Life can get expensive. You have to pay for food, housing, clothes, utilities, and more. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you might even want to have a little fun in your spare time—who would have thought?!
If only it were easier to save money (and no, putting it in a money clip wallet and hoping it multiplies is not going to do the trick). Instead, try these six tips for easy savings.
#1 Don’t Auto-Save Your Credit Card Number
Seems deceptively simple, doesn’t it? But when that absolutely-unnecessary (but admittedly very stylish) pair of shoes is staring back at you from your online shopping cart, you’ll think twice before getting off the couch and rifling through your wallet to find your debit or credit card.
It won’t stop you from punching in those 16 digits, but it’ll at least create a bit of a barrier between you and a midnight shopping spree.
#2 Capitalize on Online Coupons & Savings
Do you ever stare at the “Enter Promo Code” field on your computer screen, imagining all the really good deals you’re missing out on? They’re out there somewhere. And some other person has the code. Let’s face it, they probably deserve 20% off way less than you do.
If that didn’t fire you up, who knows what will?
Instead of feeling helpless, download the free browser extension for Honey automatic coupons. You’ll never have to feel the agony of an empty “Do you have a coupon?” box ever again.
#3 Refillable Water Bottle
The average American spends $100/year on bottled water. Here’s the great news: you don’t need it! Filtered (and in most places, even unfiltered) tap water is perfectly good and costs you 100% less than constantly buying plastic bottles.
Invest in a durable stainless steel water bottle and you’ve easily saved yourself $100 each year. The upfront cost of the bottle will make its way back to you in no time—not to mention the positive effect you’ll have on the environment. Priceless, isn’t it?
#4 Homemade Coffee or Tea
One easy way to keep money in the bank each morning is to skip the Starbucks line in favor of a home-brewed pot of coffee or a cup of tea.
That $4.50 each day adds up quickly. In fact, you’ll be saving $1,642 each year, minus the small cost of purchasing bulk tea bags or a single-serve Keurig machine and refill cups.
#5 Take Time to Contemplate Purchases
Online shopping is so easy—almost too easy. Some purchases seem like a good idea in the moment but are ultimately unnecessary.
Use these two rules to help curb your impulse spending:
- 24-Hour Rule – For minor purchases, wait a full day before clicking the “Finalize Order” button. If you wake up the next morning having realized you don’t need it, you’ve saved a couple of bucks. If you still want it, then you know it’s worth it.
- 30-Day Rule – For major purchases, like large-scale appliances or a new car, write down the item you want and how much it costs, then give yourself an entire month to let the idea marinate. When you come back to that piece of paper, you’ll know whether or not you want or need it bad enough to follow through.
Another mental trick is to calculate how many hours you’d have to work to buy the item you want, and how many hours of enjoyment you’ll get out of it. Is this flat-screen TV that I’ll use for the next five years’ worth 80 hours of work? Probably. Is this luxury dress that I’ll wear once or twice over the holidays worth 35 hours of my time? Maybe not.
Don’t worry, you can still stay stylish on a budget. It’s all about your priorities. If it’s worth it to you, then go for it! If not, maybe wait for the next big thing that catches your eye and reconsider.
#6 Public Transportation, Carpooling, Walking, Etc.
Of course, you’re not going to walk four hours in the morning to get to work, and you can’t always take the bus depending on where you’re going. But sometimes you can—and in those times, you should. Transit is affordable, eco-friendly, and usually pretty convenient.
If you’re meeting a friend for coffee or lunch, consider carpooling instead of taking separate cars. That way, you’ll save on gas and parking. If you take turns driving, you’ll both save money in the long run.
Take Baby Steps Towards Your Savings Goal
Saving money can be hard, especially when you have so many essential purchases to make every day. Choose one or two things off this list to get you started on your path to financial independence.
You may not be able to get a discount on your mortgage payment or car insurance, but you can save on lattes and water—over time, even the little things add up!