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.
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.
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).
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.
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