Everyone likes to keep more money in their pockets, but not everyone is ready to spend the time trying to save a few bucks. And I get it, I like to save money every day, but I’m not willing to sacrifice too much of my free time or well being just to save a few bucks at the end of the day.
So I wanted to make it easy for us less sacrificial savers by writing this article the gives you 10 easy tips to keep more money in your pocket every day. By easy I mean that you won’t have to sacrifice anything, these are only simple habits to change and eventually could help you to save a lot by the end of the year.
Buy Second-Hand Items, Accept Donations, Exchange and Repair
The society we live in constantly encourages us to buy new products, but we tend to forget that there are already good products out there that are barely used and still in perfect shape. I grew up in a family of four kids, where for a long time only my dad was working, so my parents couldn’t always afford to buy new things for us. I remember that they would buy all our sports gear in second-hand shops, and most clothes – if they were still good condition – would go from one kid to the other. As the only girl, I was sometimes entitled to new dresses, which was lucky for me, but tougher for my parents. We also got a lot of stuff from our extended family and my mom was an absolute pro at repairing our old clothes with patches (I still really hate those on my pants).
Even though I’m wealthier now than my parents were ‘back in the days’, I’m still trying to buy the least amount possible. There are many easy ways to accomplish this. First, keep an eye open on furniture that is put out on the street, you could find some hidden treasure. I wouldn’t pick up a couch, predominantly because I’m afraid of bed bugs, but I found a beautiful wooden chair that I subsequently repainted, and an awesome table lamp this way. When it comes to exchange, my girlfriends and I normally get together twice a year with a bag of clothes we don’t want anymore. I’m also a big fan of fixing things, you simply need to find a good cobbler (such an amazing word) that will help you fix your old shoes and bags and a good mom who will fix your clothes ;)
Buy What you Want for Cheaper
When grocery shopping, try to go for the store brands, they are normally the same or very similar tasting or functioning products, but sold at a fraction of the price. Even though I said that couponing could take time, it is still possible to do it without spending hours on it. Simply grab the coupons at the entrance of the store and see if there are any you could use on your current purchase, or use the ones you receive in the mail. Alternatively, you can read up more about saving without coupons.
When a product is on sale and it is non-perishable, it’s also a good idea to buy in big quantities and stockpile it. Remember that clothes frequently go on sale, which means that if it’s not something that you need right now, wait until it goes on sale.
This could apply to two different kinds of services: insurance and telecom. Take a few hours to check the services you already have and see if you could get a better package or if a competitor has a better offer. If you don’t have a contract and you find the same service for cheaper somewhere else, you can always call your service provider and ask them if they could equal the other offer. If not, it’s time for a change. You can also cancel different cell phone options you don’t need such as waiting line, 3-way calling and many more. And remember that you can always have a better insurance deal if you insure all your assets (car, house, motorbike, etc) with the same company. Not shopping around is just wasting money.
Rent Books and DVDs
If you’re a heavy reader or a TV show/movie buff, this is an easy way to save money. Public libraries are a fantastic place to rent books, music and movies for free. There are also other services online such as Netflix that offer a big selection of movies and TV shows and that you can access for only $7.99 a month. Nowadays Canadians can also find a bunch of TV shows from broadcasters on their website and watch them online (like ctv.ca). Stephen wrote a short article about some popular places a while ago here. You might even want to reconsider paying for your cable services; do you really need cable?
Not everyone is a good chef, but remember that the more you prepare food yourself instead of buying pre-prepared in-store food or going to the restaurant, can keep your bank manager happier. If you don’t know how to cook, invest your money in a good introduction to cooking book, or put it on your Christmas list and you’ll keep the piggy bank intact. You can also find loads of video tutorials on the web as well as quick and easy recipes ready in less than 30 minutes. I also recommend that you prepare for leftovers to save time and cash.
Freeze your Food
I’m not the biggest fan of cooking; this is why when it’s my turn to prep dinner I do it in large quantities. This way, I do it less often and I always have leftovers in the freezer that I can eat whenever I’m too tired to cook. I normally use those big Yogurt containers to freeze my meals because they are perfect for 2 portions and they cost nothing, just keep yours and wash them (not on hot in the dishwasher though, they can melt). It’s important to write the date when you prepared the meals on the containers using masking tape. I found this super helpful food storage chart that you might want to use as a reference.
Use your Car Less
This is one of my favorites. I’m not a big fan of cars even though I love having one because it gives me a lot of freedom. So I’m trying to use my car as less if I can and use my bike instead. Not only do I save on gas but it also keeps me fit. If you’re able to have just one car for the whole family and take public transport from time to time or carpooling to go to work, this is another great way to cut on transportation expenses. You would be surprised by how much you could save.
Prepare your Own Coffee
If you stop by a coffee shop every morning, then this is one for you. Investing in a single-serve cup coffee machine and a thermos cup could be one of the most cost-effective purchases you will ever make. You can find out everything there is to know about single serve coffee makers in this previous article we wrote. Let’s do some fun math. If you buy a coffee 4 times a week at an average cost of $4, this adds up to $832/year. With the average espresso machine (automatic or not) costing around $250, but not taking into account the cost of the coffee grinds, milk and sugar, you have the ability of saving around $500 a year.
Reduce your Dryer’s Usage; Hang your Clothes
Leaving your clothes to dry will not only help you cut on the electricity fees, but it will also help your clothes last longer. If you don’t have a clothesline you can buy a drying rack, but you need to have enough room in your home for a proper set up. I was curious about how much we could potentially save not using a clothes dryer, so I had a look to some stats and I was quite disappointed. But I would still rather use the clothesline than the clothes dryer, for the energy saving alone.
Workout at Home; Cut on Gym’s Fees
Marc recently bought a book that lists hundreds of exercises to do at home using only the minimum of equipment to stay fit. I’ve had a look at it and there were some excellent ideas in there. Doing your workout at home, even though it might require an initial investment, could be a great money saver.
These are only just a few easy ways that I think could help everyone to save a few extra bucks every day. I’m sure that you have many more that I didn’t mention.
What are your tips to save money?