You’ve probably been told to “save money” at least 10 times throughout your life. It might have been a parent, a close friend, a teacher, or a banker who advised you to put money away to use later in life. In any case, you received sound advice. Saving money is one of the best financial decisions a person can make.
But if you’re like most people, you’ve probably wondered exactly how to save money. After all, the process is usually easier said than done.
We know how intimidating and stressful financial tasks can be, so we put together a list of 23 simple ways to save money. By using these tips in your daily life, you can make it simple to build a comfortable nest egg.
5 General Ways to Save Money
- Think about expensive items, like electronics, for at least 24 hours before purchasing them. This prevents you from wasting money on impulse buys.
- Track your spending. Record all purchases in a transaction register, then look at the register at the end of each month to determine where most of your money goes. This will help you cut excess spending.
- Pay credit card bills and other debt payments on time, no questions asked. Late fees accumulate over time—if you’re not careful, they can account for a large chunk of your income.
- Save loose change. If you save just 50 cents each day, you’ll have saved $182.50 by the end of a year.
- Set savings goals, both long-term and short-term. A good long-term savings goal would be to save $500 over the course of a year. A short-term goal to help you reach that goal might be to spend $10 less on groceries and $10 less on gas each week.
- Bring your own lunch to work, rather than eating out. A homemade meal costs around $3, whereas a meal at a restaurant could exceed $10. After just one year of making your own lunch, you could save upwards of $500.
- Make a grocery list and stick to it. You’ll spend less if you know what to buy before you get to the store.
- Brew your own coffee at home. Many people spend $5 each day on expensive coffee drinks, but you can cut that to about $2 per drink by making your coffee at home. Doing so will cut your annual coffee expenses by nearly two-thirds.
- Buy unprepared food as much as possible. Cut vegetables, sliced meat, and prepared meals can cost up to twice as much as their unprepared counterparts.
- Program your thermostat to save energy when you’re not home. During the winter, set it 8℉ cooler than you would when you’re home, and 7℉ warmer during the summer. Then, program the thermostat to power on one hour before you come home.
- Change your air filters regularly. Dirt and dust can clog your home’s HVAC system, causing it to use more energy to heat or cool your home. By replacing the filter once every month, you’ll save significant amounts of money.
- Use ceiling fans to circulate the air in your home at all times of year. Ceiling fans don’t just help keep your home cool during the summer—they also circulate warm air and reduce heating costs during the winter.
- Insulate your windows, doors, and attics. By neglecting your home’s insulation, you essentially let money float through any cracks and holes your insulation might have.
- Only pay for space you need. If you only need a two-bedroom apartment, don’t rent one with three bedrooms. By living in a smaller space, you’ll save money on your rent or mortgage payments and utility bills.
4 Ways to Save Money on Transportation
- Buy gas at the cheapest station in your area. Although this seems like a no-brainer, many people waste a lot of money on gas expenses by neglecting this tip.
- Avoid making quick stops and starts when you drive. Not only do these guzzle gas, they’re also harsh on your engine and brakes, and could lead to costly repairs down the road.
- Carpool. Splitting fuel costs with just one additional passenger can help you save hundreds of dollars each year. If you want to save even more money, bike to work several times a week.
- Wash your car at home, rather than taking it to a carwash. Car washes often cost around $20, most of which you can save by hand-washing your car in your driveway.
5 Ways to Save Money on Entertainment
- Opt for a streaming service, like Netflix or Hulu Plus, instead of cable. You probably only watch a few cable channels, which means you’re paying for more content than you need.
- Visit your local library. Your tax dollars support your city library, so you might as well use it. In addition to free book rentals, public libraries also offer audio books, DVDs, and magazines.
- Cancel your gym membership. Instead, go walking or running outside for free. You can also download free exercise apps like Nike Training Club, FitStar, and Nexercise.
- Buy movie tickets in bulk. Many movie theaters offer discounts when you buy 5-, 10-, or 15-packs of tickets.
- Attend amateur sporting events. While you probably love the glitz and glamour of professional sporting events, amateur sports are cheaper and just as entertaining.
Whether you have a steady job or you rely on structured settlement payments to keep you afloat, you can use these tips to save money. Be sure to take a look at our other blogs for additional ideas on making the most of your income.