Everybody would like to have an unlimited supply of money.
I know I would.
‘Unlimited’ is kind of unrealistic, though. But having a money plan to build up to having a lot of money is not unrealistic.
Here’s a good way to think about money
- Spend less money than you earn
- Try to stay out of debt that’s not tied to an asset
- Make plans to develop sources of passive money
There are only two ways to end up with more money at the end of the month.
You can spend less than you normally do and/or you can earn more than you normally do.
I am going to help you with both of those. And both of these should be your financial strategy going forward.
Here are 16 tips for how to save money by reducing your expenses. You might not want to do all of them, but doing any of them will help save you some money and leave more in your pocket.
The list is in no particular order.
Get gas for your car in the morning.
Why? Because gas expands with heat. If you fill up the car in the morning before the gas expands, you will actually get more gas for the same price.
Get a Gas Buddy Card for $0.05 off every gallon of Gas
The Gas Buddy App for your phone has a card that will work at approximately 95% of the gas stations in the USA. It is not itself a bank debit or credit card, but when you sign up with Gas Buddy, you link it to your bank debit card. At the gas station you pay with your Gas Buddy card, the money gets debited from your regular bank debit card and you get 5 cents off every gallon of gas. If you have a 12 gallon tank you’ll usually get about $0.50 – $0.60 off with each fill up. Its not a lot, but over the course of the year you’ll save about $35 just for using it…. and there is no cost to you.
Check out the Gas Buddy Card
Disclaimer: The Gas Buddy card will not work at Costco gas stations.
Don’t buy name brands at the grocery store.
These days almost all grocery stores have their own brands that are almost always cheaper than the big name brands.
A can of Bush’s Black Beans costs about $1.29 at Safeway and the same size can of black beans sold under the Safeway brand (Signature) costs $0.89.
You might think that the store brand doesn’t taste as good, its not the same quality, etc… but black beans are black beans are black beans.
I’ve tried store brands now for almost everything and they are every bit as good as the more expensive name brands.
Cancel your TV cable
I almost hate including this because so many people have already gotten rid of cable TV. But on the chance that you still pay for cable TV, try cancelling it and view your programming elsewhere.
If you like watching the local news, get a TV antenna at Target or Walmart. The reception is really good with these new antennas. You’ll be able to continue watching all the local channels.
If you like TV shows you can try getting Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Firestick or Google Chromecast to see most of the shows that you’re used to. For instance, you could get an inexpensive subscription to Sling TV and stream it through the devices above and you’d be able to view many of the same shows that you like on cable.
I cancelled my cable about 4 years ago and haven’t missed it at all. I don’t even watch Netflix anymore. I realized I was wasting a lot of valuable time just watching TV and so now when I want to watch something, I find almost everything I watch on YouTube.
I actually end up watching a lot of ‘How To’ videos so rather than just be entertained, I am actually (I hope) improving myself.
Get a cash back credit or debit card
These days the cash back offers are everywhere. Take advantage of that and get money back… usually once a year.
Cash back credit cards are more common than debit cards. But there are several banks that offer the cash back debit cards
For cash back debit cards, check out this site that lists 15 of them.
The one I like best is: Green Dot 5% Cash Back Visa Debit
There are many cash back credit card offers. The one I use is a Citibank Costco cash back card.
Do a quick search for them and read the detail, then choose the best fit for you.
Banks charge obscene fees for just about everything. It getting harder to find one that doesn’t charge checking account fees.
I realize that these days banks are so integrated into our daily lives that it makes moving to a new bank very difficult. But its worth the effort.
Two years ago I moved from Bank of America to BBVA Compass and am completely happy with them. They have not charged me any fees, ever.
If you don’t live in a BBVA Compass area, and there are no brick and mortar banks without fees where you live, try a credit union. Many of them will not have fees.
BMO Harris Bank also has a free checking account with no minimum balance.
Online banks are more likely to not have fees, but sometimes you need to run to the bank for something like depositing cash.
A few online banks with no fees:
Find Alternative places to Buy What You’re Looking For
If you don’t mind looking around for something, you can find it much cheaper with a little work.
For example, I wanted a small chest of drawers to put in a hallway. My first thought was IKEA since they are usually pretty cheap. But then one day someone mentioned that they found great stuff at the local Goodwill place, and it was like new. You can find the same things you’re looking for but at 1/4 of the price as when its new.
Depending on the items you’re looking for you might want to check out govdeals.com
This is a government auction website that sells surplus and confiscated items.
Don’t just think Amazon has the cheapest price for something. Check out Aliexpress too.
Check out Craigslist for things too. I bought an almost brand new bike that sells for about $500 for only $100.
Use Honey in your Browser
Honey is a cool brower extension that will look for coupons online and automatically applies the best one if it finds them. It works during the online checkout process and the best thing is you don’t have to look for them.
Don’t buy a book, borrow it
Use the public library. Its free to join and you can look online for books at your county library and get them sent to your nearest branch. You can even download them to your device if your library has that service.
Buy a Water Filter or filtration system
Most municipal water tastes nasty. If you are lucky enough to live in a place with really good tap water, I’m happy for you. But most of us don’t. Bottled water is really expensive so in the long run you’ll save money (and hassle) by buying a filter and filtering your own tap water.
If you can’t afford a filter right now, then at least use the filtering machines that a lot of grocery stores have outside their front doors.
If you use the outside machines the gallon jugs will cost about $0.30 as opposed to $1.25 inside the store.
The water from these machines tastes every bit as good as the water sold inside the store.
Shop Around for Car Insurance
Never just accept that you’ve got the cheapest rate in car insurance. You might have the cheapest, but every time you have to renew your plan, call around and make sure. I know its a hassle, but you might be able to reduce it a lot and get the same coverage. Its worth the effort.
Reduce the meat in your diet
Did you know that meat is really expensive for what you get? And you don’t need to eat the amount of meat to be healthy that most of us eat. If you can scale back a little bit you will save yourself some money. Eat it once a day, instead of at every meal. If you really love animal protein, then eat more eggs. Or, alternatively, reduce the quantity of meat instead at each meal… either way you’ll spend less on groceries.
Stay Away from the Mall
Many people spend money because they’re sad. I get it. There are times in life when you want to feel loved and you think no one does. Buying new clothes makes you feel like you’ll be more attractive: a new you.
But shopping can become a habit… something to do on a saturday afternoon because you’re bored.
The best way to avoid spending money you really don’t need to spend is to avoid the temptation. If you don’t see all the fancy new styles and brands, you won’t think to yourself that you ‘really need this’.
Check your cell phone plan to make sure its the cheapest
Last summer I was with Verizon. My cell phone bill was $102.97 a month. This included a $35 monthly payment for the phone. I had been thinking that there MUST be a cheaper plan out there, but I thought I couldn’t really switch until I had paid off the phone.
One evening, while driving around, I saw a T-Mobile store and thought… ‘I’ll just go in and ask if they have cheaper plans, and if they do, then when I pay off the phone at Verizon, I’ll switch.’
What a good decision that turned out to be.
When I walked in, the T-Mobile salesperson told me they would pay off my phone, and I could get an unlimited data plan for $53 including all the taxes and fees. They paid off my phone (I owed approximately $600), and my monthly bill went immediately from $102.97 to $53 a month.
Cell phone plans change all the time, so it pays to shop around.
Eat Out Less during the Month
I don’t like cooking. So it was very easy for me to fall into the trap of eating out. I only really stopped because I wanted to lose some weight. I knew that if I ate at home I had more control over the ingredients.
So I stopped buying sandwiches for lunch and eating out every dinner. I stopped ordering pizza.
I started making my own food at home and I discovered its not that bad to cook sometimes. Even though my grocery bill went up, my eating out bill went down and I have a net savings. (Probably a net savings of around $50 – $75 /mo, maybe more).
Drop the Gym Membership
Gym memberships can be fun, but they also can be costly. They can be anywhere from $19 – $100 /mo. But aside from the membership itself, you usually have to drive there and lets be honest… you don’t go as often as you’d like to.
You could instead buy a bench and some free weights and dumbells at Wal-mart and walk/run everyday for cardio. You could really do push ups and other inside exercises on your own and achieve similar results.
Unless you run with a friend, you may miss the gym ‘inspiration’ but on the other hand you never need to be embarrassed again at how out of shape you are compared to everybody else!! 🙂