More than half of all Americans have fewer than $1,000 in their savings accounts. As a country, we’re not saving nearly enough.
You might be in the same boat. You might think saving money is downright impossible. But by making a few key lifestyle changes, saving money can be easy.
What kind of changes are we talking about?
Read on to learn 10 money saving tips that will turn you into a saving machine.
Set a Goal
This might be the most important of our money-saving tips.
If you really want to grow your savings account, you need a savings goal. Saving money is hard; it involves patience and sacrifice. If you don’t have a goal you believe in, you’re much more likely to give up.
Make your goal concrete. Maybe you want to have five-thousand dollars by the end of the year so you can buy a new car, or maybe you just want to build up an emergency fund.
Figure out how much money you need to set aside each day and stick to it. This will be much easier if you use a budgeting tool. A budgeting tool will also help you set an overall budget and keep track of spending.
Cut out the Little Things
Do you enjoy ordering a latte on your way to work in the morning? Or buying a pastry after your lunch break?
We all love these little purchases, but they add up quickly. If you spend just $5 a day on little things like coffee and snacks, you’re spending an extra $1,825 a year.
You might be able to meet your savings goal simply by breaking this small habit. So drink your coffee at home, and skip the pastry altogether.
Eat Your Meals at Home
Don’t stop at coffee, if you really want to save money you should be eating your meals at home as well. Eating at restaurants is 325% more expensive than eating at home. That’s a lot of money your wasting just so you don’t have to cook.
Spend some time working on your cooking skills, and you’ll be making yourself cheap, delicious, healthy meals in no time. And it’s OK to go out every once in a while, but be savvy when you do.
Avoid Name Brand Items
Buy the bargain brand whenever possible. In most cases, there’s no reason you should be spending money on luxury brands. The luxury part is usually just marketing.
For some items, such as drugs, the generic brand and the name brand are exactly the same. For most items, the generic brand and the name brand are very similar. Only rarely is the name brand actually worth it.
Use Less of Everything
That might sound ridiculous, but you’re probably using too much of everything.
A small amount of shampoo will clean your hair, a small amount of dish soap will clean your dishes, and a small amount of toothpaste will clean your teeth. Don’t throw food away. Clean out your car’s air filter so it uses less gas.
Save on Energy
The average American consumer spends 7% of their income on energy. That’s a lot of potential savings.
This is another area where you can save big by making a lot of little decisions. Turn off the lights when you leave a room, unplug your appliances when you’re not using them, and wear warm clothes indoors to save money on heating.
Take Advantage of Rewards Programs
This is one of the money-saving tips that requires a bit of extra work, but the potential savings are huge.
Set up an email account that you’ll only use when you sign up for rewards programs. Then, anytime someone offers you a rewards program, go ahead and join. Over time, you’ll accumulate rewards programs for just about everything.
Whenever you need to buy something, check your rewards email account to see if there any deals you can take advantage of. If there isn’t a deal, be patient; one will come up eventually. If you do it right, you’ll never have to pay full price again.
Do Things for Yourself
Never pay someone to do something you can do for yourself. This is one of the easiest money-saving tips to take advantage of if you have a lot of free time.
Learn how to fix your car or bike rather than taking it to a mechanic. Learn how to repair things around the house. Make gifts for friends and family rather than buying them something new.
All of this takes patience, but you’ll be saving money and building valuable skills that you’ll have for the rest of your life.
Go to Free Events Around Town
It’s important to have fun and engage with your local culture: attend plays, watch movies, go to concerts. But these things can be expensive.
Unless of course, you know where to look. If you want to save money on entertainment, it’s time you started paying attention to your local newspapers. There is usually a section that will tell you about free events happening around your town.
Pay attention and take advantage of them. There’s no reason saving money has to be boring.
Go to the Library
The public library is one of your greatest resources for saving money. It’s basically a building full of free stuff.
Want a new book? Go to the library.
Want a new CD? The library has those too.
You can even check out movies at the library. And it doesn’t end with media content, most libraries will also have free talks and classes as well.
Make Money-Saving Tips a Part of Your Life
Start incorporating these tips into your day to day life. Go easy on yourself at first, but over time, you’ll get used to living a more frugal and minimalist lifestyle. You might even find that you prefer it.
And the benefits won’t stop there. Once you’ve saved up some money, you’ll be able to start investing and turn those savings into even more money.
So start saving today. Check out our blog on managing your finances. And enjoy your journey to financial freedom!