I was once told that a dollar saved is worth much more than a dollar earned. Think about it: when you earn a dollar, you have to pay medicare/social security tax, federal tax, and state tax (if applicable). So out of every dollar you earn, you are getting to keep $.55-$.80 of it (roughly). Whereas, if you save a dollar, you have a whole dollar. That certainly puts things into perspective for me!
When you’re needing to free up some cash flow, whether it be to pay bills, save or pay off debt, the first thing you should do is take a good look at your spending. There are almost always some ways you can cut back. Below are a list of my favorite ways to save money!
25 Easy Ways to Save Money!!
Make a Grocery List
If you have ever taken a marketing class, you are probably amazed at how much effort goes into trying to get you to buy a product. From the placement of an item on a shelf, the font and color of a label, to the music and temperature of the store… thousands of tiny details are arranged to subliminally get you to spend more money. Especially in grocery stores!! If you make a list of what you need before you enter the store, you are much less susceptible to fall victim of marketing schemes.
Use Cash or a Debit Card, NOT a Credit Card
Whenever you are making small daily purchases, always use cash or a debit card. Using cash or a debit card makes us realize the amount of money we’re spending, and the impact on our budget it will have. When we purchase items with a credit card, we don’t actualize the money leaving our hands, so it is easier to spend more. In fact, a Dunn & Bradstreet study found that people spend 12-18% more when using credit cards than when using cash. Yikes!
Cook at Home
Eating out is expensive, and most of the time, unhealthy. Cooking at home can be fun! I love experimenting in the kitchen and coming up with different meals for my family to enjoy.
Make Your Own Coffee
I don’t live in a town with a Starbucks, but I have been to one a time or two, and I can’t believe how much they can charge for a cup of Joe! Make your own coffee — 400%+ cheaper. If you’re a fan of really good coffee, try a Keurig. It makes excellent coffee, for about $.50 -$1.00 a cup that matches any Starbucks $4 coffee.
Order Water in Restaurants
I’m always amazed at how much a restaurant can charge for a soda or an alcoholic beverage. The mark-up on these items is unbelievable! Save yourself some money (and calories) and make it a habit to order water instead.
Don’t Drink Bottled Water
Not only does plastic have harmful chemicals in it and it takes forever to biodegrade (super bad for the environment), it’s expensive. Buy a few reusable water bottles and invest in a Brita or other filtered water system.
Buy Reusable Grocery Sacks
Another treat to the environment, and your wallet, is to purchase a few reusable grocery sacks. Many stores will give you a discount for using them, every time you shop. A double win!!
If you’re busy and don’t have a lot of time to invest in menu/grocery planning, a great way to save time and money is to subscribe to Emeals. They create a weekly meal plan for you, complete with grocery list. It doesn’t get much easier than that. Most of their weekly menus for 2 people include a grocery list around $40 a week.
A food co-op dedicated to helping people access healthy and fresh produce. Every other week, you can contribute (i.e. purchase) two laundry baskets full of fruits and vegetables for $15. It’s completely non-profit and the produce has exceeded my expectations.
Grow Your own Veggies
Plant a garden and grow your own vegetables, fruits and herbs!
Pay Your Bills on Time
Late fees are EXPENSIVE! Do yourselves a favor — open an Excel spreadsheet, make a list of all of your bills and when they are due and coordinate those bills with your paychecks. Sit down every week and make sure they’re paid on time. Don’t pay late fees. Ever.
Don’t Overdraft Your Bank Account
Again, sooo expensive! Set a budget, stick to your budget, and don’t overdraft your account, unless it’s an absolute emergency (i.e., feeding your family, keeping your home heated, or a medical emergency).
Don’t Exceed Your Credit Limits
There is another outrageous fee — going over your credit limit on a credit card can cost you $26+ a pop. Yikes! Even more reason to set and adhere to a budget.
If you are familiar with Dave Ramsey, chances are you’ve heard of the debt snowball. The basic premise is to list all of your debts, from smallest to largest, and start paying them off in that order. Once the smallest is paid off, apply the payment for that debt to the next payment until it is paid off. Then take both of those payments and apply it to the 3rd debt, and so on… hence the snowball effect. It’s a great way to tackle debt and free up cashflow!
Call Your Credit Card Companies and Ask For a Rate Reduction
If you’re not late or over your limit, you have a pretty good shot at getting a reduction… especially if you threaten to transfer/pay off your balance. It’s worth a shot — and could save you money in interest.
Check Your Bank Account Fees
If you’re paying a monthly bank account fee (for a non-commercial account), consider switching banks. Chances are, there is a bank in your area that will not charge a monthly fee. Shop your bank.
Disconnect Your Land lines
They have pretty much become obsolete with cell phones. If you’re not using it, that’s an easy way to save!
Get a Library Card
This is one I am super guilty of. I spend a ridiculous amount of money on audiobooks and ebooks for my Kindle App. Checking out books from libraries are FREE! In some areas, you can even download ebooks for free, with a library membership!
Find Your Local Virtual Garage Sale
Facebook does a great job of connecting everyone. Many towns/cities are creating Groups on Facebook where people can sell their used items to other locals. See if you can find a virtual garage sale for your area! It’s like Craigslist, but at least most of the time you have a better idea of who you’re dealing with. And with much less spam.
Go through your closets, garages, and storage and see what you’re storing that you don’t need. Put it on Facebook or Craigslist and make a little cash! I have made over $300 selling random clothes that we were storing, and probably never going to use. It takes a little time, but the return is generally a lot better than a garage sale.
Invite Friends Over Instead of Going Out
I am a big fan of staying in and making dinner with friends. It is much more personal and less expensive than going out. You can even do pot-luck theme nights, which are so much fun!
At $8 a month, you can stream movies and tv episodoes 24/7, which is a substantial savings from renting movies or going to the movie theaters.
Make Your Own Hygiene Products
I read an article recently on how the beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. It’s crazy! Most of this stuff we can make better, safer, and less expensive at home. Check out my posts on Beauty for ideas.
Get on Pinterest!! Seriously, you can pretty much DIY everything. For cheap. And it’s fun!
Turn Off Lights When Leaving a Room
A simple and effective way to be kind to the environment and your wallet.
What other money-saving ideas do you have? I’d love to hear them!!
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