If you’re trying to save money, it’s the little things that count. Most people either go into all-out savings mode, or just never do it at all. They see saving money as a drastic lifestyle change. That’s the incorrect approach to saving.
Yes, while saving will require some changes in your everyday spending habits, such as creating a budget, but it won’t require you to change your lifestyle completely.
Especially if you’re new to saving money, you want to tackle the little things first. It may not seem like much at first, but you’ll be surprised at how much it can add up to at the end of the month or year.
11 Easy Ways To Save Money
Let’s go through easy ways you can save on everyday purchases simply by making a few small changes in your daily habits.
1. Start with a budget
What gets measured gets managed. If you don’t measure your spending, it’s going to make it impossible to manage it. For many people who’ve never tried to save, and have never created a budget before, this can all seem a little daunting. It can feel like there’s just too much to do in order to just save a few bucks here and there. But remember, these few bucks can add up to a lot more than you realize right now.
Start by creating a simple budget you can stick to. If you’ve never budgeted before, follow the tips in this post. It’s easier than you think.
A budget forces you to save without having to really plan for it. So if you create a budget, you’re already a step ahead.
2. Eat out less
The average household in the US spends about $3500 per year eating out. While it’s fine to dine out once in a while, making more meals at home (especially following a strict grocery budget) can save you hundreds of dollars per month, adding up to thousands per year.
For many people, this is the area that could save them the most.
3. Make your lunches at home
Related to the previous point… Make your work lunches at home. Going out for a quick bite to eat everyday for lunch can add up, even if it’s under $10/day. That’s $300/month and $3600/year. Instead of buying a $7 sandwich, make one for $1.50 at home. Plus, it’s healthier and you can save time commuting to the deli everyday.
4. Say no to buying cups of coffee
Coffee is one of the most marked up consumer goods in the world. Buying a cup of coffee (~$1.70) costs 10x more per cup than if you make it at home, which only costs about $0.17 per cup.
5. Quit smoking
Smokers who smoke a pack per day have an immense yearly expenses that non-smokers don’t. Obviously, quitting smoking is way easier said than done. However, if you can manage to do it, you can save thousands per year. At a pack a day, you’re spending anywhere between $4000-$5000 per year.
You can go on a luxury one-month trip to most vacation destinations in the world for cheaper.
6. Stop driving everywhere
The economics of driving vs taking public transport (or Ubering) doesn’t really make sense anymore. For many households, Ubering gives you the same convenience as driving at a cheaper price. Plus, you don’t have to worry about parking or car maintenance costs which add up.
7. Buy used furniture
Furniture is like cars. Once someone buys it, their value goes down, which makes it an awesome way to save money when you’re looking for something like a desk or chair.
Buying furniture at Ikea is cheap, but if you look at some of these marketplaces, you’ll often find really luxury high quality items for a fraction of the cost it’s worth when it’s new.
8. Find cheap gas
It’s surprising at how much the gas prices can vary even in the same town. Sometimes, you’ll even find rates cheaper from one block to another.
If you want to find the cheapest gas prices instantly, use an app like Gas Buddy, and check out this article.
9. If you have a dog, groom them yourself
Cutting your dog’s hair is easier than you think if you have the right equipment. A grooming appointment with a professional dog groomer will usually cost around $60-$100. A high quality trimmer costs around $100-$200 and will last you years.
Plus, your dog will have a lot less stress getting their fur cut from the comfort of home rather than in a cold salon from a stranger.
10. Cancel unused subscriptions
This is a big one. Many people pay for things for years without even realizing because they forgot about them. Take a day to go through your credit card bills to find any subscriptions you forgot about and are still paying for.
Then, go through subscriptions that you do use, but don’t really need. Subscriptions might feel like they’re cheap because of a low “monthly” cost but over a year, it usually adds up to over $100.
11. Negotiate your subscriptions
A lot of people don’t know that stuff like your cable bill, phone bill, and internet bill can be negotiated. It’s worth more to give you a discount than it is to lose you as a customer.
12. Turn off your lights and television
A small money saving habit that can add up drastically over the year is remembering to turn off your lights and TV when not in use. Plus, turning off your television can do more than just save you money on your electricity bill. You’ll be less inclined to sit back down on the couch, and (hopefully) it will get you to spend time doing other more productive things like building a side hustle or getting some fresh air outside.
13. Use a cash only system
Credit cards can be great for earning cash back or travel rewards, but at the same time, it makes it more difficult to track what you’re spending and stick to a budget. At the beginning of each month, withdraw cash and separate the required amounts according to your budget. That becomes what you can spend, and anything left over you can save. Being able to physically see the cash disappearing is a great way for beginner savers to get a grasp on their spending.
14. Try a water only month, then stick to it
Yes, I know pop and alcohol is addicting. If you’re used to drinking coca cola with every meal, this can be tougher than most people think. That’s why I recommend trying just for a month (at least when you’re eating out). Pop and alcohol is extremely marked up if you’re not buying in bulk. At least for a month try going water only. Depending on how often you order drinks, this can add up to quite a fair amount. And if you can stick with it, try to keep going as long as you can after the month is over.
15. Make gifts yourself
The next time you’re going to a birthday party, or during the Christmas holidays, try making gifts at home instead of buying them. This can save you hundreds of dollars per year (or thousands if you’re a big gifter), and it can feel more personal for the recipient.
16. Gift your time
Another great gift idea is to gift your time and labour instead of an actual physical gift. For instance, if your friend has a baby, offer to babysit. If your parents have a lot of yard work needing to be done, offer to do it for them. These are great gifts that many people appreciate more than actual presents.