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15 Fun Ways To Save Money (Instead Of Using Piggy Banks)

15 Fun Ways To Save Money (Instead Of Using Piggy Banks)

Saving money is just one of those necessary evils, but it doesn’t have to be a mundane task. Put the change counter and the piggy bank in the back of the closet, and use these 15 fun ways to help save money:

1. Take Out Cash

Rather than relying on your debit card for transactions, take out cash at the beginning of the week. Decide on a specific amount you are willing to spend per week, take it out in cash and leave your account alone. This will keep you from spending too much, which is easy to do with a debit card. It will also help you make sound decisions on what to spend your money on. With limited weekly funds, eating out four times won’t seem so appealing anymore.

2. Save Your 5’s

Once you’ve taken out cash, decide on a denomination to save. Let’s work with 5’s. Here’s an example: You go to the movies and pay with a twenty. The cashier hands you back a 5 and 5 ones. Take the 5-dollar-bill and stash it away. If you do this every time you spend money, you’ll have a nice little stash in no time.

3. Nix the Cable

With services like Hulu, Netflix, and Apple TV, cable isn’t a necessity anymore. With Apple TV, you pay for the device and have access to most major networks. Hulu and Netflix require a monthly fee, but even if you paid for both, the cost won’t add up to a monthly charge for cable.

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4. Grow Some Veggies

Even city-dwellers can start a vegetable garden. Make a list of the staple vegetables you keep around the kitchen, and then do some research on growing your own. This will save a little change at the grocery store, and it might even become a therapeutic activity for you.

5. Swap Clothes

Do you have a friend or family member that wears the same size as you? Consider doing a clothing swap rather than buying a new outfit for a party or event. Chances are, you’ll only wear that outfit once or twice, so borrowing will save you money and room in your closet. Need a fancy outfit for a dinner or convention? Consider renting it.

6. Make Your Own Household Cleaning Supplies

Not only is making cleaning supplies cost-effective, but it’s also eco-friendly. With some vinegar and a little borax you’ve got yourself an all-purpose cleaner in no time. Use this recipe for a homemade laundry detergent, and each load will only cost about $0.04.

7. Set Up Auto-Draft

Some companies and financial institutions are willing to offer a discount if you set up auto draft payments. Before sign up for service or take out a new loan, ask the company if they offer a discount for auto draft.

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8. Use Layaway Instead of Credit Cards

Layaway is an interest-free way to pay for a large purchase. Many box stores as well as some smaller retail locations offer a layaway option. If it isn’t something you need right now, consider using layaway rather than a credit card.

9. Look for Free Activities

Skip the movies at the theater and head to movies in the park. Many cities offer a host of free activities, especially in the summer months. Use social media tools and the web to find listings for community activities and make your date night a little cheaper. This will also push you to do something new or different, which will broaden your horizons and help you meet new people.

10. Pay for Your Bad Habits

Choose a bad habit of yours that you’d like to get rid of. Take a jar and label it with that bad habit. Select a denomination to put in the jar every time you find yourself partaking in said bad habit. Let’s take slouching for instance. If you want to correct this habit and sit up with a straight spine, label your jar “Slouch Habit”, and place $1 in the jar every time you catch yourself slumping down in your seat. You’ll save a little money and hopefully get rid of that little habit.

11. Cook More

It depends on who you ask, but generally you can save money if you cook more rather than eat out. It’s also healthier (most of the time).

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12. Use Your Rewards

If you plan to use your credit cards, make sure to take advantage of the rewards. Most cards have a points or percentage system that you can use for goods, gift cards and even cash back. Use your credit cards for what you’d normally spend cash on- groceries, gas, etc. Put the money aside to pay off the credit cards immediately, and you save yourself from interest charges while still getting the points.

13. Shop Garage Sales

Need a new dining room table or bookshelf? Instead of buying new, look around at local garage sales to see if you can find something that works. You might find something that just needs a little refinishing. This can turn into a fun project and save you money as well.

14. Start Couponing

Extreme couponing has become quite the trend, but it can really save you quite a bit of money if you know how to do it. Since the coupon craze is in full swing, finding info online or even a class in your area shouldn’t be hard.

15. Stop Paying for Delivery

Having your food delivered means tipping the driver. Instead of ordering delivery, pick up your food to avoid the extra cost of a tip. Some businesses actually charge a delivery fee as well, so you can avoid this by making the trip to the restaurant.

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Do you have any other ideas for fun ways to save? 

Do you overspend? Check out 15 Ways to Eat Free That You Probably Didn’t Know.

Featured photo credit: Vintage Grow Your Money/www.stockmonkeys.com via flickr.com

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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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