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55 Practical Ways To Save Money Efficiently

55 Practical Ways To Save Money Efficiently

There are many ways to save money and as you start discovering more ways to save money, you will find that it becomes easier as the days pass. If you are efficient and wise with your money, you can probably save thousands each year.

Saving money does not have to be hard. I was able to save my money and pay off around $40,000 in student loan debt. You can save money to lower your budget, pay off debt, and increase your savings too.  Here are a few practical ways to save money efficiently.

Ways to Save Money on Food

1. Buy groceries in bulk. You may be able to save per item this way.

2. Bulk cook your meals. This can save you money because you are less likely to waste ingredients.

3. Make your food at home.

4. Know which grocery stores have the cheaper items.

5. If you eat out, bring a coupon.

6. Create a menu plan before you go grocery shopping.

Ways to Save Money on Insurance

7. Ask if you can qualify for any further discounts.

8. Shop around for the best insurance rates.

9. If you are confident that you can save money, raise your deductibles. You can raise it from $500 to $1,000 and save some money. I’ve seen some people have $0 deductibles who are wasting a lot of money.

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Ways to Save Money on Transportation

10. Know when to buy airfare. Certain days are cheaper, and flying on certain days are cheaper.

11. Do you really need all of that car insurance coverage? When you have car insurance, there are usually a lot of extras in there, such as towing, rentals and so on.

12. Determine how many cars you really need. Cutting out one car can lower your transportation expenses significantly.

13. Know where to buy gas. Near my house there is a gas station that is almost always 20 cents cheaper than everywhere else. It’s not a large savings, but I don’t even have to go out of my way to go to this gas station, so I might as well go there.

14. Get your tires rotated. Tire rotations are cheap and can really extend the life of your tires.

15. Get an oil change. You might not need one every 3,000 miles though.

16. Clean out your car. Extra weight can mean worse gas mileage.

17. Buy a better air filter. Some air filters have a lifetime warranty and can also improve your gas mileage.

18. Know when to buy a car. There are good and bad times to buy.

19. Use public transportation to save even more money.

20. Ride your bike. If you already have the bike, then everything else after this is nearly free (except for bike maintenance of course).

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Ways to Save Money on Personal Items

21. Ask for generic drugs.

22. Buy store brand. When it comes to medications, store brand is almost always identical to name brand.

23. Buy clothing when it is on sale. Clothes almost always go on sale.

24. Buy second hand. There are many second hand stores that carry the latest styles.

25. Take care of the clothing that you buy. Washing something incorrectly can cost you money because you may have to buy the same item again.

Ways to Save Money on Your Home

26. Keep your furnace in good condition. Have someone check it if you do not know how.

27. Buy efficient windows if yours are no longer efficient. If you have old windows, then you may just be throwing money away because cold air is just flowing right inside.

28. Buy the house that you need. Do you really need 8 bedrooms when there are only the two of you?

29. Shop around for the best interest rate.  1% difference in an interest rate can be a big difference for your monthly mortgage payment.

30. Before you buy, know what the property taxes will be like. There were many homes that we were thinking about buying until we saw how much there property taxes were. A similar house at the same price would only have taxes of around $3,000 per year, but some houses that we found at the same exact price had taxes of nearly $7,000 or $8,000 each year.

Miscellaneous Ways to Save Money

31. Keep track of what you spend. If you are not good with your budget and always spend more than you make, then you need to closely keep track of what you are spending.

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32. Start a budget. Make it realistic and know exactly what you are spending in each category. You will probably be surprised.

33. Little amounts add up. If saving an amount such as $200 per month seems too high for you, aim for something such as $50 per week. A different mindset can help a lot.

34. Don’t spend money on interest. Remember to pay your bills.

35. Avoid ATM fees. Look online to see where you can use an ATM for free.

36. Check to see if you are allowed any discounts. If you belong to any organizations, then you may be able to get a discount on certain items. We receive a 20% discount on our AT&T bill, which is nice and it only took 5 minutes to do, and that was over 5 years ago.

37. Save your coins. Throw all of your coins into a jar and empty it out after it is full.

38. Before you buy something, think about how long you have to work in order to actually buy it. Is that $100 dress worth hours of your time?

39. If you are a bad credit card spender, then leave your credit card at home and only carry cash.

40. Round up. Each time you spend an amount such as $1.33, round up to $2.00 and save the rest.

41. Before you buy something, put it down and think about it while you are shopping for other things on your list. If you still want to go back to it, then maybe you should buy it.

Ways to Save Money when Having Fun

42. Find a coupon before you go out. There are entertainment books available in most cities with many coupons.

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43. Look for free festivals in your area. In many cities and towns, there are plenty of them.

44. Go for a bike ride.

45. Camp out instead of staying at a hotel.

46. Use Netflix instead of cable.

47. Visit the library. You can borrow books and even the latest movies at some libraries.

48. Look for free tickets. For many events, you can find free tickets being handed out.

49. Do a secret Santa this year instead of exchanging gifts with everyone. Buying just one present instead of 10 can easily save you money.

50. Have dinner at a friends instead of going out to eat.

51. If you go out, drink during happy hour.

52. Watch amateur sporting events instead of professional ones.

53. Watch a movie early in the day instead of at night.

54. Have a babysitting group if you had children.

55. Buy season passes. Yes, the upfront cost may be high, but you may be able to save a lot of money as well.

More by this author

Michelle S.

Founder of Making Sense of Cents, a blog about personal finance and traveling.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

Debt can feel crushing, like a weight that is always weighing you down. Looking at those numbers, it can feel as if you’ll never get out from under it. However, if you really want to learn how to get out of debt, it is possible with a great deal of focus and self-control.

Getting out of debt isn’t impossible. Like any big goal, all that it takes is an action plan to identify where you are and creating a plan to zero out your debt.

Identifying All of Your Debts

The first part of paying off your debt is getting a complete picture of what you owe. When you have everything written out in front of you, it makes it much easier to create an action plan. Depending on how much you owe, it might also help you realize it’s not as bad you might have originally thought.

Here’s how you can get started identifying your debts:

1. Own Your Debt

Before you start identifying all of your debts, take a moment to process that you have debt but want to get out of it.

Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, missed payments, or overspending. It might be painful to accept how much debt you have at first, but you must own it.

2. Make a Debt Tracker

It’s astonishing how few people ever created a tracker to understand their total debts. Most likely, it comes from not wanting to accept the guilt of having debt, but, if avoided, it can make it nearly impossible to get out of debt.

Open up a new Google or Microsoft Excel sheet and list out all of your debts. Start with the name of the creditor, interest rates, total balance, loan term length (if any), and the minimum amount due each payment. This will include student loans, credit cards, and any other type of debt owed.

3. Get Your Debt Number

Once you’ve made your debt tracker and taken the other steps, identify your total payoff number. This is crucial, as you will have a starting point and a clear goal that you are trying to achieve.

Prioritizing Your Debts

All debt is not created equal. It’s imperative to understand that there are different types of debt.

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1. Understand Bad and Good Debts

Bad debts are usually paying for things you want instead of always need. While there might be some emergencies that max out your credit cards, often times it’s excessive spending[1].

There are three main types of bad debt:

  • Credit Card Debt: The average American household owes over $16,000 in credit card debt!
  • Auto Loan Debt: According to CNBC , the average auto loan in the US is $30,032!
  • Consumer Loan Debt: Consumer loan debt isn’t as common as credit card and auto loan debt, but it’s still considered bad as interest rates are usually between 10-28%.

Good debt is identified as investments in your future. Here are three common types of good debt:

  • Student Loan Debt
  • Mortgage Loan
  • Business Loans

2. Decide Which Debt to Pay off First

Once you know each type of debt and their interest rates, you can begin to pay off debt quickly.

Focus on paying off bad debt first, regardless of if it is a credit card or auto loan. Start by paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first.

If you have several credit cards with different interest rates, you want to focus on the one with a higher APR. You will actually save more money by eliminating the card with the highest interest rate.

3. Don’t Pay the Minimum Amount

Paying the minimum amount digs you into a hole as interest rates will offset your payment. Even a small amount more than the minimum can help you pay off debt much faster.

Removing Obstacles to Pay off Debt Quickly

Creating a debt tracker and prioritizing a plan is simple, but avoiding temptation can be difficult.

1. Set a Reminder to Track Your Debt

“If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” -Peter Drucker

It’s so important to track your debt to ensure that you get it paid off quickly. Similar to working out and measuring your results, you need to track your debt constantly. Start with a weekly reminder, where you sign on and log your updated number. Did you increase, decrease, or stay the same?

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Regularly tracking your student loan balance can be incredibly motivating, as well. You will get a huge confidence boost each time you see your total debt amount decreases.

Set weekly and monthly goals so you can have short term wins and keep the momentum going.

2. Hide Your Credit Cards

If your biggest debt is credit cards, you need to eliminate temptation and remove them from your wallet.

Some people have gone to extreme measures by freezing their credit cards. Why? This would create an ice block around your card, which would require you to chip away at it slowly. This will give you time to think if it’s the best idea to buy that thing you’re about to buy.

3. Automate Everything

Willpower can be a huge downfall to paying off your debt. By automating your bills each month, you will ensure that willpower isn’t involved.

4. Plan Ahead

Getting out of debt will require some sacrifices, but with enough planning, you can make it work.

For example, if you know that you have a friend’s birthday or family dinner coming up, plan ahead for the costs. Whether you need to cut back on spending the week before, pick up a side job, or meet them after dinner, do what is needed.

5. Live Cheaply

The only way to get out of debt is to make some sacrifices on your spending habits. Find ways to save money each month so you can apply that amount to your outstanding debts. Here are some ways to save money each month:

  • Live with roommates
  • Cook dinners and prepare lunches for work instead of eating out
  • Cut cable and choose Netflix or Amazon Prime
  • Take public transit or bike to work

Finding the Lowest Interest Rates

The higher your interest rates, the harder (and longer) it will take you to pay off any debt.

If possible, you want to find ways to lower your interest rates to help get out of debt quickly. Here’s how you can get started:

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1. Maintain a High Credit Score

Your credit score will have a large impact on your ability to refinance your loans and receive a lower interest rate. If you have a low credit score, it’s unlikely you will be able to refinance your loans. Use these credit tips to increase and maintain an excellent score:

  • Never miss a payment
  • Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit
  • Don’t sign up for more than one card at once
  • Limit hard inquires, like auto-loans and new credit cards
  • Monitor frequently with free credit-tracking software

2. Find Balance Transfer Offers

Start by opening a free account on credit.com. Credit.com offers you the chance to open a free account and see what type of balance transfer offers you can receive. Some of your existing credit cards might already have 0% or lower APR balance transfer offers available.

Contact each of your credit card providers to ask about lowering your rate for a one-time balance transfer offer[2].

If you do take advantage of this option, make sure that you use a balance transfer and not a cash advance. Cash advances have a ton of high interest fees (15-25%, depending on your credit card) and will only compound your debt problem.

How to Get Rid of Debt Forever

Setting up a plan, removing temptations, and getting the lowest interest rates is the first step to get out of debt.

1. Keep Monitoring and Adjusting

Once you have a plan, don’t get comfortable. Track your debt payoff plan and make the necessary adjustments when needed.

Monitor your credit scores with a free site like CreditKarma. The higher your credit score climbs, the more likely you will be to secure a new, lower-interest loan.

2. Earn More Money

There are only so many ways to save money. Instead of clipping another coupon or making sacrifices for your morning coffee, find ways to earn more money!

Think about it…it is much easier to find ways to earn an extra $1,000 per month than find $1,000 to cut from your budget.

Here are some examples of ways to earn more money:

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Talk to Your Boss

Have a conversation with your boss about current salary and/or commission rates. If you’re not satisfied or want a change, don’t be afraid to look around at other positions. Some of them might even have a student loan debt reimbursement plan!

Start a Side Hustle

This could be coaching students on the weekends, driving for Uber, or taking paid online surveys. There are tons of ways to make money outside your 9-5. Now that you have a clear plan to pay off your debts, you’ll be more motivated than ever to figure out creative new ways to earn money.

Build an Online Business

There are so many websites and blogs that earn money from ads, affiliates, and other online products. Find your niche and get started.

3. Celebrate Your Wins

As you progress in your debt payoff journey, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. You need to always reward yourself for the hard work and discipline that is required to get out of debt.

While you shouldn’t celebrate so big that it increases debt, make sure to factor in little rewards to keep you motivated.

4. Set New Financial Goals

Eventually, with a plan and these steps, you can rid yourself of your debt. Once you do, make sure to celebrate your monumental achievement, but don’t stop there.

Now, you can focus on acquiring wealth and increasing your net worth. Set new financial goals so you have a new target to aim toward. Here’s how to set financial goals and actually meet them.

These could be anything now that you are debt free! Think about where you want to travel, buying your first home, or saving for your future retirement. Just like before, make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable.

Conclusion

Congrats, you can now set a plan in motion to finally pay off your debt quickly (and hopefully forever)!

Remember, if you want to get out of debt quickly, it’s not always easy. Just like any big goal, there will be sacrifices, challenges, and problems to overcome.

More Tips on Getting out of Debt

Featured photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski via unsplash.com

Reference

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