1. Use cash: It is easy to spend money you don’t have when you pay for everything using a credit card. Using cash makes your spending feel more real and as a result, you will find it harder to part with your hard earned money.
2. Set an allowance: To make sure you don’t overspend, set yourself a weekly or even daily allowance. This will ensure that you never find yourself in debt.If you haven’t spent your allowance for the week, you can put the difference into your savings account.
3. Eat at home: A very simple way to save money every day is to eat at home. Takeaways tend not only to be unhealthy, but they are also expensive. Spending $10-15 every time soon adds up to a lot of money. If you order one takeaway a week at $12, that is equal to $624 a year.
4. Track your spending: These days most of us have a Smartphone like an iPhone or a BlackBerry, which makes it easier than ever to track our daily spending. An app will do the job on your phone, or you can track your spending online.
5. Sell what you don’t need: We all have something lying around the house that we don’t need any more, whether that be an old TV or a bunch of clothes. eBay makes selling unwanted items as easy as possible.
6. Make a groceries list: When you go grocery shopping, always make a list and stick to it. When there’s no list, it’s easy to buy extra items that you don’t need. Sometimes you even end up forgetting what you actually planned on buying in the first place. Make it your mission to never go food shopping when you are hungry; the temptation to buy junk food is too great for most of us. You can also save more money on your groceries by buying online, with the added benefit that they will be delivered right to your door.
7. Expiration dates on food: Americans waste millions of dollars each year simply by throwing away food they think is no longer safe to eat. Expiration dates are only there for two reasons; so a company can’t get sued if a buyer gets ill and to increase profit. I have been eating food that has “expired” for awhile now, and have never been ill because of it (an added benefit is that the item is always cheaper if bought on the day it expires).
8. Go to the movies earlier: Instead of going to the movies at 8pm, start going before 6pm. Tickets are cheaper when it isn’t primetime. Bring snacks from home, the snacks at the theatre are unbelievably overpriced; did you know that there are 1000% profit margins on popcorn! You can even save more by watching and downloading movies legally and cheaply on the internet.
9. Put 20% of your paycheck into savings: Every time you get paid, put 20% of the money into your savings account. This soon becomes second nature and adds up to a substantial amount over time.
10. Lend and borrow instead of buying: Before you make a purchase, ask your friends or family if they have the item. The easiest way is to send out an email asking them. Family and friends always want to help each other out.
11. Realise materialistic goods won’t make you happy: We’ve all felt that feeling of happiness after buying the latest gadget or a designer item of clothing. The thing is that we are only happy for a day or two, then we look for something else to buy to get that feeling back. It’s a never ending cycle. Advertising is the greatest art form of the 20th century; it works incredibly well to get us to part with our cash.
12. Use the $100 rule: This is a simple rule which can save you a lot of money every day. If you plan on buying something that is $100 or more, wait a day to see if the urge to buy is still there. This will let you evaluate the need for the item more calmly.
13. Always ask: You will never get if you never ask. Make it a habit to ask for discounts, or ask whether there is a sale on. You will be surprised at how much you can save just by asking.
14. Prepaid phone: Some readers should ignore this advice as it could massively backfire, but if you are like me, then you don’t spend hours on the phone. It’s just a quick phone call here and there, and mostly communication by text. I stopped my $50 a month contract and only spend around $20 a month now – a saving of $360 a year. You can get a good prepaid phone for as little as $20 at Amazon.
15. Gym membership: A lot of people have a gym membership because it sounded like a good idea at the time (I know I got my membership as part of my New Year’s resolution!), but end up hardly ever going. This is just wasting money. Cancel that membership right away. Even for those who still go to the gym, try working out at home, you can still have a great workout; it worked for Bruce Lee!
16. Brown Bag Your Lunch: Say you spend $5 on food, $2 on coffee and $2 on snacks 5 times a week. 260 days x 8 dollars = a whopping $2080 a year you can save just by following this small tip.
17. Don’t pay for parking: Parking is very expensive these days, and we are willing to pay just for the convenience it provides.There is no need to pay for expensive parking unless it is a last resort, such as your boss is going to fire you if you are late. You might have to walk more, but just think of it as saving money and getting healthier at the same time… it’s a win-win situation!
18. Buy in bulk: Buying in bulk is a great way to save money every day. Doing so reduces the average cost of an item due to the concept of economies of scale. Try and buy non-perishable items in bulk, especially if there is a sale going on. Costco is a great place to do this.
19. Borrow books: If you are a student, then you know that buying textbooks adds up to a few hundred dollars a year – something most of you can’t afford (especially with all that money spent on beer!). Start buying used textbooks from students in the year above, who will be more than willing to sell them to you as they don’t need them anymore. Better yet, go to the library to get the book for free, if they don’t have the book then make a request for them to stock it.
20. Shop online: Shopping online is a very easy way to save money every day. It tends to be cheaper, due to expenses such as electricity, rent, salaries etc being far less than that of a high street store. These savings get passed onto the consumer. Using a price comparison site is always a good idea to get the best deal.
21. Book vacations early: We all need a vacation to keep us sane. There is no better way to escape from our busy work lives than by taking a vacation. Start booking months in advance to save hundreds of dollars. The money saved can then be used for extra spending money to take with.