If you want to save money today you need to get creative as simply setting aside a part of your salary regularly is extremely difficult. In fact, nearly 80% of American workers live from paycheck to paycheck.
This means that saving up the “traditional” way is impossible for them. But this doesn’t mean that you should turn to extreme and sometimes ridiculous money saving methods, like replacing toilet paper with old newspapers (really, some people suggest that). Instead, use clever tips for more efficient money management.
10 Clever Ideas for Saving Your Money in the Modern World
1. Become an app whizz
Do you have a smartphone? If you do, you must have some of the top money-saving apps that exist today. Get cashback with Ebates or iBotta, earn rewards with Shopkick, and otherwise exploit every money-saving opportunity the digital world has to offer.
The cashback apps are particularly beneficial, so start with those. You will need to spend a while researching the wide range of available solutions so you can pick the ones that will be most efficient in your case.
2. Lay off the coupons
It’s true that coupons can be a good money-saving tool, but only when used sparingly and efficiently. But in the majority of cases they only motivate you to overspend.
Have you ever caught yourself thinking that you should buy that thing that you have a coupon for even if it’s not essential for you right now? But you don’t want to let the coupon go to waste, right?
That’s how they work and why you should practice restraint when dealing with coupons and other kinds of discounts.
3. Use a home warranty plan
Unexpected and huge repair bills are a major reason why you might need to spend all your carefully saved up money, so it’s wise to avoid them. Buying a home warranty plan can help you do just that as it will cover the bulk of the repair cost for a comparatively small annual fee.
But bear in mind that there are hundreds of home warranty providers and many of them are unreliable. You should choose the companies that are only available in the USA, or in whatever country you live in, and have a good reputation on local consumer forums, like Yelp and Google Reviews. Also check the company’s rating and complaint history with the Better Business Bureau.
4. Calculate the yearly total of every recurring expense
Spending $25 a week on snacks might not seem that much until you think about the fact that it sums up to about $1,300 a year. It’s the same for every recurring expense, it always adds up to something much bigger than what you expect.
Therefore, rethink your spending right away and do the calculations. Do you really need all that stuff that seems cheap?
5. Think of prices in hours of work
Similar to the method above, calculate how much you make an hour and think about how much work everything costs you.
Is a cup of Starbucks coffee worth an hour of work?
6. Decide what you are willing to pay before you go shopping
The reality is such that things in the stores are often overpriced. Therefore, you should make a list of the items you need to buy every time before you go shopping and decide how much exactly you are ready to pay for them. This works exceptionally well for clothes shopping in particular.
Then, say if you decide you are willing to pay $25 for the shirt, if you see one you like for $50, you exercise your willpower and move on to the next store.
7. Separate your purchases in a grocery store
Go grocery shopping with a cart and separate your purchases putting those on the list into the cart and any forgotten or impulse purchases into the baby carrier section of it.
Examine your cart before you go paying for the items and put at least two of the “additional” things back on the shelves.
8. Invest in LED lights
LED lightbulbs aren’t cheap, but this investment will save you a lot of money in the long run. This is because these lighting fixtures use over 75% less energy. Now, imagine how much of a difference this will be for your energy bills.
If replacing all bulbs is impossible for you now, do it one by one, starting with the rooms where you use lighting the most.
9. Never buy any big thing right away
Wait at least a day before making a big purchase. The exact definition of “big” will depend on your personal situation. If you are in the maximum savings mode, you should apply the same principle to all non-essential purchases.
Only buy if after a day and a night’s waiting you still think you must have that item.
10. Have a No Spend Weekend every month
No Spend Weekends are a great way to cut your expenses greatly. Plan a walk to the park or a hike for these days and you’ll see that you can have fun even without spending any money.