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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.

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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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