How many times have you said to yourself, “I just have to find a way to save more money”? Over and over again and again I imagine, but when that happens it’s more often than not that you get started and then suddenly…failure. You just don’t stick with it.
Why? We’re a nation of overachievers and when we decide to do something, we want to do it really BIG. While there’s nothing wrong with setting really big goals, when it comes to saving money, drastic big lifestyle changes often backfire. That big goal becomes such a huge pressure cooker that it eventually can explode and all you have afterwards is an even bigger mess than when you first started.
For example, it’s one thing to vow to stop eating out altogether. But it’s another thing to avoid that temptation a few weeks later when you are standing in front of the fridge and there’s nothing appealing inside and you have a huge craving for fried chicken! Doooooomsday!
The real trick in saving money is baby steps—small adjustments to your spending habits that aren’t difficult or especially painful. A few minor changes in some routine day-to-day behaviors could result in a noticeably heftier savings account. You know, slow and steady wins the race, right? So, need some easy ways to save money? Try one or more of these six ways to save more right now and see what I am talking about!
6 Easy Ways to Save Money Right Now
1. Save up your small change and even your $1 bills
If you make a few cash purchases throughout the day, you’re likely to end up with a pocket full of change. And if you start stashing that change away, you can watch it grow. Soon you can put that savings into CDs, high yield savings accounts, and money markets that can help you achieve your goals.
Want a great way to save money? Then make a rule of putting all of your $1 bills into your savings stash. Using that method, any item—as far as your wallet is concerned—then costs you at least a $5 bill. That makes it a lot easier to resist buying a pack of gum that your wallet says costs you $5 versus just $1.
2. Buy gift cards at a discount for the places you always shop
Here’s another tip to save up some money. From time to time, we all get gift cards that we have no use for. Frequently, we just never use or just use a part of them or even let them expire. But good super savers know about vendors that will buy your unused or partially used gift cards from you, and you can turn them into real cash that you can sock away and save! Great sites like Cardpool and CardCash are just two that I recommend.
The same is true if and when you need to purchase any gift cards! Why not get them at a discount off the price you would pay in a store—by purchasing it from the very same online site? You might even resell them as a side gig after purchase and earn a little extra cash, too. Some gift card exchange websites let you save up to 35% on gift cards for pretty much any retailer imaginable.
Just make sure you find reliable, honest, and safe sites that have great ratings and track records!
3. When it comes to coupons, pennies make sense and make dollars!
If you are not shopping for your groceries each week and using coupons, then you are throwing your money away regularly! There are so many ways to get these savings today besides “clipping them from newspaper ads” the way your mom did. It is the classic no- brainer these days. There are the “clipless” coupons found on the net from most chains and then there are the apps that have the deals right on your smartphone that make it as simple as it can be!
Look, the stores have built these coupons into the products and want you to use them, why refuse them on the products you use and love and are buying all the time anyway?
Think of this. If you saved just $5 every time you shop with your couponing and do that just once a week, that amounts to over $250 a year! Take that money you save and put it away for saving in your account! Add interest and you are way ahead of the game. And by the way, even the most beginner couponer can save waaaaay more than $5 a week when they try. You don’t have to be an extreme couponer to make a meaningful savings, but if you are one of them, write a blog about it and turn that into a great side gig profit maker too, because everyone will want to know your methods and sources!
4. Cut the cord and save up that monthly savings
It can be scary to consider getting rid of your cable or satellite service. I know because I have been through it. But this can be a creative way to save lots of money. And with cable costs of $200 or more per month these days, you’re paying for a lot of channels that you just don’t ever watch. Typically, if you have 200 channel choices, you on average are watching no more than 15-20 on a regular basis.
A good HDTV antenna, which will pick up all your local channels, will cost you just $50 or so. And if you’ve got particular basic cable shows you love, they’re often available via streaming subscription services for as little as $10 per month. Can’t miss your favorite premium cable show? An increasing number of channels now have stand-alone subscriptions that don’t require any cable contract. My guess is you can easily save as much as $50 a month!
I am looking at my options right now and there is a great one from YouTube TV that is a really appealing choice. It offers 60+ channels (including your local ones) and live sports too for $40 a month with no cancellation fees and includes unlimited cloud DVR services!
5. Get a library card
Libraries often fall off people’s radar screen as they get older. Frankly, it might seem easier to order a book online or grab it at the store. But, if you’re an avid reader, a library card not only gives you the keys to an infinite number of worlds, but it can also be an easy way to save you money. And just for the record, you are already paying for that privilege in your local taxes, so why not benefit from that money?
As an added bonus, many library systems have annual fundraisers where they sell donated and older books, letting you continue to add to your own collection at home for unreal bargains. I have purchased some great ones here locally for “pennies” and I am not kidding! Every buck you don’t spend on a new book can go right into your savings account.
Here’s something you may not know. In most areas you can order your desired item online and it will be waiting for you when you get to the library, or reserved for you when it’s back in circulation! And that also applies to DVDs and music CDS too. In fact, most libraries offer ebooks and periodicals for download on their websites.
The library makes spending money on the arts seem almost wasteful! Every time you use your card, take the price of the item and deposit that into your savings account. Just one book, movie, or CD a month will add up to more than $100 a year!
6. Travel wisely—one deal can save you hundreds
We all want to get away every now and then or take an annual vacation every summer. Sometimes we can afford it and sometimes we just have to put it off until we can save up, right? But since getting from point A to point B isn’t cheap, if you like to travel you might have to do it on a budget. So my advice here is always search the internet for the best deals. This goes triple for airfares!
Many carriers offer last-minute deals on flights, which can help save money on airfares by 50% or more. Seriously, airfares can change dramatically by the hour and date. Checking discounted fares is readily available online so don’t just pick the one you see first and assume that they are all the same. It’s always changing and you should commit only when you are definite about your plans. Discounted fares can mean hundreds on savings!
You need to sign up for their email lists that provide a heads-up when airlines briefly and dramatically slash prices. A recent example I saw included slashed prices on flights to Bermuda and Paris by more than $200 from NYC on the same day.
As you can see, this isn’t brain surgery, but it is what so many of us have a very hard time doing. We use the excuse that we are just too busy or that we don’t know how or we forgot or some other lame excuse, but we all have the time to complain about our lack of saving it and all our money issues, that’s for sure. That’s why you need those baby steps. These six and lots more are out there and if you spend an afternoon making up your own plan, you will be taking a huge step to getting your money on the right track! Why not start today?
How successful have you been in saving money and making it a routine part of your life? Do you start and fail and then try again? Do you try at all? What ways have worked best for you and what advice can you give to others that may help?