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10 Creative Ways To Save Money Efficiently In The 21st Century

10 Creative Ways To Save Money Efficiently In The 21st Century

“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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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Last Updated on June 26, 2020

25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

“How to save money fast?” This is the question asked by all of us not in the top 1% of rich people.

If you are looking for ways to drastically reduce your expenses immediately, first look at what you need to spend money on every week. And I mean really need.

You don’t really need to order in food. You don’t really need to buy expensive perfume.

Building from that, you can work out how your regular expenses can be reduced.

As for irregular expenses, they can also be deceptively costly in the long run. Once-off buys can also be tackled with some prudent planning and a little extra research.

And remember: a budgeted lifestyle does not mean a bad or boring one!

But first, understand what budget you can cut down on daily:

  • Regular expenses for the average adult (can be trimmed but not eliminated):
    • food
    • rent/mortgage
    • cell phone
    • insurance
    • socializing/entertainment
    • transportation
    • hygiene products
    • household bills
  • Irregular expenses for the average adult (can be eliminated or cut down a lot):
    • travel
    • clothing
    • medication (*depends)
    • grooming (hair, nails etc.)
    • gifts

Now, let’s dive right into the 25 ways to save money fast:

Save Money on Food

1. Bring a stock of food to the office/work

Instead of popping out for an overpriced salad and a smoothie, leave a set of basic utensils at the office as well as a stock of non-perishable goods such as tinned fruit, tuna, rice crackers and so on (try to avoid the junk food and this can turn into a pretty great diet!).

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Stocking up means you won’t forget or say “I didn’t have the time” when you rushed out to work in the morning.

2. Buy the store-brand version

Many basic foods, such as bread and milk, will taste exactly the same as their branded alternatives. Go for stuff with minimal additives and preservatives. Meat in a tube is probably insanely unhealthy!

3. Eat cheaper cuts of meat

Learn how to tenderize and flavour cheaper meat and fish, and save on the (typically) most expensive item on your grocery bill.

4. Have group dinners

If 10 friends put $5 each in the kitty, it’s pretty easy to make a giant lasagne and get refreshments, as well as hang out with your favourite people.

Save Money in Transport

5. Get a bicycle

Save on gas money and bus/metro fares with this underrated mode of transport.

6. Use public transport and/or don’t get taxis

Some places can only be reached by car. But as a good practise, check your public transport website and see if any routes pass nearby where you need to get to. Walk as much as you can.

7. Find the cheapest gas

Regularly check out where the cheapest gas can be bought.

Save Money in General Shopping

8. Shop online

Not only will you save on the gas or transport fares from going to the shopping mall but you will also find better deals

9. Sell your old stuff

Get your unwanted belongings up on eBay ASAP and earn a few dollars.

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Here’re more ideas for you: 25 Things to Sell to Make a Lot of Money

10. Bulk buying stores

For regular non-perishable/slow perishable purchases such as toilet paper, cat food, pasta, washing powder and so on, do an epic stocking-up trip to a co-op or equivalent (my mum used to go to a place that restaurants buy from).

Be wary of supermarket “deals”, as some have been found to be fraudulent after working out a simple calculation.

11. Become a flea market/car boot sale/street market guru

You can find original gifts and develop good negotiation skills at these places.

12. Generic brand medication

More often than not, the generic version of paracetamol and other basics work the same as the branded version.

13. Choose deodorant, not perfume

It blows my mind when someone drops $70 on a bottle of spray. Stick with a nice deodorant, and not only will you smell just fine but you’ll be sweat-free as well!

Cut Down on Household Expenses

14. Printing

Ink is one of the most expensive substances in the office and coloured ink is doubly so. B

e more efficient and choose black and white, and if your printer doesn’t have a print-both-sides options, just print odd pages first, re-insert the paper and print even pages.

Expand the margins of what you are printing as often as you can to save on paper.

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15. Minimize SMS and phone calls

A combination of a free chat service such as WhatsApp and a free call service such as Skype can reduce your bill to nothing (so long as you have a decent Wifi connection).

16. Shop around for insurance

Most people don’t spend enough time searching for the best insurance deal.

Keep a watchful eye out for deals and new competitors in the market.

17. Try re-negotiating your rent/mortgage

If you have built up a good credit history or a good rapport with your landlord, then chances are a frank chat about needing to tighten your spending could result in lowering your payments. You’ve nothing to lose from trying.

18. Don’t get a TV

Invest in a computer/laptop and an internet-only package. You can watch more (and often better) entertainment on the web, and skip the advertisements as well.

19. Pool your internet bill with a neighbour

My apartment building is basically a big old house split into three apartments. There are five of us in total. We pool the internet bill, making it crazy cheap.

Save Money in Socializing, Entertainment And Travel

20. Have house parties

Instead of paying for overpriced drinks, set up a series of in-house get-togethers with your friends. Everyone takes a turn, so it’s not always your house that needs cleaning.

For sound insulation, hang heavy drapes on the walls and windows. For music, invest in a good second-hand set of speakers which you can connect to your computer. Let Spotify or Grooveshark playlists do the rest.

21. Open festivals, meetups and events

It never fails to surprise me how much underground stuff goes on around me for free or for very cheap. Find out who runs the blogs and websites that list all the less well-known cultural activities.

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22. Volunteer

If you can’t pay for a ticket, volunteer and get to be there anyway.

23. Housesit

There are multiple housesitting websites offering you the possibility to avoid paying hotels and skip the discomfort of crummy hostels.

Save Money on Hygiene and Beauty

24. DIY beauty

French manicures, pedicures, waxing, eyebrows… pretty much all of these can be achieved at home (and done well) with some practise. There are plenty excellent blogs and YouTube tutorials to help.

25. Fewer haircuts/volunteer at a trainee hairdresser

If you can’t bear the risk of a trainee touching your locks, learn more ways to manipulate your hair as it grows and get haircuts sparingly. Women’s haircuts are outrageously priced in many cities.

Bonus: Effective Money-Saving Tips for Everything

Here’s a summary of what you can generally do to save more money:

  • Share/pool resources. Organize a neighbourhood sharing scheme, common resources for your apartment block or with your friends. Not everybody needs an individual lawnmower.
  • Buy energy-saving everything. The easiest way to lower your bills – replace those lightbulbs!
  • Buy in bulk. Be sensible about it (i.e. make sure you have space!), and drastically reduce weekly expenditure.
  • DIY. Skill up using YouTube tutorials on plumbing and many other essential services so you never have to pay for simple problems again.
  • Research a lot before making a decision. Most money-wasting is the result of poor preparation and planning. Don’t shirk this part just because you don’t like it!
  • Use your network. Your network is full of resources that can ease the pain of budgeting. Ask for help.
  • Stop and think. Do I really need it?

Unfortunately, there are some things that require plain ol’ giving up for the time being. This can include high-cost sports such as skiing, the latest versions of some technologies, the finest brands of food/drinks, premier seats at the opera and most other indulgences.

What is important to remember during lean times is that when you look back on your life, it will be the experiences that stand out, not the extra comforts.

Living on a budget can teach you a lot about how much you can really get out of your paycheck. We only live one life, so make the most of every penny you earn!

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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