Saving feels hard. Sometimes it feels impossible. But it’s easier than you think. If you want to reach financial freedom or achieve a personal goal, practice these money saving hacks to get it done.
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Impulse purchases can be a significant drag on your finances. Unless you need the item, delay the purchase.
“Every time you fancy buying something “special” (impulse buying), by principal, postpone it for a week. If you forget, you really didn’t need it,” says one person. Another adds, “I do that with Amazon. I just add it to my cart and wait. 99% of the time when I go back to look at my cart later I’m like what was I thinking? I don’t really need this.”
If you can live without an item, forego the purchase for a week, month, or some other interval. After that time, if you don’t need it, you keep that cash in your budget.
Make Your Own Food
Eating out costs a lot of money, especially in an era of rising prices. There’s an easy way to save.
“Making your own food. It’s creative and can save tons of money. Especially when it comes to eating out,” explains one person. Another commenter adds “… and then take leftovers to work and skip going out to lunch as well.”
It may not be as fun as eating out, but it can save big bucks.
Use the Right Credit Card
Gurus like Dave Ramsey hate credit cards. However, they can be a valuable tool to manage your finances.
“Invest in a credit card with cash back rewards that you put into savings only if you can pay the balance off each month. I use one for groceries, gas exclusively and make about $400 annually just for using the card,” says one person.
Better yet, use a rewards credit card to earn points for free travel. Just make sure pay the card off in full every month.
Shop on the Right Days
Going to the grocery store on Wednesdays is an easy way to increase savings. Many stores have new sales starting on Wednesdays, so you get to take advantage of special offers and sales – before they run out of stock.
Shopping for cars, and other items, follow a similar pattern of offering better deals on certain days. Add this mentality to your shopping experience to help stretch your budget.
Buy With Cash
Credit cards are fantastic, but not if they cause you to overspend. If that’s you, opt for cash.
“Taking out some cash when you get paid. Use it for a small purchase and then put the leftover change in a jar. Believe it or not, it can add up quickly and can be a secondary savings,” says one person.
Another adds “Plus having cash to pay helps limit how much you can actually spend. You can actually see how much you are spending.”
Spending is emotional. If cash helps you keep it in check, go with it.
Automate Your Savings
Automation is championed by many personal finance experts. For good reason, it does the work for you and is easy.
“Auto deposit money into a savings account. Either a percentage or flat $ amount. Amazing how fast it adds up,” notes one person.
Most online banks let you automate savings. Choose one that pays a competitive interest rate and let it work for you.
Don’t Go Shopping When You Are Hungry
This one gets me all the time. You are much more likely to buy things you can’t afford or aren’t good for you if you shop when you’re hungry. One person said simply, “Never go shopping when you’re hungry.”
Use Browser Extensions to Save Money Online
Nothing is worse than hunting for a coupon code only to find that it is not active. Browser extensions do the work for you.
“Use browser extensions like Honey, Cently, and RetailMeNot, especially if you have Google Chrome. They have probably saved me well over $1,000 in the four or five years I’ve had them,” says one person.
Most are free to use, and some even let you earn free gift cards.
Save $5 Bills
Don’t want to deal with change? Up your saving to keep back every $5 you get.
“Save every $5 bill you get,” notes one commenter.
It puts more effort behind your savings and it adds up quicker.
Cut Your Own Hair
I’m a big proponent of cutting your own hair. I’ve not visited a barber in over 20 years. My wife cuts my hair, and it’s relatively easy.
“If you can bear it, cut your own hair or have someone you live with do it for you. All you really need is a hand mirror and a pair of clippers off of Amazon. I think of it like this: will I ever cut my hair as well as an amazingly skilled barber? No. But…if I’m going to get an ok haircut, I might as well do it myself. As long as you don’t cut off all your hair, you can always do it again tomorrow if it needs fixing,” says one person.
Buy an affordable pair of clippers and scissors on Amazon and you’ll pay it off within several cuts.
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This thread inspired this post.
I’m John Schmoll, a former stockbroker, MBA-grad, published finance writer, and founder of Frugal Rules.
As a veteran of the financial services industry, I’ve worked as a mutual fund administrator, banker, and stockbroker and was Series 7 and 63-licensed, but I left all that behind in 2012 to help people learn how to manage their money.
My goal is to help you gain the knowledge you need to become financially independent with personally-tested financial tools and money-saving solutions.