6 Smart Ways to Save More Money
We live in a time of great economic turbulence, and many people — perhaps even most people — are struggling to get by. Because of this, it’s more important than ever before to have your personal finances under control.
And if your budget is feeling the squeeze, it may be essential to your continuing livelihood that you take action right away.
So how do you do this? You can’t just magically start saving money that you don’t have, of course. But you don’t need to — you don’t need to do anything particularly difficult.
There’s actually no shortage of ways to cut down on your costs and start putting aside more money each month, and I’m going to give you 6 to get you started. Let’s begin:
Buy your supplies in bulk
You can’t know ahead of time everything you’re going to need to spend in a given month, but there are plenty of outgoings that you can reliably predict.
For instance, you’re always going to need to buy groceries: in fact, there’s a strong likelihood that a large part of your average monthly bill goes towards sustenance.
And since food prices can vary significantly based on when and how you buy them, you have every chance to save a lot of money if you buy in bulk.
Let’s say you enjoy tuna, and you tend to eat it four times or so each month. Because you don’t plan ahead, you buy individual cans — but if you analyzed your habits and bought ahead of time, you could get a pack of four cans that would cost you significantly less.
For anything you know you’ll buy every month, find the cheapest method for obtaining it, and those small savings will add up to quite a lot of money.
Be more efficient with utilities
Utility bills can seriously sap your monthly resources if you’re not careful.
Depending on where you live, you might suffer greatly from hot or cold conditions, and turn to powered technology to get by — but that’s not the only viable approach.
For instance, you can address the heat by preventing sunlight from entering your house, maintaining good ventilation, and minimizing electricity use in general (since it generates heat as a byproduct).
Conversely, you can mitigate cold conditions by using a lot of insulation and sealing up gaps and cracks in your walls.
They will typically be happy to leave their existing customers with mediocre deals as long as they don’t complain, so let them know that you’re thinking about changing suppliers and they’ll likely choose to offer you much-improved deals.
Shop around whenever possible
Just about anything you can buy will be available at different prices in different places and at different stores.
Even the most recognizable branded items have variable costs. This is all because sellers will charge as much as they believe they can get away with — if you’ve ever been through shops before and after airport security, you’ll know all about this.
If you intend to buy something, instead of simply going along with whichever price you’re quoted at the first store you visit, do some online research to find the cheapest place to buy it.
You’ll need to factor in convenience, of course (if it’s $1 cheaper at a store across town, but it would cost you $5 to get there, then it isn’t worth it), but that isn’t too much of a burden. Shopping around is one of the best ways to cut your costs without changing your purchasing habits.
Drop any services you don’t need
It’s easy to collect monthly commitments to services. You decide you want to get fitter, so you sign up to a gym. You develop an interest in artisanal chocolate, so you sign up to a monthly chocolate delivery service.
Because you’re never paying a large upfront sum, it feels like you’re getting a lot of value without having to pay that much — but the costs add up, and it doesn’t help that a lot of monthly service subscriptions go unused.
Take the gym membership, for instance. You can sign up with the best of intentions, go twice, accept deep down that you won’t go again, but continue to stubbornly insist that you’re definitely getting back to the gym, any day now.
Meanwhile, the membership fee keeps being deducted from your account, sapping your finances for no reason. Look through all your service payments and do some ruthless pruning. If you don’t need it, stop paying for it.
Lower your transport costs
Transport is a vital element of modern life, but it can be extremely expensive — particularly if you need to take public transport regularly. By finding ways to lower your transport costs, you can significantly lighten your monthly burden. Here are some specific suggestions:
- Start walking and cycling more. Do you really need to drive to the store just down the road? Think about hundreds of those small trips every year, and how the fuel cost must add up. If you choose to walk and cycle more often, you can get fitter and save fuel.
- Pay less for your car insurance. There are various ways to earn a better car insurance quote: you can install anti-theft devices, park more safely with a backup camera system, take occasional drivers off your policy, or even stop using your car for work purposes.
- Get better deals on tickets. If you need to catch trains (or even planes) quite often, search carefully for deals as far ahead of time as you can. Buying a ticket months ahead of schedule might save you a lot of money relative to buying one last-minute.
Stop spending when you’re stressed
Whenever we get stressed about our busy lives, we look for ways to feel better, and retail therapy is one of the most common tactics for this.
This is an obvious problem for your finances, particularly if you like to buy high-end items. But you don’t have to handle your stress that way. You could take up a hobby instead, or use intense exercise as an outlet.
This is easier said than done, admittedly, but it’s absolutely viable.
You just need a strong alternative and the willpower to make a routine of dealing with your stress in a financially-healthy way.
Try taking a walk without any currency or payment method. If you can’t resist stopping by some stores, at least you won’t be able to actually buy anything, giving you time for your mood to clear up and your rational mind to regain control.