Are you constantly frustrated by your inability to save money and get ahead financially? I get it, you’re not alone. Here’s the good news, it doesn’t have to be this way.
You can improve your life and change your financial situation by making small changes. These small changes aren’t going to turn you into a millionaire but they can save you hundreds and maybe even thousands of dollars a year.
Implementing money saving strategies doesn’t have to take a lot of time or energy. I recommend picking one money saving hack and starting slowly. Don’t try to tackle the whole list it’ll be too overwhelming. Small adjustments add up to big changes over time. You got this!
1. Build A Budget And Follow It
Building and following a budget is the quickest way you can get a grip on your finances. By creating a budget you’ll get an overall picture of what is going on with your money. It’s your road map to see where you can cut back and where you can save money more effectively.
If you really want to see progress, YOU NEED TO HAVE A BUDGET. Budgeting can single-handedly make or break your personal finances.
If you have never had a budget or are unsure how to start one you have to check this out.
To create a budget you’re going to want to
1. Calculate your fixed expenses. Fixed expenses are ones that occur each and every month, they are the ones that you can’t really get away from or reduce.
- Mortgage or rent
- Vehicle payments
2. Calculate your discretionary expenses. Discretionary expenses are described as being optional and non essential for your living
- Phone bills
- Personal care
- Travel costs
- Coffee— Sorry, I’m a big coffee fan too!
Discretionary expenses are ones that you can reduce and manage by making choices to reduce or eliminate completely.
I recommend evaluating your discretionary expenses and creating money saving goals. If you aren’t currently tracking these expenses start now. Determine how much you’re going to spend in each of your discretionary categories.
Tracking expenses is key to your success. I love using Mint and Personal Capital to track my expenses. These are apps that connect to your bank account to help you keep track of your money.
If you prefer something less techy you can use an excel sheet, or even pen and paper.
2. Pay Yourself First
Once you’ve created a budget, and have a clear representation of your financial situation, it’s time to start saving money. I like to save money by paying myself first.
The first step I take to pay myself first is to pay all of our bills as soon as I receive my paycheck. After bills have been accounted for I then deposit a predetermined amount of money into a high yield savings account or my ROTH IRA. You can choose what works best for you.
3. Use Cash Back Programs To Save You Money
I love discovering various ways to save money. A good way to save money while shopping online is to use eBates for coupons and cash. I currently use Ebates and saved $50 in the last two months on everyday purchases.
When you create a FREE Ebates account here, $10 will be deposited into your account after your first shopping spree with Ebates.
If you’re not into using eBates at least do yourself a favor and compare prices on Amazon to see if you can buy your item cheaper.
I also love using Ibotta. Ibotta is a money saving grocery app that saves me tons of money a month. After paying for your groceries all you have to do is scan your receipt with the Ibotta app and Ibotta credits your account.
You can redeem Ibotta credits for cash or gift certificates. You can even transfer your Ibotta money into PayPal account. It’s really pretty slick!
If you would like to save on groceries and are interested in receiving free money every time you shop download the Ibotta App here and grab a free $10 gift card just for trying it out!
4. Use A Cash Envelope System
If you’ve ever heard of the “envelope savings system,” you probably know that people have had amazing results with this method.
The cash envelope system works by divvying up your predetermined amount of cash into individual envelope categories. The cash envelope system is an effective money budgeting system because you’re only allowed to spend the money you have dedicated to each category. When the cash is gone, you’re out until next month.
5. Stock Up
My favorite money saving hack is to shop the deals at the grocery store and stock up when I see a sale. Purchasing several items while on sale maximizes your savings. If you’re looking to consistently pay the lowest price possible it’s crucial that you learn to stock up.
In order to get the lowest price on an item you need to make sure you buy enough of the product while it’s on sale to last you until it goes on sale again. Most items go on sale every 6-8 weeks.
6. Excess Electricity
This is simple, but something that you can save you a lot of money each month. Turn off your lights when you’re not using them. Unplug things you rarely use. Ex. Treadmill, printers, and fax machines.
We like to use a power strip on electronics so you can turn them all off at once. Also make sure you install energy saving light bulbs, they may seem a bit expensive upfront but the money you will save over the year is significant.
Did you know that by turning your thermostat up a few degrees in the summer or down a few degrees in the winter you can see a big reduction in your costs?
Also be sure to pay attention to your power bills; if you notice a spike in your bill it may be time to make sure your house is adequately insulated. If you’re able to afford it, consider installing quality windows or doors to help with heating and cooling costs.
7. Find An Inconvenient Bank To Save Your Money
I know this money saving hack may sound a bit silly but it really works. Keeping your money in an inconvenient savings account makes it more difficult to withdraw your money on a whim.
For those of you who like to make impromptu purchases try and give this a shot. Putting your money into something that is difficult to get to decreases your chances that you will access it and spend money when it’s unnecessary.
8. Meal Plan
By meal planning you will save so much money. If you eat at home rather than going out you can save at least $20 a week or $80-100 a month. Fast food and eating out are two of the biggest budget busters around.
I know it seems like you are only spending a couple dollars here and there but it all adds up. By meal planning you’ll save money by having less waste and you’ll always have healthy and delicious meals when you need them most.
By becoming a meal planner you’re able to assess what you already have in your fridge or pantry and incorporate those items into a healthy and delicious meal. I love meal planning because I always know I have a dinner and it prevents me from eating out.
If you need some great ideas for meal planning I highly suggest you check out $5 meal plans. $5 meal plans costs less than $2 a person per meal and the healthy recipes are delivered to your inbox each week.
9. Make Your Own Household Cleaning Items
Instead of going to the store to buy overpriced cleaning supplies why not make your own. With a few exceptions, you don’t need to buy specific and often pricey products to clean every different surface in your home.
You can save a ton of money by being thrifty and coming up with your own household cleaners and supplies. I bet there are tons of ingredients in your home that can be used to make great cleaners at a fraction of the cost.
Vinegar is a great all-purpose cleaner, baking soda is gentle enough to use as a mild abrasive in many areas of your home. Lemons have a natural bleaching ability.
10. Start Investing
Even if you don’t have a ton of money start investing what you can sooner than later. I know investing can seem like a scary thing, but if you start stashing alway a bit now it can add up to be a good amount of money over time.
We love using Acorn to help us invest. Acorn is an app that that rounds up the purchases we make and automatically invests the money for us. All you do is sit back and let your money grow.
If you want to read my full review about Acorns check this out.
Robo-Advisors For Investing
If you are interested in investing but don’t have a ton of money to do so, a great way to start is robo-advisors. Robo-advisors allow you to invest small amounts such as $5, $25, $50.
Here are two reputable apps that let you invest with little money:
Investors can join Swell for a minimum of $50! Swell Investing aspires to give enhanced investment options to people who care about where their money goes.
- Green Tech
- Clean Water
- Zero Waste
- Renewable Energy
- Disease Eradication
- Healthy Living
Swell has a 0.75% annual fee and a $50 minimum account value. This makes for a great starter investment account if you don’t have a lot of money to throw at it.
Betterment is a clear leader in the robo-advisor race. It is an automated investment services that has no account minimum and the lowest annual fees. Truly a great option. Their new account setup is intuitive and easy.
11. Create Multiple Streams Of Income
It’s no secret that the more sources of income you have the more potential you have to make good money. It’s also no secret the most wealthy individuals collect from multiple income streams.
You don’t have to have a ton of money to begin creating multiple streams. Some people find some of these ideas beneficial to helping them discover new income sources.
12. Create An Emergency Fund
Did you know that by creating an emergency fund you are protecting yourself from financial turmoil down the road? Nobody expects an emergency. That’s why it’s called an emergency. An emergency fund is a nice little fund you create to help yourself in a time of need.
13. Make More Money
When all else fails it may be time to make more money. We we are huge advocates of starting a side hustle. Why? Because side hustles give you an alternative income stream outside of your full-time job.
I know, making more money isn’t as easy as it sounds. But side hustles are growing in popularity every day. Those who want to work from home have a variety of options, including taking online surveys for cash, or making money with these ideas.
14. Pay Everything On Time
The due date on your bills is the due date, it’s as simple as that. Don’t toss money away by not paying your bills on time. The charges from not paying your bills on time can add up fast and are completely unnecessary.
Not only can these charges derail your money saving plan but they may affect your credit score.
If you’re really struggling to pay your bills on times there are steps you should take to get your finances under control. Make sure to contact the biller and see if they will work with you to create a payment plan. Don’t let your inability to pay your bills ruin your finances.
15. Get Creative with Friends
When going out with friends it’s easy to get caught up in the moment. Whether it be a celebration or a small gathering the excitement can quickly lead us to temporarily forget about our budget.
Our progressive dinner parties are a great solution for us and our friends to save money.
If you are going to head out to the restaurants to meet friends think about eating from the happy hour menu, appetizer list, or split a meal with a friend. Not only will ordering from the less expensive menu save you money (25-50%). It will allow you to stretch your “going out/ entertainment budget”. Stretching your entertainment budget means you can fit more monthly outings into your allotted budget.
Think about it, if you spend $10 on going out rather than $20 you just doubled the number of times you can go out.
16. Get Your Caffeine Fix At Home
While it might not seem like a lot when forking over $3.50 for your fancy coffee, but trust me it is.
One of the best ways to save some money without having to get rid of your coffee habit is by brewing your own cup at home. If I told you by giving up this simple convenience you could save $1,260 a year, would you still buy that coffee? It’s a no-brainer!
You can get yourself a good coffee maker at a decent price and save tons of money. Almost all coffee makers now have built in timers, set it before you go to bed so you can have a fresh brew ready when you wake up.
I’d love to head of any money saving hacks that have worked well for you. I hope you were able to learn something from our 16 money saving hacks.
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