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Saving money is an important factor in your overall finances. It is something we all need to do. Many people find it difficult to start saving money, but it doesn’t have to be hard.
The truth is that you don’t need to turn your world upside down to start saving. There are plenty of simple ways you can save money every month. A little bit here and a little bit there can really add up to a lot when you think about it.
Why you need to save money
You are not alone if you have no savings, in fact, 40% of Americans can’t cover a $400 emergency expense. What would happen if your car broke down or a major appliance in your home died? Well, without any savings, you would have use credit to pay for the repairs.
This will cause you to get into debt. And, if you can’t save money now, how are you going to pay off that debt? This is where things start to snowball. So now you not only don’t have any savings, you have more bills to pay.
How to start saving money
Saving money isn’t that hard, you don’t have to think of crazy ways to save money or become one of those extreme money savers. In fact, this is a sure fire way to get discouraged and give up.
The key to saving money is to start living below your means. Yup, it’s that easy, living on less money than you make is how you can start saving effortlessly.
You don’t need to turn your world upside down or deprive yourself of things that make you happy. It’s about developing frugal money habits.
Let me show you how easy it can be to start saving money every month by making some small and simple changes. With a few tweaks to your spending priorities, you’ll be on the fast track to saving money in no time.
1. Look for cheaper alternatives to save money
Saving money doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have to give up things that you enjoy. You just need to you look for cheaper alternatives to some things that you waste money on daily. By doing this, you will still meet your needs and start saving money too!!
For instance, take those specialty coffees daily, one Starbucks coffee costs between $3 -$5 each. You could buy flavored coffee for less than $10 a can or creamers in your preferred flavor for less than $5.
At the rate of one specialty coffee a day these two options would last you over a month, so you will spend $15 dollars a month making them yourself instead of wasting roughly $90 a month for purchasing ONE daily at your local coffee shop. Cha Ching…$75 a month saved on one item alone.
Any of these items would cost you between $10 – $30 as an initial investment and less than $5 a month for replacement filters. So let’s say you purchase 3 bottles of water daily, after your initial investment (which will still save you money) you would save over $120 a month and $1440 a year by using a cheaper alternative.
Here is a very short list of items that many people waste money on every week. Look at how much money can be saved by just by substituting a few items with cheaper alternatives. It’s really kind of mind-blowing…
- Specialty coffee once a day = $21 a week (most likely more)
- Lunches during your work week = $50 – $75 a week
- Take out or eating out once a week = $15 – $50 (depending on your family size)
- Vending machine snacks twice a day during your work week = $15
- Bottles water 3 per day for one week = $30
Again, this is a short list but I just want to give you an example of how substituting for cheaper options can save you so much money.
So, just with the 5 items, I listed above, this totals $131.00 a week (this is low balling the total)
Now for the shocker…
Those small items also total $556.75 a month. Just by making a few minor changes, you could be saving over $6800 dollars a year!! Looking for cheaper alternatives truly does add up to a whole lot of money saved.
2. Meal plan to save money on groceries
Besides finding cheaper alternatives to save money, saving on groceries is one of the easiest ways to reduce monthly expenses.
We all spend money month after month on groceries, it just makes sense to try and cut back on the amount of money we spend on food.
There are many money-saving strategies when it comes to our grocery budget. Here is a short list.
- Meal Planning
- Using Rebate Apps
- Shopping Sales
- Seasonal Shopping
- Growing a Garden
- Freezer Cooking
If you were to pick just one of these options to save money on groceries, I would suggest meal planning. It’s the easiest way to save money and it’s less time consuming than the other options. And we all know that time is money, right?
Just by planning ahead you could easily save hundreds of dollars a month on groceries. Grab your meal planning worksheets here to get started.
3. Money saving apps
Technology can really help in your quest to save more money. There are literally tons of apps, websites, and extensions that can save you more money.
Walmart savings catcher is a fun app that reimburses you if they find lower prices on items that you bought. Simply scan your receipts and let the app do the rest.
Paribus is similar to Walmart’s savings catcher but it’s for online purchases. It searches the internet to see if there is a lower price on things that you recently bought. If they find lower prices, the negotiate to get you a refund for the price difference. How cool is that?
4. Consignment shopping
Consignment shopping is another easy way to save money on things you need. Why would you pay full price for things that you can get for pennies on the dollar at a consignment shop?
There are so many things you can save money on when consignment shopping. Clothing is what comes to mind when most people think of consignment shopping. But there are so many other things you can get for cheap.
You can get household items, dinnerware, furniture, toys, books and so much more. If you’ve never stepped foot in a consignment shop, then you are in for a fun surprise!
5. Conserve energy to save money
Energy consumption is a huge monthly expense that we feel we have to deal with. The thing is we all have a choice to do things to reduce our energy consumption to save money and the planet at the same time.
There are many small changes that you can make to save money on energy. Mainly, it’s being mindful of not wasting it unnecessarily. Things like…
- Turning off lights and tv’s when leaving a room
- Line drying clothes instead of throwing them in the dryer.
- Lowing your thermostat at night
- Turning the temp on your water heater down
- Use power strips when possible
- Install low flow shower heads and faucets
- Seal air leaks in your home
- Cleaning air vents and filters
- Using LED bulbs
- Use blinds to either block the sun or wind to reduce heating/cooling costs
- And the list goes on…
These are just some ways to reduce your energy consumption. All these little changes really do make a big impact on your budget as well as your wallet.
6. Have patience
I’m sure that you’ve heard the term “patience is a virtue”. Well, when you are looking to save more money, patience is a must especially if you need to make a major purchase.
When contemplating making a big purchase, take some time to think about it. We’ve all been in a situation where a salesperson shows us all the bells and whistles that come with whatever it is we are looking to buy.
It’s too easy to get caught up in the moment of wanting something that we don’t need because we are being pushed in that direction. Only to realize later on that it was a huge mistake and waste of money.
Instead, take a day, week or even month to think if the price tag is really worth it. Do you really need all those extras or would a basic model meet your needs?
As you can see, saving money is really not all that difficult when you make small changes to things that you do every day. It takes a bit of practice and being mindful of where your money is going and what it’s being spent on.
Take baby steps, try a few of these money-saving tips at a time. Once you master those, add a few more in. It’s so much easier to stick with a savings plan when making small changes.