“Spend smart, save smart”. We’ve all heard it before: don’t spend more than you need to, and save every penny you can. Fortunately, today’s technologically savvy world gives us plenty of tools to help us save our money for the future. And, most of that conventional wisdom your grandparents passed down to you still applies, too!
Here is a list of creative ways you can make your money-saving systems more efficient. The great news is, you can do almost all of them right away!
1. Make it automatic.
Almost every bank will let you set up a system that automatically deposits a bit of money into your savings account whenever you pay for something with your debit card. And, that amount can be as low as 50 cents – making it possible for everyone to save money without having to think about it. With automatic savings, you’re guaranteed to save money because you’re paying yourself first.
2. Ask for lower interest.
Call your credit card company and tell them you want a lower interest rate. Chances are, they’ll say yes. Of course, it’s better if you’re not carrying a balance at all – but just in case, it’s nice to have to pay a little less interest, right?
3. Use cash.
Allocate a specific amount each week for food, clothing and gifts, entertainment, transportation, pets, etc and take that amount out of your bank in cash. You choose the categories that work for you. Write down every single item you purchase. As the cash depletes, you can bet you’ll find reasons not to spend it. You want to have some left at the end of the week!
4. Put things on timers.
Your thermostat, your lights, your TV – you can control it all with the touch of a button. There are plenty of cheap products designed to let you program when things switch on – and when they switch off. By setting electronics to turn off by themselves, you’re saving money on electricity.
5. Close your curtains.
Don’t have curtains? Even sheets will do. Curtains keep the sun (and heat) out when it’s really hot, so you don’t need to use your air conditioning as much. And they keep the cold out too, so you don’t have to use your heat as much. Down, down, down go your utilities bill.
6. Switch to more energy efficient bulbs.
The latest lighting technology might cost more up front, but the long-run savings far outweigh your initial investment. Go get some LED bulbs.
7. Have a clothing swap.
Want new clothes? Your friends probably have stuff you envy, and they never even wear it. Invite them over and have them bring at least 10 items they’re willing to swap. Everyone leaves with new outfits, and no one spends a penny.
8. Use daily deals sites.
Get stuff you like at crazy discounts with Groupon and similar sites. You can save a lot of money on Christmas gifts and for other events when you buy these deals. Just make sure you’re getting coupons you’ll actually use, and don’t let them expire – then you’ve just thrown money down the drain.
9. Ditch the gym membership.
Not using that fancy gym membership? Cancel it, put your sneakers on and take a brisk walk. You get your exercise, you save money, and the fresh air will increase your focus and productivity.
10. Sell your stuff.
That cupboard above your fridge. The (way, way) back of your closet. Under your bed. You haven’t been there in years, but those cubbyholes are full of stuff. Do you even know what’s there? If not, you probably don’t need it. Sell it and put the money in a savings account. You’ll be surprised how much junk you can convert into cash!
There are lots of other ways to save a buck, but a lot of them are DIY hacks that take a bit more time, making them less efficient. If you’re looking for ways to make saving more money a low-effort affair, the ten money-saving tips above are a win.
Once you have all of these in place, you get to decide what to do with all the money you’re saving. Start a business? Go back to school? Book a much-needed vacation? The options are endless.
Featured photo credit: 10 Creative Ways To Save Money Efficiently In The 21st Century via morguefile.com