How to Save Money – Practical Tips

Many people are under the assumption that putting money into the bank or into a little box under their mattress isn’t an investment. They’re wrong. Investing doesn’t just have to be about putting money into some type of stock market or investment fund to get a return on the money. Even the small amount of interest in a personal bank account could be considered a return on your investment. Putting money aside is just the same as putting money into the markets. You’re still putting money into a different location to be accessed at a later date. Even if you are an active investor, saving money should still be part of your monthly investment expenses as it’s just as important as actively putting money into the stock market. But how do you save money effectively? Below you’ll find tips and tricks to find money to put aside each month.

There is no real secret to saving money every month. There are many different ways to find the money in your budget to save, but the most important aspect to everyone’s saving plan should be the same. Saving money every month should be considered an expense, not an option. Just like your phone bill and electric bill that you have to pay on the first of every month, saving money should be no different. In fact, it should be one of the first things you pay every month. Instead of going through the entire month blowing off a few dollars here and there on coffee and a new shirt, put the money away as soon as you can and forget that it even exists. Many people make the mistake in thinking that if they have any money left over every month, that’s the money they save. Wrong. Saving money is an expense and should be treated as such. Thinking of your savings investment as an optional thing will result in you having a lot less money come time for retirement or whenever you need the large sum of cash stashed away.

“Alright, I’ve made the commitment to save a certain amount every month. How do I make that happen?” Saying and doing are obviously two very different things and it takes a certain level of commitment to trim your

Frivolous Spending

Budget in such a way that you’ll have savings left to put away each month. The first suggestion that should be given to anybody looking to save money is to dedicate a long afternoon, or maybe even a long weekend, to sitting down and seriously analyzing your budget. People have a lot of “fat” in their monthly expenses that can be eliminated right away, and some people just need to figure out how to spend smarter. The fat in your budget is your Starbucks bill, or your “let’s go out to lunch twice a week” bill. By cutting back on these things you’ll find huge sums of money left over each month.

If extraneous expenses like coffee or McDonalds are what are holding you back, you’re in good shape. I like to use a rule of halves. Next month analyze how much you spend each month on each “extra” thing that’s in your lifestyle and cut that cost in half. Say you currently spend $100 a month on lunch every month with your co-workers. If you cut that monthly budget in half, say down to $50 or $60 and cut down on the number of times you go out by half, you’ll see huge savings at the end of every month that you can allocate into your savings expense.

If your saving problems are much greater than spending on extra things and you’ve already cut down significantly on your extras to the point where you still don’t have any money to save each month, here are a few things you can try to find extra pennies in the budget each month. Remember, saving is a must and not an optional expense. Thinking of it just like your mortgage or phone bill is a good way to visualize your savings account. If it doesn’t get paid, there are consequences.

More Serious Help

If all of the above things don’t help you cut down on your monthly spending, it may be time to consider a few more drastic measures. Some people really struggle to save and that’s not OK. It takes a strong will and even more savvy to find money to save each month to put away for retirement. So if you’re in a deep financial hole and can’t get out of it, here are some even more serious things you can try to get extra cash each month.

As said, for those in more serious financial trouble, consider a few of these tips. Many of us have ceiling fans in our homes that never get put to good use. If you live in a hot part of the world, consider increasing your air conditioning temperature up one degree, say to 78 Fahrenheit instead of 77, and in the winter months, drop it down one degree cooler than normal. To compensate in the summer, turn on your ceiling fans as they use far less energy to cool a house than an air conditioning unit. In the winter, wear an extra layer of clothing. This extra degree on your thermostat can mean big savings in the long term. That extra $20 a month in the summer is a good start towards a savings plan.

In addition to the air conditioning tip, another big money saver is groceries. Most of us ignore the 2 for 1 sales at grocery stores when we shouldn’t By taking advantage of weekend sales and special deals with coupons (you can find them online for your favorite grocery store in less than a minute or two) you stand to save hundreds of dollars a year.

Eliminate Your Credit Cards: Credit cards sitting in your purse or wallet are just asking to be spent. If at all possible, get rid of them ASAP. Credit card companies know that the majority of their customers are unable to pay their bills back on time and are in some type of financial hurt. If you can find a way to get rid of any and all credit cards you have, you’ll be all the better. By not being able to spend money you don’t have, you won’t be facing into another bill at the end of every month and those nice shoes you saw at the mall or that cool TV you saw on your way home from work will just have to wait until Christmas time when you can afford it.

What’s the problem with credit cards? It shouldn’t be rocket science how credit cards work, but for those unfamiliar with the tricks credit card companies employ, here we go. If you buy something with your credit card you will receive a bill at the end of the month with how much you owe your credit card company. You can either pay the bill in full or pay a partial payment on the card to knock some amount off of the balance. The problem lies in the latter situation. By paying off the minimum balance every month, you’re probably paying your credit card company something on the scale or 25-50% interest. This interest on your monthly payments means that by the time you actually pay off your credit card debts, you’ve shelled out almost two or three times as much as the actual cost of the item. Recent laws have been passed that prevent credit card companies from overcharging or hiding these sky high interest rates on their bills. Because many people are unaware of what the 23.9% APR means on their bill, government agencies have forced companies to calculate how much a consumer will pay in the long run if they choose to just do minimum payments.

Think Wisely: It may not seem like much of a tip, but convincing yourself that you have the willpower to save monthly is a big part of actually doing it. If you can mentally condition yourself into thinking that you’re capable of being a power-save, which you are, you will find that every time you’re about to buy a bar of chocolate or coke at the petrol station you will have the ability to just say no. Thinking like someone that saves is more important than you think.

 

Shop All At Once: We already mentioned a tip for the grocery store, but if the coupons just aren’t cutting it, try this tip. The average consumer makes 3 trips to the grocery store every month. Most families have one “big shopping” trip they make in the middle of each month and on the tail ends of that, they make 2 additional trips to pick up things like milk and perishable products. If you plan it just right, you can get away with one grocery trip a month. This one grocery trip will enable you to not only buy in bulk, but also save on gas. Most of us don’t like near a grocery store, so that 30 minute drive time is not only a waste of fuel, but also a waste of time.

Compute Less: It may be surprising to find out that almost 75% of people in the United States own a computer in their household. In the top income brackets of the country, people can have up to 3 or 4 computers in one home. If your electric bill is high every month, try moving one desktop or laptop computer to the central room of the house. This will encourage people to not use separate computers but instead use the one computer that’s shared between everybody.

Share a Car: The average US household has 2 cars. If at all possible, try sharing a car. Two cars are just unnecessary and most of us only drive for about an hour every day. Try and figure out times that are convenient for both parties and save yourself some gas money. Insurance and gas can cost thousands every year, and that’s a huge chunk of change that could be put into your savings.

Remember, your financial future is at stake and if you don’t take serious action now, you’ll hurt down the line. It’s never too early to start saving and if you don’t have a lot of cash to put in your savings, there’s nothing wrong with starting with $20 each month until you get back on your feet.

Fifty Free Dollars

We have all heard of payment processors that are out on the internet:

  • Paypal
  • 2checkout
  • Authorize.net
  • etc.

If you’re not familiar with payment processors such as the ones listed above, it’s like having a online bank account that allows you to withdraw funds from your account to purchase items on the internet.
If you have say $500 in your paypal account and you to go a online store that accepts paypal, you can purchase items using your paypal.

Well…there’s a new payment processor that is in the beta works right now and is expected to release to the public next year (2011)
paybox (the new payment processor) will work the same way as other payment processors such as listed above.
If you have funds in your account you can purchase items.
Now i’m sure it wont come out in to all major merchants at first but i’m sure it will progress very quickly.

The beauty of this right now while it’s in beta is you can sign up and paybox will depost $50 in to your account right away.
You will be able to use this when it opens up to the public.
Another beauty of this:

  • Paybox will add $20 to your account everyday for participating before the public launch.
  • Paybox will pay you $5 for everyone you refer to participate the same way you do.

This opportunity is available to users who sign up and participate before they launch to the public.
Once they launch, the opportunity will no longer be there.

Here’s a screenshot of what i made in $15 minutes of signing up and hopefully this will give you a general idea.

Paybox
My Paybox

I am not releasing this post as a way to promote and gain referrals but i am making this post cause i think it’s a great opportunity to jump in to while it’s here.
If you wouldn’t mind me posting my referral link here it would sure help, if not that’s ok under the View Details button will be a link that will take you directly to the site (not being referred)

Go a head, try it out and see what you think.
Come back and leave a comment with your opinion, i would love to hear them.

paybox details

Direct link to paybox

Money Saving Tips 96-100

Do your banking online. This way you can keep a close eye on your money. Most times when banks send you your statements they aren’t update which can cause confusion on what you have paid or haven’t paid. It also saves you money because you don’t have to make out checks or buy stamps.

Connect your entertainment/computer setup to a true smart power strip. This device cuts power to all your devices depending on the first item on the strip. So if your computer is plugged in and you aren’t using it then your scanner and printer will also shut down. This can save you a lot of electricity.

Don’t beat yourself up if you make a mistake. We are only human and sometimes we will make mistakes  it’s easy to beat ourselves up or get angry but don’t. Instead look at what you did wrong and what you can do to prevent it from happening again in the future.

Look ahead. Don’t let things that you have done in the past control you. The choices you make now wont effect the past but they can change the future which means you can control if things get better or worse.

Never Give up. Whenever you are struggling and it feels like there’s never enough money remember you aren’t alone there are lots of people who are suffering just like you if not worse. Read through articles about finance and money and try to learn some new ways on how to handle your money.

Money Saving Tips 91-95

Eat less meat. Meat can be very expensive especially when you compare it to the costs of fruits and vegetables. Change your meals so they include more fruits and veggies and put less emphasis on the meat.

Air seal your home. Homes that have air leaks can cost you lots of money. Be sure to check all your doors and windows before the cold hits and fix any problem areas.

Have surge protection. There’s no doubt that you use your electronics a lot. They are also probably some of the most expensive products you own. Power surges can easily damage your equipment so spend the money for the basic surge protect so you don’t end up paying thousands of dollars to replace your electronics.

Cut down on the amount you spend during your vacations. Instead of taking extravagant trips pack up the car and family  and see some of the nearby sights. Camp out a couple of nights for extra adventure.

Exercise more. Go for a walk and stretch your muscles or any other exercise that is affordable. Not only will you have more money you will also improve your health.

Money Saving Tips 86-90

Don’t overspend on hygiene products. For most people inexpensive hygiene products do the trick. Buy whatever toothpaste is the cheapest or whatever soap is on sale. Also shower regularly to keep yourself clean.

Strategically use coupons. Check expiration dates collect the coupons for as long as you can . As a bonus use the coupons in comparison to the store flyer that week to see how you can get bigger discounts on things already on sale.

Make your own beer or wine. If you enjoy drinking occasionally this is a great way to enjoy it at a cheap price. It’s also a great activity to do with friends you can buy the equipment and get them to buy the juice.

Set up an automatic debt repayment plan for school loans. You can get a rate reduction if you sign up for a debt repayment plan. This is a great way to save some money well bring down your debt.

Cancel cable or satellite channels you don’t use. Many people are paying for premium packages yet they only watch half of their channels. Get rid of the channels you don’t need to start saving some money.

Money Saving Tips 81-85

Find daily inspiration. Maybe its your kids or your wife that makes you want to be a better person and live a better life. Keep a picture of them close by to remind you of the reason you need change and want change.

Make your own items instead of buying them. Instead of buying household cleaners look on the internet for recipes to make your own. Not only are there a bunch of recipes many are natural so you don’t have to worry about your children or the environment.

Don’t speed. Not only does speeding affect your gas mileage it can cost you in tickets. Do yourself a favour and go the speed limit.

Buy a smaller house. Have your kids moved out? or do you live by yourself? If you find yourself with more space then you have anything to do with consider downsizing or at least rent out the extra space to make money.

Ask for fees to be waivered. Anytime you sign up for a service there are normally sign-up fees ask them if they can be waived. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t but it doesn’t hurt to try.

Money Saving Tips 76-80

Use simple razors to shave. Instead of spending money on the expensive blades  or electric shavers that stop working in a few years buy the cheaper razors. Especially if you don’t shave that often.

Find out about your job benefits. It may seem crazy but many people don’t even know the benefits to their jobs. Spend time with an HR person. You may find out about entertainment perks or retirement funds or savings accounts.

Encourage your friends to do more affordable activities. Instead of going to an expensive restaurant or movie try to get them interested in a game of ball at your local park.

Read more. Reading is good for the mind and it’s cheap. You can get all the books you want at the library then get cozy and read them without spending a dime.

Take a different route home. This is especially important if there are temptations near by. Maybe it’s a fast food joint or a store where you spend money you don’t need too. Instead take a different route home so you can avoid the temptation.

Money Saving Tips 71-75

Start carpooling. Is there anyone who lives by you who works at the same company or near your company? If so consider carpooling. By alternating drivers you can cut the wear and tear and gas costs for both drivers.

Buy a crock pot. There isn’t an invention I like more than the crock pot. You can prep your meals in the morning and then simmer them all day until you get home. Then you can come home to a warm meal and cut down on take out costs.

Pack foods for your road trip. Instead of stopping halfway through your trip looking for a place to eat and then wasting a bunch of time there pack food for your trip. This way you can eat on the road or stop at a nice picnic spot.

Consolidate student loans. Depending on where you live interest rates could vary. But if the rates are fairly low consider consolidating your loans into one low rate package. This can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Hit the library. For a very low fee you can get instant access to tons of books, music, and even the internet. Some libraries even have special story telling for kids or movie nights.

Money Saving Tips 66-70

Cut your own hair. With a good pair of clippers you can cut your own hair. Or if you find that to hard you can go to a hair school. They are supervised by actual hair dresses and it costs much less then a regular salon.

Take another look at your debt. Everyone needs to make a plan to help get themselves out of debt. What you need to do is write down what debts you have and how much. Then you need to decide what order you are going to pay things off in.

Do Basic home and auto maintenance on a regular schedule. Instead of waiting for things to break down make a schedule of things that you can do some work on. By taking an hour or two out a month you can keep things from breaking down and spot problems before they get worse.

Look at your cell phone bill and get rid of services you don’t need or use. Maybe you pay for 500 text messages but only need 100 or maybe you don’t need web access. Call your cell phone company and ask them to eliminate those services to start saving some money.

Money Saving Tips 61-65

If something is broken try to fix it yourself first. Look on the internet or at the library for manuals on how you can try to repair it. If you give it a good attempt you may be able to fix it yourself and save on the costs of hiring a repairman or the cost of replacing the item.

Invest in a deep freezer. After the initial investment a deep freezer is a great bargain. You can buy foods in bulk and pay less at the stores per pound. You can also prepare numerous foods in advance allowing you to prepare some easily.

Check out your city’s parks and recreational bulletin boards. Many parks offer free or affordable events. From picnics, nature hikes or even sporting events. It’s a good way to save money and meet people.

Start your own garden. Gardening is inexpensive. There may be first time costs but after you can save hundreds of dollars. You can grow your own vegetables to pick and eat when you are ready. When the end of the season comes you can pickle and can your vegetables for later use.

Take public transportation. If you live near a transit route or train route take it. This way you don’t need to worry about the costs of parking and you can save money.