So, you want to save some cash? You certainly have my backing! Whether you’re saving for your starter emergency fund of $1,000, padding your fully funded emergency fund of 3-6 months of savings, or simply looking for more room in your monthly expenses these tips offer ways to save money and can definitely help you reach your goal.
I want you to have all kinds of options for saving money, in any season that you’re in. Whether saving money is what you’re after – or you just want to put MORE of your money towards other goals, these tips can help you get there.
As a personal finance coach, cutting expenses is just one way to go about tackling your goals. Increasing your income and managing your money well are the other two ways to help you achieve those dreams. Saving is just one part of the equation, I just needed to make sure I said my peace about that. Slashing your spending alone, is just one small part – and as long as we’re being honest over here…which is a thing that I do – how you behave with money is the key ingredient.
But I digress, you’re here for savings tips and savings tips I have. Pick and choose the ones that resonate with you. Some you’re likely already actively doing – but I’m certain that I have a number of new surprises for you to consider.
Stay tuned for part two and three of this series…I have a total of 65 ways to save up my sleeve.
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The first 25 are outlined for you below with a few anecdotes and some commentary for your reading pleasure.
Ways to Save: Budget Basics
- Cut Cable – More than ever these days we have so many inexpensive ways to get our TV fix on. If you’re paying for cable; you’re likely paying too much! See what streaming services may be able to provide your favorite channels.
- Services – Is there something that you can DIY that you’ve been hiring out? House cleaning or yard services? Depending on where you’re at with your financial journey doing these yourself may make sense, or not. Rule of thumb – if you’re paying off debt, these are DIY items.
- Cell Phone – Did you know that there are ‘generic’ cell phone companies that charge a fraction of the price for the same services? They use the the same cell towers, and even offer the same unlimited data and other features that you’d expect. Client favorites include Republic, XYZ and ABC.
- Gym Memberships – Are you using your membership regularly? If so, high five – I love my gym and will always make sure there’s room for it in the budget. No judgement if you haven’t been a loyal member – but if you aren’t setting foot into the gym more than twice a week, you should consider cancelling. Still want to get your cardio on? Consider a good pair of shoes and hitting the pavement, or finding a great You Tube channel or DVD that gets you the fix you need.
- Insurance – This tip is one of my favorites and one that I recycle every few years. First of all, if you aren’t using an insurance broker you’re missing out. Brokers can shop around through several different companies to get you the most benefit. You can retain your current coverage, or even upgrade and still lower your cost. Once you switch – check in at least annually to see if you should be reviewed for lowered pricing. A phone call really could save you hundreds…just don’t get boxed into one service.
DEEP DIVE: Do you have an agent? That you know? Does the thought of getting another quote or going with another broker feel like you may be cheating?
Stop. Get over it, quickly. You need to take care of your best interests – and they should be understanding of that as professionals. When we broke up with our agent, she understood why we were shopping around and that the cost saving was real for us. Although she handled our initial sign up, she had nothing to do with any ongoing claims that we had – it’s not personal, it’s business.
Ways to Save: Outside of the Box Ideas
6. Ditch your Credit Cards – They exaggerate your present and rob your future. Those points you’re getting….I guarantee you overspend by that amount annually, and likely it is double or triple that amount. Convert to using your debit card instead if you appreciate the convenience of the plastic. For more in-depth information on how to manage your credit cards responsibly check out this post.
7. Pay Cash – Find a few line items in your budget that you can pay cash for. Easy place to start? Groceries, restaurants or entertainment. Take cash out of the bank for the amount that you have intended for that month or two week period. Use it until it’s gone, and then stop spending it. Simple as that, and an easy way to keep yourself in line for that category.
8. Track your Spending – Keep tabs on how much you’re spending, and on what. Look back at credit card and bank statements. Many banks now categorize this for you as a feature on your statement. Take stock on much you’ve spent looking back, then keep tabs for a month moving forward as you go. Enlightening.
9. Price Shop – If you’re in the market for a big ticket item be sure to shop around. Get bids. Look at that item at multiple stores and sites, call 3 contractors and get bids. Don’t go with the first one you see or the first person willing to pay you a visit. Do your research and get yourself some options.
10. Save for Big Purchases – Instead of paying a bank monthly installments plus interest, save up yourself for those big ticket items. Can’t cover it in one swoop? Set aside money each month to fund your large purchase. Want to go on a family vacation next year totaling $5k? $420/month for a year will get you there.
11. Give – Seems a little counterintuitive I know, but giving has great rewards. If you have a faith practice where contributing to your local church through tithe, or you’re giving to your favorite charities and non-profit organizations – giving a part of your income to those in need can help free up space in your budget to recognize what’s most important.
12. Life Insurance – If you are more than just a party of one, then you need life insurance. If anything happened to you, God forbid – you’d want to make sure your family was protected. And not the, go out and buy a Ferrari kind of protected, but think of it this way instead. They’d live off of the interest of that life insurance policy…it would replace your income, or if you’re a stay at home parent – it could help cover the expenses of the 10 dozen tasks you do each week. Get a 10-20 year (depending on your age/kids) term life policy for likely less than $50 per month. Spending money, yes – but saving SO much in the event that the tragedy struck.
13. Emergency Fund – Emergencies happen. Regularly, I’m afraid. Maybe your hot water heater is on the fritz, or that nail from the driveway found its way to not one but two of your tires. You need to have an emergency fund tucked away so that when life happens – you can cover your own emergencies not Visa or Mastercard….who will charge you interest and cause you added stress. A starter emergency fund of $1,000 is where you should begin, but you should plan on a fully funded emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses after you finish paying off any of your debts.
14. Say No – We learned this phrase as kids as part of drug prevention, but you can extend this phrase to your purchases as well. Or, your kids. Or…yourself.
- “No, it’s not the right time.”
- “No, we’re going to need to save up for that.”
- “No, our priority this year is, fill in the blank.”
- “No, I do not need that pair of shoes, I hardly leave the house anymore.”
- “No, you cannot purchase that new movie right now – we have 3 count them, 3 streaming services.”
SIDE NOTE: I need to call out here once again, that behaviors with money are far more important than the money math itself. If you’re intimidated by net worth or budget percentage allocations – have no fear. This is absolutely something that you can learn. The harder task at hand is changing your habits around money. It starts with becoming more aware, letting go of any guilt, and creating better practices when it comes to how you spend and save. This saying no tip is part of that behavior practice. Off soapbox, and moving on.
15. Annual Budget – Starting out with a monthly budget is great, but beginning to look forward toward a 3 or 6 month period, and graduating to an annual budget plan can bring great focus and perspective as you’re working toward your goals. You can make plans for your annual family vacation, pay increases, bonus checks, etc. Visually mapping it out – even though there will be hiccups can help keep you on track to meet your goals.
16. Budget– Perhaps I should have mentioned this earlier, but budgeting is key to saving. Having a plan for your money each month, and beyond as just discussed – will keep your money focused. And by money, I mean you! You will be keeping your money focused and intentional on your goals. Keeping your basic expenses written down and in check, your savings funds established and then throwing any of your leftovers at your goal at hand will help you reach your goals fast!
Need someone to hold your hand through the budgeting process? Here is a quick budgeting series that you may find helpful and includes a chance for the two of us to talk about your budget plus all the fun tools to create your budget.
ON AND ON AND ON: I could talk for days about budgeting and how critical it is. If you need help understanding more budgeting basics, read this post. If you’re curious about just how to start, catch up with me here. If you really aren’t convinced and you want to understand the why better, this is for you.
17. No Spend Week/Month – Perhaps you’ve heard of this trend before. This is the idea of taking one week per month, or one month per year, or both – and not spending a dime. No restaurants, no coffee, no Amazon, no….spending. Are you someone that needs to curb your habits or become more aware? This is a great way to practice that, and save up some cash.
18. Online Shopping – We all do it. The ease and convenience of online shopping is a wonderful thing. Deliver right to your doorstep; magical. We save time with online shopping, and money when you consider the last minute purchases that you just have to have from that special little section just inside Target, or the extra groceries that make it inside your cart.
BONUS: Limit your online shopping to once per month. Yep, you read that right – pick a day of the month, announce it to your family – and then make a list of items that you need, or load up your electronic cart and ‘save’ it for your shopping day. You’ll find that you make do with what you have for that amount of time, and often edit that cart anyway.
19. Unsubscribe – This may sound strange, but unsubscribe from emails that are no longer of interest to you. If you don’t shop from that store monthly, then unsubscribe. It’s taking your mental energy to review and delete emails – save yourself some space and temptation and unsubscribe.
20. Don’t Tempt Yourself – Similarly to the unsubscribe with the amazing deals that you’re walking away from that you didn’t need anyway….stay away from the places that tempt you most. Is it online? In store? Avoid it – have your spouse run that quick errand for you instead, don’t tempt yourself.
SPOTLIGHT: One of my clients had a bad habit of shopping on Amazon at night. She deleted the app, and started searching in Zillow and Redfin instead; with her long term goal of home ownership keeping her focused and excited for the future.
21. Time is Money – This is another of those spend money ironies to save. Stick with me. There are times when it’s very appropriate to spend some money on tasks or items that will save you time. Especially when you could be using your time to….make more money. Your time is worth money too, remember that. Many of us trade time for money and get a paycheck; bear in mind how much your time is worth.
22. Combine your Finances – If you’re married, and don’t already have an ‘ours’ mentality with your family finances this can really be enlightening, and a terrific way to save money when you moosh it altogether and see where the extra is.
COMMENTARY: If this freaks you out a bit, or you don’t dare want to go there – check out this video that I created to help get your spouse on board with money management. It pairs nicely with this blog on Dream Dates.
23. Pay Annually – There are often discounts available, to the tune of 10-20% when you pay in full for big ticket items or memberships.
24. Auto Pay – Setting up your traditional expenses like utilities, mortgage, and insurance on auto pay is a great way to make sure that you pay your bills on time without incurring any accidental overages or late fees.
REVERSE: But also…take a look at what all you have on auto pay. Do you use all of that stuff? Take pause and see if anything that you have on auto pay should be cancelled.
25. Disconnect Card – Is your credit or debit card conveniently connected to your phone, laptop or tablet? Disconnect it. Next time you go to make a ‘quick’ purchase you’ll need to go grab your wallet, and that act of getting off your tush to go get it may have you opting to do it later…or not at all.
Alright, there you have it, a great taste of savings! You can implement one savings per day for nearly a month of ongoing savings.
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Thank you for joining me on my my journey to influence.
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