29 Jun

How to Save Money by Spending Less (And by Spending More)

how to save money

Whether we like it or not, money is essential to our livelihood and enjoyment. Money can also be one of the biggest stressors in a person’s life at one point or another. You’d probably like to know how to save money fast.

In addition, the final goal of saving money should be financial independence. What is financial independence, you might ask?

Peter Horsfield, founder of  peterhorsfield.com.au and certified senior financial advisor noted…

“Its the ability to fund your ideal quality of life without needing to trade your time to earn it, should you choose not to “work” any more. Passive investments pay dividends, distributions, interest etc.. Importantly maintaining financial independence requires your income from your investments grow more or in pace with the impact of inflation.”

He makes it very clear! You should know your purpose for saving money and have goals for yourself. Becoming financially independent will put you in a position to finally live the life you have been working to live.

In this article, we’ll illustrate some great ways to save money without sacrificing your daily needs or adding stress to your life. 

How to Save Money by Spending Less

Everyone knows that the best way to save money is to spend less, but it’s usually easier said than done. Monthly bills and other little purchases can add up quickly.

While many people assume that spending less results in eliminating the things you enjoy, there are ways to budget without cutting your fun or the essentials.

How to Save Money on Groceries

It’s easy to spend over a hundred dollars on groceries each week without trying, especially if you have a family. It can be difficult to make cuts to your grocery budget since food is a staple in our lives.

We have some helpful tips on how to save money on food and still buy the groceries you and your family loves.

Shop at Discount Grocery Stores

Want to buy the same amount of weekly groceries but want to see a significant savings? The answer may be simpler than you think. Start shopping at discount grocery stores. Discount grocery stores, like Aldi or Grocery Outlet, offer the same kind of quality that you’ll find at your regular grocery store but the prices are a fraction of the cost (40 to 70 percent off).

Discount stores usually have their own brand and the flavor and quality are comparable to similar brands. They often carry popular brand name items but charge less than what you may usually spend.

Use Coupons

Using coupons are an easy way to save a lot of money when you’re shopping for groceries. Start clipping coupons from the Sunday paper, go online and sign up for printable coupons, or take advantage of in-store coupons and specials.

Even if it doesn’t seem like it, using coupons on a regular basis can end up saving you a lot of money each month. You can also sign up for online programs that will send you free products, samples, and coupons. Sign up today! [“Lifescript Advantage Review”]

Don’t Shop When You’re Hungry

How many times have you shopped for groceries when you were hungry? You probably ended up spending way more money than you intended. When you’re hungry, it’s easy to load up your cart without thinking twice.

Try eating a light snack or meal before you go grocery shopping and you’re more likely to stick to your list and not impulse buy.

Make Meal Plans

Another way to avoid impulse buys at the grocery store is to prepare meal plans before you shop. Not only will it make your week of food prep easier but you’re less likely to add things to your cart that you don’t need. Want to save a little extra money?

Try to use the same ingredients in a few meals. Here are some great tips for making cheap meals at home.

Pack Your Lunches

Whether you eat lunch at the cafeteria at work or go out to lunch with your coworkers, your lunch costs can add up quickly. A simple (and healthy) way to save money is to start bringing your own lunch to work or school.

There are plenty of high-quality lunch containers and cooler bags that will keep your food fresh until lunchtime.

Plant a Garden

Did you know that gardening is a great activity for lowering stress and bonding with your family? It also provides the perfect opportunity to save money on food. If you don’t have a lot of space for a garden bed, try container gardening.

There’s nothing more satisfying and delicious than picking a sun-ripened tomato off of the vine or eating a salad of lettuce you picked from your garden.

How to Save Money on Subscriptions

If you’re like millions of other Americans, you probably have a few monthly subscriptions. Even if it’s $20 here and another $30 there, you may not realize how much money you’re spending (and could be saving) every month.

We have some helpful tips on keeping memberships and subscriptions but cutting costs.

Cancel Unused Memberships

If you talk to any financial expert, he or she will urge you to cancel any unused memberships. Many people have the best of intentions to attend the gym a few times a week but only get there a few times a month. Rather than wasting money on the gym or fitness club you rarely attend, find other ways to get active like bicycling or walking.

Life gets busy, but if you have a membership that you haven’t used in a few months. Cancel your subscription. You can always sign up again later if you decide you’ll use it.

Cut Out Cable

Cable television can be a huge waste of money, especially if you don’t watch t.v. often. A great way to enjoy television and movies without the headache of cable costs is to subscribe to services like Netflix or Hulu. The prices are just a fraction of the cost of most cable plans.

Save on Insurance Plans

Whether you have car, rental, or even pet insurance, it’s one of those things that are a “must have.” If you don’t have insurance, it may end costing you more in the future. Insurance plans can be expensive and if you suspect that you’re paying too much, shop around for other for cheaper plans.

Whenever possible, always get several quotes before committing to an insurance plan.

Get AAA and/or AARP

AAA (also known as “Triple A”) is an auto membership offers emergency roadside assistance, DMV services, various discounts, travel planning, insurance, and maps. AAA is a good investment if you travel a lot.

AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) is a membership program for adults 50 years of age and older. As a member of AARP, you can enjoy a variety of discounts for everything from movie tickets to online travel sites.

Get A Cheaper Cell Phone Plan

If you’ve had the same cell phone plan for years, there’s a good chance that you are unaware that cheaper cell phone plans may exist. Even if you’re satisfied with your phone plan, it never hurts to shop around for less expensive options.

Check to see what’s available to save some money each month. 

How to Save Money at Home

Saving money and spending less can start right at home. Rather than hiring professionals to do some tasks around the house, learn how to do them or utilize the skills you already have. There are many budget-friendly and easy things you could be doing at home to save a bundle each month; here are a few.

Save on Electricity

Most of us know that the best way to cut down our electricity costs is by turning off the lights when we’re not in a room, but it’s easy to forget. Post a few notes throughout the house as a reminder.

Once you get into the habit of shutting off the lights, you’ll see savings on your monthly electric bill.

Repair Instead of Buying New

Now and then, things in our homes break or need a little TLC. The easy “fix” would be to replace it with something new, but that often costs quite a bit of money.

While some things cannot (and should not) be repaired, there are many things that you can try to repair before you replace with something new. Watch a Youtube video or do a little research, you may surprise yourself with your ability to make-like-new.

Sell What You Have

Do you have a lot of clutter at home? Have you been meaning to get rid of stuff but haven’t? One of the most motivating factors behind clearing clutter is the opportunity to make money.

Every couple of months, go through your closet and your house and look for things you don’t use or wear anymore. If they are in good or new condition, you could either have a yard sale or try to sell them online.

Do Your Own Taxes

Tax season can be good and bad, depending on your finances. Even if you’re expecting a rebate, you still have to pay a hefty sum to your accountant. If your taxes aren’t too complicated, it may be easy and less expensive to do your own taxes with online services like TurboTax.

If you prefer to have your taxes done for you, it is beneficial to shop around and compare prices from services like TaxAct and TurboTax

How to Save Money Around the Holidays

The holidays can be a particularly expensive time of year. Whether you’re buying gifts or purchasing decorations, you may spend more than you can comfortably afford. We have some great tips on how to save money around the holidays without feeling like a “Scrooge” or going into debt.

Do Holiday Decor Shopping After the Holidays

One of the great things about holiday decor is that most decorations are “timeless” and can be used year after year. Holiday decorations can be expensive, especially if you’re planning to decorate the outside and inside of your home.

Rather than paying full price for holiday decorations, you’ll use season after season, why not shop for them after the holidays are over and everything is deeply discounted?

Shop on Black Friday

Black Friday is the most popular shopping day of the year, and it’s quite an experience. If you can handle big crowds of shoppers and early morning hours, Black Friday is too good to pass up. It’s a great opportunity to get all your holiday shopping done at once and save a ton of money, too.

Get Cheap Christmas Gifts

Keep in mind that cheap doesn’t mean that something is bad or poor quality. If you have a lot of friends and relatives to shop for at Christmas time, you’ll need to find some ways to save money. Keep in mind the following tips when searching for cheap Christmas gift ideas!

Look for sales, always check competitor’s prices, do a little research before buying, and be creative. A cheap gift can be thoughtful and budget-friendly. 

Do you ever give gift cards to your friends and family around the holidays? If so, places like  Cardpool and Cardcash sell discounted gift cards online. Gift cards often make great gifts!

Other Ways to Save Money

So far, we’ve given you some specific ways on how to save money, but there are much more. While some money saving ideas may work well for some, they may not be possible or applicable to someone else. We have some general ideas to help you save even more money and spend less. Anybody can use these general ideas. Whether you are interested in saving money in college, or if you are simply looking to save some money for retirement, we've got you covered. 

Buy Generic

It’s easy to get caught up in the popularity of brand name products. While you may have some favorites of your own, generic versions of most foods and other items are comparable (if not better). One of the best things about generic versions is that the cost is significantly cheaper. If you’re not a big fan of generic, start small.

Make a Budget

Whether you have $100 or $10, a budget is essential to saving money and having control of your finances. Many adults, who struggle with money issues, are simply spending way more than they have and have no budget. 

It’s never too late to look at all of your expenses and make a budget for yourself. Always revisit your budget a few times a year.

Choose What You’re Saving For

It can be difficult to scrimp and save if you have nothing to look forward to. With some of the savings you have from spending less, why not put it away for something fun? Want to go on a trip or buy a new bicycle? Setting aside some money each month for something you want or need is a great motivator. 

Quit Expensive Addictions

Addictions are expensive. Not only can they be hazardous to your physical and mental health (depending on the addiction) but they can put you in a poor financial state. First, you need to recognize that you have an addiction to tobacco or gambling (or something else).

Secondly, take advantage of free tools and resources that are designed to help people quit some of their most expensive addictions. Finally, if you need professional help, get it as it can save you money in the long run.

Make Your Own Beverages

Do you stop at your neighborhood coffee shop every morning or go through a six-pack of soda every day? While your beverage consumption may not seem like a big deal, you’re likely to save more and spend less if you make your own.

Invest in a SodaStream or an espresso machine to make some of your favorite beverages at home.

Buy Used Instead of New

Just because you want to save money and spend less, doesn’t mean you can never go shopping. Want a lamp for your living room or need a dress for a wedding? Rather than buying new, check out second-hand stores or consignment shops first. You may be surprised to find that most used items are practically new and in perfect condition.

How to Save Money By Spending More

We’ve spent a lot of time discussing ways to save money by spending less but there are ways to save money by spending money. Believe it or not, there are many things you can do, such a maintenance and preventative measures that will cost you money initially but save you a ton in the long run.

Pay Yourself First

Every month, you use your paycheck to pay for bills and other expenses. Many people forget to pay themselves every month, too. Whether you put money into your 401(k), your Roth IRA, or your savings account, the money will gain interest, and you’ll essentially be paying yourself.

Always take care of your expenses, but also make paying yourself an important expense, too.

Preventative Maintenance

Finding the time and spending money to get an oil change on your car or a routine maintenance checkup can be a hassle, especially if you need to find alternate transportation. Not only will regular maintenance on your car extend the life, but it will help decrease the likelihood of bigger (and more expensive) issues down the road.

Get a Smart Thermostat

Energy bills can be expensive, especially if you have an older an older thermostat or HVAC system as it can be hard to regulate the temperature. When you replace your thermostat with a smart thermostat, such as the Nest, it will learn your temperature preferences and make your heating and cooling run more efficiently, thus saving you money.

Buy in Bulk

Another great way to save money is spending a little more at once on bulk items. While it may seem more expensive, you’re saving money overall. When shopping in bulk, at places like Costco or Sam’s Club, you will want to do a little price comparing beforehand. Although many products are cheaper in bulk, be smart about what you buy. Too much and it may go to waste.

Buying a Fuel-Efficient Car

Who doesn’t want to spend less time filling up? More and more cars are fuel-efficient, and even though they may cost a bit more than some other vehicles, the savings are worth it, especially when you take road trips or commute often.

Install Solar Panels

If you’ve been thinking a lot about alternative energy, like solar panels, now is the time to start saving money (by spending money) on your energy bills.  The cost installing solar panels differs depending on where you live and how many you need, but the estimated cost for a 5w system is between $25,000 and $35,000.

Many utility companies will offer incentives, and you may be eligible for a subsidy that takes up to half off of the cost. Not only will solar panels cut costs on your energy bills but it will increase the value of your home as alternative energy is attracting homebuyers.

Tips on How to Stay Disciplined with Your Savings

We have given you a variety of tips on how to save money so now you have the tools to get you started. Saving money can be challenging and may sometimes feel like anything but rewarding. Expect to have tougher days (weeks or months) than others but be proud of every dollar you save.

Need some ideas to stay motivated? Make a vision board of all the things you want to be able to purchase or do with money that you have saved. Plan a special event or activity to do with your family. Treat yourself to something you love once a month. Anything that will keep you motivated.

The longer you save money and make financial changes, the easier it will become, and you can make it a good habit.