27 Ways to Save Money
From Entertainment to Housing to Do-It-Yourself tips, you can save thousands of dollars a year by following a combination (or all) of these tips. Angel and I do a mixture of these which keep us on track for all of our goals.
Entertainment Savings Tips
Find the Local Discounts
Try a fun outing by searching online for cheap movie theaters or discount priced days at your favorite locations. In our area, there is a movie theater that shows month-old movies as low as $2.50 on discount days and even has a $10 date night with snacks included. Even the theater with the up-to-date movies has $5.50 movies on certain days of the week. There are all kinds of deals going on if you look for them.
Try hiking, going to the beach, or bike riding. These are free ways to enjoy life and be active.
Use Coupon Sites
We always find special pricing on activities, locally and abroad, on sites like Groupon. When my husband and I went on vacation to Las Vegas, we found tons of buffets and drinks that were often half price. Always check for discounted fun.
Make It a Game to not Spend Money
Try to find local outings that will cost you no money for a weekend. You’ll be surprised at how much fun it is to get outside of your comfort zone while not even noticing that you’re saving money.
Money Habits Savings Tips
Set a Budget
If you don’t know what your income and your expenses are, you don’t know what needs to be set aside for bills, goals, and savings. The first step to saving money is knowing how much you have by making a basic budget. Write it down.
Set a Goal
When you have a goal in mind and written down, it is easier to stick to your budget. Ultimately, you’ll have a drive that beats out any other impulse to ditch the plan.
Grocery Shop Weekly
Instead of eating out or just waiting to see what you will eat for lunch or dinner, make a meal plan and go grocery shopping. The more you get into the habit of stocking your food supplies, the less you will be drawn to go to restaurants. Restaurant or fast food meals can often cost 2 to 3 times what they would cost if you made it at home.
Via Foxy Trades
Before Buying, Wait 24 Hours
We have all had those purchases that we regret down the line after looking into our empty accounts. Stop impulse buying. This trick alone has saved blogger at Foxy Trades hundreds a year. You’ll find that a lot of impulse buys are unnecessary.
Go On a Spending Fast
Sometimes, you will have a big purchase coming up that needs ultimate focus or you may just really need the money for next month’s rent. Either way, don’t be afraid to go a week or a month trying to buy only the basics. Minuca Elena gives a great tip of using your phone’s calculator at the store to ensure not spending more money than you intended. This can make you aware of buying indulgent items during your savings fast. You’ll be surprised how much you can save in such a short period of time.
Check Sales Prices
Before any large purchase, Minuca Elena also advises checking for discounts or items that are on a promotion. This works great when buying items with coupons which can even make you money.
To get a maximum discount on purchase, another blogger suggests trying to find coupon codes available online that can often offer 10% – 50% off. You can also use an app like Honey that automatically applies the best coupon deals on the web at checkout.
Save Your Cents
Kraig at Travel Gear Addict suggests using a service which automatically rounds up the change from purchases and puts it in a separate investment account. These set-it-and-forget-it investments are a good idea because you won’t even know the money is missing and over time, you will save thousands using this method.
Get a Cash Back Credit Card
Warning: if you cannot control yourself with a credit card, move along to the next suggestion. It is much more suited for you.
If you can keep yourself from spending money just because you have the credit, then get a cash back credit card. Kraig over at Travel Gear Addict pays his card off immediately and saves hundreds a year with the 1% – 5% cash back on purchases.
Remember to not go crazy with credit cards as that can lower your credit score. Also, go with a card that gives you a sign-up reward for an extra hundred dollars in your pocket.
Pay with Cash
If you are an impulsive spender, try using cash for small purchases. You will find it harder to spend your money when you see your money literally disappearing in front of you. Blogger at Extended DISC recommends doing this for smaller purchases such as grocery shopping and shopping sprees.
Housing Savings Tips
Pay Your Mortgage Every Two Weeks
Instead of a monthly payment, pay the same monthly mortgage, just divided by two, every two weeks. So instead of $2,000 at the beginning of the month, pay $1,000 on the 1st and $1,000 on the 15th. This cuts about 4 years off a 30-year mortgage loan which can save you thousands by not spending any extra money.
Pay More Towards Your Mortgage Each Month
Even if it’s an extra $100 a month towards your mortgage, you can shave years off your mortgage. This is because you are putting extra money towards the premium and over time, there is less premium to charge the hefty interest rate on.
You really only pay your actual house off the last 10 years of a 30-year mortgage. The first 20 years primarily go to paying the banks back on their interest.
Put a 20% Down Payment When Buying a House
If you save just a little longer and a little more ferociously to save 20% for a down payment on a house, you would save yourself hundreds of dollars a year without having to pay the private mortgage insurance. On a $300,000 loan, that is a savings of $400 a month if you put 20% down on a house versus nothing down on a house. That would be $4,800 in savings a year.
Live Somewhere Cheap, Maybe with a Commute
Before you dismiss this as counter intuitive and impractical for saving (drive FARTHER?), consider what it could save you. One fellow blogger over at Making Milly spends about $700 per month on housing away from shopping temptations. Her husband’s coworker spends about $1,500 per month in a money-sucking town. Both drive about 45 minutes to work. So if you already have a commute, consider cheaper housing.
Do-It-Yourself Savings Tips
Drink Coffee at the Office instead of Starbucks
Instead of giving into your morning urge to go buy a cup of coffee, look forward to a fresh cup straight from the coffee pot at work. Buy your own creamer and sugar. It’ll be way cheaper than the local coffee shop.
Via Foxy Trades
Learn How to Make Your Own Coffee Drinks
Go a step further than coffee with creamer. Get creative and learn how to make your favorite coffee shop drink that’s cheaper AND HEALTHIER! I love my chai (tea in Indian, so it’s not chai tea or that would be redundant) lattes and I got some organic loose-leaf that I’ve been mixing with organic vanilla coconut milk with a teaspoon of natural sweetener and YUM. It’s more satisfying and costs less than $1 a cup for a premium drink.
Buy a Cookbook
Those amazing recipes you love from your favorite restaurant? I bet you could make it yourself for, you guessed it, cheaper. So, buy a cookbook and learn some life skills.
Via Foxy Trades
Make Your Own Crochet Products
I’ve dabbled in crochet and have found that you can find a free or cheap pattern for any style crocheted item of clothing you want – scarf, hat, gloves, shirt, etc. Plus, you can customize and pay pennies on the dollar by buying your own yarn.
Stay Fit at Home
Gym memberships cost money every month. Keeping fit at home doesn’t. It’s a one-time investment with a set of free weights and occasionally athletic shoes that gain wear and tear. Blogger over at http://thgmwriters.com/ does exercises at home to keep fit that include push-ups, running occasionally, and chin-ups with a bar over the door. They point out that the best thing about working out at home is it’s easy to fit into your schedule with a few minutes of working out here and there while not having to go to a gym location for results.
Make Your Own Household Cleaners and Soap
Using essential oils and basic household products, like baking soda and white vinegar, you can make soaps and household cleaners for thriftier and environmentally better products for you and your family to use
Transportation Savings Tips
Buy a bicycle
If you really want to save on transportation costs, buy a bike. Riding a bike to work can save you hundreds of dollars in gas and keep you healthy at the same time. Go foldable if you ride a train or bus for part of a long commute.
If you want to take it a step further, buy an electric bike. That way your ride is a little more comfortable and sweat-free as well.
Ride with a coworker
With all of the environmentally friendly pushes, consider riding with someone to work if you have a long commute.
Have Your Off-To-College Teens Uber Around
FYI: people have to be 18+ to use ride-share apps. Even if a teen had a somewhat heftier $16 ride round trip 3x a week, a year would be about $2,000. Definitely cheaper than all other possible added-up expenses per year with a car, insurance, and gas. Plus, they can always ride with friends and learn more about their surrounding area.
What are some of your money saving tips? I’d love to hear them.