We all know it’s important to save money, but it’s easy to get in our own way. That can take the situation from bad to worse. In a recent conversation online, commenters shared things it’s easy to overlook for reducing spending. Here are 12 of their most common responses.
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Fixing Something Before Replacing it
A true frugal person loves to fix something before they replace it. After all, taking a few minutes to peruse YouTube can help you identify a way to save money.
My wife and I did this recently to fix something in our home. In previous years we would’ve called the repair guy. Instead, we saved ourselves several hundred dollars.
Looking at the Bottom Shelf in the Grocery Store
Saving money at the grocery store is more important than ever. Rising costs can easily take a bite out of your budget.
One commenter shares a simple tip to keep costs in check, saying, “When in the supermarket, look at the bottom shelf first. That’s where the deals are.”
Stores market to you at eye level. If you simply look down at the bottom shelf you can often find similar items for a fraction of the cost.
Credit Card Hacking
Travel hacking can be a fantastic way to stretch your vacation budget. My wife and I use rewards credit cards to earn points for travel, and have for years.
One person agrees, saying, “Find the ones that work well for you personally, & exploit them. Whether that’s flights, hotels, gas, groceries, restaurants, store-specific, cash back, having 1 card, having 10, whatever.”
Traveling for pennies on the dollar is addicting, and it has taken us to places we wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise. Just make sure to pay off your cards in full each month.
Saving For Retirement
What does saving for retirement have to do with cutting costs? A lot, in fact, especially when you put money into your 401(k).
Not only does it put money aside for retirement, but it also reduces your taxable income. Furthermore, if you receive a company match that’s free money.
Quality is More Important Than Price
Frugal people like to look at price, but not everyone realizes that the cheapest item is that way for a reason. Go for quality, and you will save money in the long run.
One person adds, “Buying good quality either new or used will save you. The old adage of ‘buy once cry once’ holds true even in today’s time. You save a ton on great quality from buying used at thrift stores, used appliance repair and sales, or even estate sales (the elderly have learned the value of buying quality items).”
Used or new, quality often wins out.
Waiting Often Pays Off
The 30-day rule is a great way to save money, but emotion can get the best of us. You’ll be surprised at how resisting can save you cash.
“More often than not, the thing you want (or something similar), will go on sale. So it’s better to wait.
Similarly, if you have an urge or impulse to purchase something, wait. Put it in your cart but don’t check out. Go back to it a day or two later. If you still want it, you can buy it. If not, then forget about it,” adds one commenter.
Waiting for the win!
Cut the Cord on Cable
Cable and satellite TV is a dying industry. However, many people still cling to their monthly bill convinced it’s the only way to watch their favorite shows or live sports.
“I don’t watch a lot of TV. So, I’ve switched from paid streaming services to free streaming apps and my antenna. I’ve also lowered my internet speed to the lowest available through my phone company. I’ve saved myself over $100 a month,” adds one person.
It’s not that difficult to cut the cord on cable TV. The savings are well worth it.
Shopping at the Goodwill
We have a family member that hates buying used, and it costs them money. Don’t be like them, there’s a lot of savings to be had, without sacrificing quality.
“Look for something at a thrift store before buying from store as often as possible. I’ve been frugal in most of the other ways. And if I’m at a thrift store I’ll look for items I need to avoid paying full price. But I started calling the thrift stores nearby to ask if they have any item, and they’ll call me in the next few days if they do. I follow up to go get it. I’ve saved a great deal by adopting this habit. I have helped many of my friends and family save as well,” argues one commenter.
I could not agree more.
Using the Library
The library is a gem. You can find books, movies, music, and so much more through the local library.
Best of all, it’s all free of charge. If it has been awhile since you last visited your local branch, go in for a visit. That’s right, it’s all free to use.
Tracking Your Spending
You can’t make any financial plans if you don’t know where your money is going. Tracking what you spend is the best way to avoid this.
“Don’t worry as much about the little stuff, focus on the big ones – housing and cars. I see so many people try to scrimp every day, but then go out and buy more car and house then they can afford. Sigh… That will kill you more than your daily Starbucks,” notes one commenter.
Another adds, “The road to poverty is paved in car payments. I don’t know who said it but it’s so true.”
There’s nothing wrong with spending money, but you need to know it’s available first.
Cooking Meals at Home
Grabbing lunch or dinner out is convenient, but it comes at a steep cost. Inflation has hit restaurant meals hard.
Worse yet, the average American family spends over $300 a month dining out. Just imagine what cutting only one meal out a month will do for your budget. That’s not to mention the health benefits.
Don’t Buy the Latest Generation of Devices
Having the latest iPhone may make you the envy of your friends. That comes at a steep cost. When it’s time to replace your phone or device, look at what you might save by not upgrading to the most recent generation.
It’s likely you’ll save several hundred dollars. That’s money that will serve you better in other areas of your budget.
35 Proven Ways to Save Money Every Month
Many people believe it’s impossible to save money. Or, they think saving $20 or $50 a month won’t amount to much. Both are incorrect. There are many simple money-saving tips that can add up to big savings. You just have to start one, then another, to increase your savings.
How to Make Money Without a Job
In between jobs and need a way to supplement your income? There are plenty of ways to earn cash to tie you over.
How to Start Investing With $500 or Less
You don’t need a lot of money to start investing. It’s possible to start with several hundred dollars, or less. Take advantage of time and start growing your money as soon as possible.
How to Get Free Gas at the Pump
Yes, it is possible to get free fuel at the pump. Here are nine legit ways to get free gas, or greatly reduce your overall cost.
15 Best Coupon Apps to Save Money
Saving money at the store is as simple as using your phone. Better yet, you can redeem savings for free PayPal money or gift cards. That’s a win-win.
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.