paid for the big brand and sometimes, it isn’t worth the price.
While the health benefits should be the biggest driver for quitting this habit, the cost savings may surprise you. Cash for a pack of cigarettes may seem harmless to your wallet, but if you smoke a pack a week, the average cost is $2,292 a year. Yes, it’s not easy to quit, but try. For your long-term health and financial wellness.
Become a volunteer
Is there a conference or festival you want to go to, but don’t have the cash? Check to see if you can volunteer at the event. Lots of events depend on volunteers to help set up, register guests, or direct people. This gets you in the door to enjoy whatever is being presented, without having to pay fees. And sometimes, you even get better access!
Get choosy about what you watch
Many of us have managed to cut the cable cord, only to replace it with multiple streaming services. What started out as a money-saving change turns out to be much more expensive than you intended. Yes, there are a lot of choices out there. But do you really need Hulu, Netflix, HBO and Apple TV? Decide to keep only those channels that you watch regularly. You may not even notice the others are gone. And that extra money can be put to good use elsewhere.
Record your expenses
Writing down everything you spend creates a reality check that may surprise you. An Uber ride here, a latte there can quickly add up. The only way to know what you’re really spending is to keep track. You don’t have to do anything else. Just understanding where your money is going can be a powerful deterrent to spending on those things you don’t really need.
In a world of 2-day shipping, this might seem difficult, but wait before you decide to make a purchase. Tempering that impulse to buy now can go a long way in saving you money and keep you from buying things you don’t really need.
Adopting even a few of these habits can make a substantial difference in the amount of money you can save. Challenge yourself to be more conscious of where and when you are spending. Just being more aware can create subtle changes for the better.