The older I get, there is nothing I love more than saving money. Perhaps it is directly related to the fact that I need to use my own money as an adult to survive day-to-day, but nonetheless, saving money has become a new hobby of mine.
Saving money isn’t shiny and glamorous. I don’t have a camera crew following me throughout the store as I shop and spend coupons, and I definitely haven’t won the lottery and made millions. The simple act of saving money day-to-day isn’t glamorous to the masses, but to me, it makes me quite happy to see that I can keep my spending in check.
The easiest way to save money is to look at all areas of your life and assess your day-to-day spending. What do you find you’re spending the most on? Is there a way to spend even less money or cut that expense completely? By thoroughly assessing my spending, hobbies and habits, I was able to cut down or eliminate costs. Some of these were simple and required no brain power at all, others took a little more time and planning. Below is a list of 15 things I’ve done to either reduce or eliminate costs out of my day-to-day spending.
1. Pay off your credit cards to eliminate paying interest
Interest is a money sucking vortex. You never see that money again! This in no way benefits you to spend this money! This also applies to other loans and payments requiring interest. Pay off the principal as soon as you can to avoid forking over extra money that absolutely adds no value to your life.
2. Stop buying takeaway coffee everyday
This was the simplest thing I did to cut down on day-to-day spending. Simply make your coffee at home and either enjoy it before you leave or put it in a travel mug. Once you sit down and do the math and see how much money you’re throwing away on the daily coffee it becomes easier to let that expense go.
3. Make your own lunches
Cannot stress this enough. You don’t realize how much money you’re spending until you sit down and account for the groceries you’ve already purchased in addition to the daily lunch you’re paying for. Average lunches can range from $5-30 depending on what you’re eating, and can add up quickly if you make it a daily habit. Limit purchasing lunch to one day a week (as a treat) or completely going homemade to cut your costs.
4. Flyer browse before you shop
I used to work at a grocery store and out of convenience would pick up products on my way home. I never consulted other sources, nor did I really look too much at other stores. You may find yourself a better deal if you flyer browse beforehand. Check out the weekly sales or simply browse the price of the item within the store. You may find another store carries an item cheaper at regular price than the current store you shop at. It takes a little more research but there is no need to pay more for a product you can buy cheaper somewhere else.
5. Go to the library
I do enjoy purchasing books to bring home and to have for whenever I need a guaranteed good read, but if you’re an avid reader like myself it isn’t feasible to purchase every single book brand new. Check out your local library for books to read. They have magazines, DVDs, and often have new books that are currently hot on the market on their shelves (they may require a wait list to read, but they’re free).
6. Call your phone company to adjust your plan
Often times by calling your phone company you may be able to negotiate a better plan for yourself, especially if you’re a loyal customer. When you go to the kiosk, the workers there don’t always have the authority to make big changes. Customer service reps over the phone have more wiggle room when it comes to adjusting plans and making changes.
7. Buy generic
Most stores carry their own brand name of food, and these often come cheaper than the brand name items. Generic really isn’t much different from the bigger brands. The company of the store pays the brand name companies to make the food for the generic brand, often using the same ingredients, at a cheaper cost to you. When you can, buy generic to limit your costs.
8. Carpool/bus/walk to work
To save money on gas, start or join a carpool with people you work with! Or, if you’re able to, walk or bus to work. You would be amazed at the amount of money you save on gas, especially if you find yourself having a far distance to go, or are sitting in traffic for long periods of time (literally just wasting gas). Often, cities with excellent transit systems have bus only lanes, which can buy you time if your regular route home has a heavy flow of traffic.
9. Limit number of drinks when out for dinner
You’re already spending quite a hefty amount when you’re going out to dinner before you calculate alcohol into the equation. Instead of ordering several drinks when out, stick to one or wait until after dinner to go home and have a drink.
10. Make your own wine
If you’re an avid drinker of wine like myself, you may find yourself leaning more towards making your own wine. Although you must pay for the batch upfront, you save yourself more money in the long run as it works out to an average price of $3 a bottle (depending on the type of wine you want to make). Although initially pricey, you save anywhere from $7+ a bottle.
11. Shop the sales
If you really want a particular item, and it’s too pricey for your budget, try to wait it out for the sales. Although this can be difficult and requires patience, you may end up saving yourself a whole bunch of money. This will also help determine if the item is really something you want and or need, as you will be more willing to hold out if it is something you really want.
12. Shop refurbished/open box
For electronics this is specifically helpful. Open box items (someone has opened the box and returned it) or refurbished items are items that are not considered new anymore, and are discounted from the original price. You must check the websites/stores frequently as there is no guaranteed number, but you may be able to save yourself quite a bit of money. These items also often come with a warranty that keeps the item under protection (retailer dependent).
13. Sell items before purchasing new items
This can mean a variety of things, but some stores have trade-in opportunities for your old items. For example, electronic stores may take back old electronics that are still in good condition in exchange for store credit, which is perfect if you are planning on purchasing something else. Sell items you no longer use such as books, furniture and items on online platforms designed for secondhand items. You can either keep the cash and put it into savings or use it towards a new purchase you were planning on making.
14. Shop at department stores
If you’re looking for something you should check out the department stores in your area before heading to the stores. Often you can find brand name items at a discount. From books to makeup to kitchen appliances to clothes, you may find exactly what you’re looking for! Definitely worth checking out before shelling out full price!
15. Take advantage of daily specials
Whether you’re going out to eat or looking for a sale before you go out shopping, check your email for a coupon or check a restaurant’s deals for the day before heading out. Often stores and restaurants have daily deals and discounts on specific items or meals. This can be a great way to still head out while saving yourself a chunk of money!
There are hundreds of money-saving tips you can come across through the internet, chatting with friends and my personal favourite, Pinterest. At the end of the day, saving money comes down to consistency and effort. You may very well stumble upon a deal, but it is better to go into shopping prepared with a deal. Consistency is what is going to get you up and making yourself that coffee or lunch for the day. So I’m challenging you to assess your spending habits and look at what areas of your life you can improve!
Did you find these tips helpful? Is there a major tip I’m missing? Let me know in the comments!