Many of us feel like we can never seem to make enough money to make ends meet. It might be drowning in credit card bills or trying to make a student loan payment, but there’s always a reason why we don’t have enough money. While it would be ideal to make more money at your job, that isn’t always an option. So with that in mind, here are some simple ideas to help you save money in your daily life that could help you with your budget:
1. Try to go for one week or month without buying any non-essential items.
This is known as a spending freeze, and the point here is actually more to help you realize how much money you spend on things you don’t actually need in your daily life. This experiment will show you where you are leaking money on bad spending habits, such as eating out frequently, buying things simply because they were on sale, or are shopping for emotional reasons rather than practical ones. Many of us spent far more money than we need to simply because we don’t really think about it, or because we spend money to make ourselves feel better rather than to solve an actual problem. You’d be surprised how much money you can save by simply cutting out the non-essential!
2. See if you can lower your cell phone bill.
If you’ve been on the same phone plan for a long time, has many of us have, it might be time to reevaluate your options. It’s very possible, and even likely, that there are other companies or other plans within your current company that could save you a lot of money month-to-month. If you’re on a plan that pays for a new cell phone every two years with monthly installments, consider sticking with your old phone rather than always getting the new one when it comes out.
If you have features on your plan that you don’t use or don’t need, consider cutting them out and downgrading to a cheaper plan. This can be a good way to save money. Another good way to save money could be to switch from a postpaid plan to a prepaid plan, as many companies’ prepaid plans are cheaper than their postpaid plans and often offer the same features for less.
3. Pack your lunch and coffee.
Many of us have unhealthy spending habits, like stopping for coffee or tea every single day on the way to work at a coffee shop. We may also go out to eat for lunch every day, or even a few times a week. This may seem insignificant at first, but if you do the math, you will find that you’re probably spending hundreds of dollars every month on this unnecessary dining expense.
The simple solution is to bring your lunch and your coffee with you from home, rather than buying it premade somewhere else. This can save you a huge amount of money.
4. Get on your company’s retirement savings plan if they have one.
Some companies offer retirement savings plans, but they may not be mandatory or automatically set up for you. Some of them even offer savings matches, where the company matches your retirement savings up to a certain amount. This can be a great way to build your savings toward retirement over the long term and will take hardly any work on your part.
When the time comes for you to retire, you’ll be really glad that you took full advantage of any assistance that was available to you.
5. Reduce your energy and water consumption and costs.
This is an area where you can contribute to saving the planet and saving money at the same time. Most households waste a lot of energy and water! The first and simplest thing to do is to make sure you aren’t taking unnecessarily long showers and leaving lights or appliances on when not in use. You’ll also want to turn your air conditioning or heating off or down when you’re not at home, and at night. These tips all cost nothing and save money!
Next comes getting a water-efficient showerhead (sometimes available for free from your water company in certain areas), replacing your incandescent or florescent bulbs with LEDs (buy bulk, off-brand), replacing inefficient appliances with energy star certified appliances, installing timers or wireless controllers on key appliances and on irrigation systems you may use, and checking for leaky pipes or inefficient or leaky windows or doors.
6. Cut your cable bill.
We’re not just talking about reducing your bill, but rather eliminating it entirely! If you’re still paying for cable television today, you should know that there are so many options out there now to get streaming content on the Internet that could save you a great deal of money. Many young people don’t even ever sign up for cable in the first place because they simply don’t see the value in it thanks to the value provided by all these great online services. You can even get affordable smart TVs from stores like Costco with the apps for many streaming services built right in, with countless more a click or tap of the remote away.
7. Take advantage of automated saving.
Many checking accounts and banks have an automatic saving feature that can deposit a percentage of each paycheck automatically into a separate savings account. If you have to make these deposits manually, it’s unlikely that you will make them. By allowing the bank to do it for you automatically, you prevent having to have this extra self-discipline and encourage yourself to save regularly.
8. Shop store brand or off-brand rather than name-brand.
There are many kinds of products where buying the name brand can cost significantly more than buying store brand, or an off-brand. By avoiding name brand products where they are unnecessary, you can save a lot of money very easily. This is especially true in places like the grocery store or department store.
9. Cancel those subscriptions!
Many of us have numerous subscriptions that we’ve long since forgotten about or stop using. Perhaps we got a free trial or a good deal on them when we first started. It’s time to cut the tie and save that money!
10. Cut down on unnecessary groceries.
The average western home throws away many pounds of food each week. This is in the form of leftovers and food that has gone bad before it could be eaten. Rather than buying lots of “just in case” food items, try to plan out your meals ahead of time and buy only what you need to make the meals for that specific week. This can save you a lot of money and prevent a lot of food from being wasted. If you plan right, it can also help you to eat a healthier diet too!
Do you have any other good ideas to save money? Feel free to share them in the comments below!