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10 Tips to Save Money

I am ALWAYS looking for tips to save money. These ones will save me lots and are definitely budget hacks that I can implement, not crazy ideas that will only work for some people. Bring on the savings!

Here’s an oldie but goodie from early 2011!  🙂

Here are my top 10 tips to save money:

1. Save Automatically.

Setting up automatic contributions is the best way, in my opinion, to save money. It is simply harder to spend money that you can’t see. I’d suggest starting by contributing the minimum to your 401(k) to get the maximum company match. Then take a look at Roth IRA’s. If you don’t qualify, think about saving automatically to an account that you can use to invest in whatever you wish.

2. Prioritize Your Spending.

It’s much easier to say no to a fancy new car if you know that you rather fully fund your Roth IRA. If you know you absolutely adore your smart phone, maybe it will be easier to save elsewhere, like a magazine subscription you barely have time for.  Prioritization is key.

3. Give up Expensive Habits.

Smoking comes to mind first simply since I saw a man in front of me at Kroger pay $7 for one pack! OUCH. Drinking, bar hopping, drugs, soda…any regular habit that costs money adds up fast. We’re saving about $250 a year now that we’ve given up our daily soda habit!

4. Find cheap hobbies.

Blogging and board gaming have been awesome for me. Blogging has actually turned into a money making opportunity and board gaming is only as expensive as allowed. We buy less than $250 worth of board games a year and we are entertained weekly. The trick is to find a hobby that you crave to be a part of that costs way less than the normal ways you spend your time.

5. Change to less expensive activities.

My husband has paused Curling (the ice sport) for the last 2 years and has saved more than $1000.  His hobby jobs and board gaming have taken up this time.  🙂  It is all about prioritization. If we ever needed extra cash, expensive activities would be the first to go.

6. Cook at Home More.

This only saves money if you learn to cook using inexpensive ingredients. My mom is the queen of a yummy one-pot meal. I personally have started jumping into all recipes that use ground beef or turkey as the main ingredient, lol.

7. Make Grocery Lists.

This is a life saver if you actually follow your list. You have control over what goes into your cart…if you keep that in mind, you can save hundreds of dollars every month or two.

8. Compare Prices for Your Different Monthly Services Annually.

I call around for cable, internet, and insurance quotes every year and have kept our bills at the same or better rates they were 5 years ago. A 10 minute call can really pay off.

9. Make Long-Term Goals.

Goals keep your mind from wandering when a nice but expensive what-not pops up. Our early retirement goal keeps me driving my cruddy Aveo simply so I can continue to save instead of making monthly payments.

10. Re-Evaluate Your Housing Costs.

We were paying $730 for a one-bedroom apartment that was 1000 square feet in 2006. We realized that we’d only have to pay a few thousand more a year to own a home and build some equity. Then we had a $740 a month mortgage and spent $2300 a year property taxes by early 2007.  Now we have paid that home off, use it as a rental, and bought our next home.  If you take into account the rental income, we’re paying less than $600 a month now for our dream home including the property taxes of both houses and our current mortgage payment.  Renting out a room on and off for the last 6 years helped a lot too.

What other everyday tips do you have for us?



FYI:  I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 a year.  I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $80,000-$100,000 through blogging, a rental home, and professional pet sitting.  If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you).  I even have all of my favorite tools on a resource page - I hope they help you too. This all gives me the time to be with my aging family members, the flexibility to stay close with my friends and family, and it should help if we finally get pregnant too!  Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!
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29 thoughts on “10 Tips to Save Money

  1. This is a great list! I think planning ahead in general can lead to great savings. So often we spend money to take care of something at the last second instead of anticipating expenses for the upcoming week/month/whatever.

  2. Great list indeed! I’m glad to see I make almost all of them… I say almost because the others are very boring to me. Like #8 and #10. I do it… sometimes… 😉 And I want to get way better at saving automatically.

  3. Great list! I would also recommend freezer cooking so on busy days, you can just pull a meal from the freezer. It makes it a lot harder to justify going out to eat when the food is all ready in the freezer.

    I’d love to hear more about the 10 minute calls to lower your utility bills. 🙂

  4. I agree giving up expensive habits, smoking , drinking and soda can save a lot of money. I have the hardest with soda but have cut way back.
    What I am attempting to do this month and want to continue doing is to cut my grocery bill every week 10 to 20 dollars. That savings what ever goes to my savings account.
    I also agree freezer cooking saves money. Food ready to eat rather than going out to eat when tired and not wanting to cook.
    great list

  5. Great tips crystal. I think that the one thing that I would say is to look out for good deals on things that you enjoy. Maybe you like to go to the museum or something, you could buy a yearly pass. They turn out to be cheaper often, and it’s nice for the organization from a financial stand point as well.

  6. Great tips! One of the reasons I started blogging was to get a cheap hobby! I used to play a ton of games online, and they would cost $50, and I would buy a new game each month! Now, I focus on writing and site development instead of games!

  7. Instead of finding less expensive hobbies and giving up expensive habits I have found it much more sustainable to put most of my focus on earning more money. Let’s face it, a lot of things in life that are the most fun/enjoyable are expensive. You only live life once. I’d rather find a way to do the things I want to do and get the things I want to get, rater than spending all my time finding ways to cut back.

    I am not saying you can just go wild with spending. But, there is no limit to what your income can be, but expenses cannot get any lower than $0.

    I like to focus most of my energy on the side of the equation with limitless possibilities.

  8. Good Tips. I’ve just gotten through a little round up of money saving tips myself.

    One that I liked a lot was paying your bills on line and repurposing the return envelopes that come with your bills for your own use. Just use a sticker or a piece of paper for the address window.

  9. I’m glad you put housing down on the list. I think most people way overspend on housing and being house poor eats into all other aspects of life.

    I’ll tell you a secret. It’s become kind of a ritual to thumb through the grocery circulars and decide which store I will shop at this weekend.

  10. Find cheap hobbies – I think this one is huge. There are a lot of people that go golfing 2 or 3 times a week, and that gets expensive! It could total $300+ a month. Crazy!

    Luckily, my hobby is building my website, which is incredibly cheap! Plus, it will actually make me some money soon. 🙂

  11. Prioritizing expenses is an excellent method to save money. I’m now getting around to doing our yearly spreadsheet, and planning out major expenses.
    By the way, I had no idea that curling was an expensive hobby.

  12. Excellent list Crystal – I’d say to invest in preventative measures to save money. A lot of expensive repairs on things like cars, lawnmowers, or home repairs can be avoided if you have regular service/maintenance performed. It’s hard to tell if you’re saving money – but I’d rather take preventative action instead of feeling trapped by an unexpected bill!

  13. Thanks for all of your additional tips!

    @Everyday Tips, planning ahead really can save a ton.

    @DoNotWait, good luck with #8 and #10. 🙂

    @krantcents, you are so right! I’m saving $20 a week by bringing my lunch to work.

    @Melissa, freezer cooking is a great idea!

    @grace, soda is a tough one to give up…

    @Jenna, I try to drive less just because I hate driving, lol.

    @Jeff, that’s another great tip!

    @Robert, I know! Blogging has filled in pretty much all of the time I was spending on everything else. 🙂

    @Bogey, it is true that you can make more than you can save, but until you actually make more, you have to budget with what you have. Otherwise we’d all be living the high life before we actually make high life money, right?

    @My Money Mess, good idea!

    @First Gen American, that’s a good secret. Here’s mine, I just signed up to get the Houston Chronicle every Sunday for the next year for just $26! Woot for cheap coupons. 🙂

    @LifeAndMyFinances, blogging is one of those special hobbies that can literally eat up as little or as much time as you’d like and even has the ability to make you money – you gotta love it, right? 🙂

    @101 Centavos, curling may not be as expensive in places with cheap ice, lol. Here they have to pay the rink fees at the same price hockey players pay…

    @Tim, you are so right! Preventative maintenance is so important!

  14. Great article, great list. To Jeff – that’s really a nice way, it always makes me happy, when I can get something not affordable with 50% or 60% discount. There`s a lot of websites (like “superdeal”) that propose sush things.

  15. I truly believe in the power of #2 – prioritizing. Once you understand what really makes you happy and focus your spending, you can be so much more efficient with your expenses!!!
    Actually all of the points you mention are important… but I’d like to add something related to car expenses. It can be a very big money drain when you buy the expensive car you cant afford or the expensive to maintain / run car. I think we should all do the exercise of how much will the car cost to buy, to move, to serve and to repair when something fails before jumping to the impulsive “I’ve dreamt with that car” decision. And well, keeping the car in a good state can also make you save lots of money along the way!

  16. I have been visiting various blogs for my critique study. I have found your blog to be fairly helpful. Keep updating your blog with useful information…
    For reviews to profit as consumers to know which businesses and products we can trust, more people who can write perfectly and honestly need to be causative their opinions. The more individual reviews there are the more likely we are to find the truth. Regards… [Amway Global]

  17. The first tip is the best!
    You’d be surprised how easy it is to get discounts on a wide variety of services just by asking. This gets easier the longer you’ve been a customer.
    Also on the cell phone, good tip, as prepaid really is a better option for some. But be careful. If you actually do talk a lot, you can end up spending a lot more on a prepaid service.

  18. Yeah, thanks for these useful tips. I think that prioritizing your spending is the most reasonable thing to do to save more money. Learning simple rules of household economy has become crucial, as we all now living beyond our means. It’s time to learn to spend money wisely.

  19. Great tips! I would also add — keep a log. You will be surprised how much it helps. It is ironic, but we don’t realize how much we spend in general but when the same spending is presented as an ad hoc spending report, budgeting dynamics shift to a new level.

  20. Thank you for this post. During this economy It’s very hard to save money. I appreciate all the help and advice I can get. Great post I found it very helpful, Thank You

  21. I couldn’t agree with this writer more especially on the first point-save automatically. Most of us don’t save because of the pinch we feel when we remove money form our pockets to save. This point is well elaborated, you cannot save what is in your hand. Gret tip from a great writer. Thanks for sharing.

    Regards
    Dickens

  22. Chortle! The Amway person sent exactly the same message to FaM. 🙄

    How about selecting the spending method that works best to help you not overspend? For some folks it’s the envelope method — physically putting cash dollars in envelopes dedicated for specific budget items. For others, it’s charge on a card, keep track of current spending in a spreadsheet, and pay off the bill in full at the end of the month.

  23. #1 is my favorite. Save automatically and save first. I’ve said this on other posts so hopefully nobody is sick of hearing it, but I would name my savings – Ann’s braces, Kathleen’s first semester of college, etc. Much harder to take money from your kids needs!

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