It isn’t breaking news that you need to save money. That is one of the first financial lessons that everyone learns, yet it can be one of the hardest ones to follow. Extra money can be hard to come by for many, and it seems like every dollar that you make has already been spent in one way or another. Saving money, even when it is a goal that you are focused on, can be easier said than done at times.
However, it isn’t impossible. By using some simple techniques, and being disciplined about your habits, you can find some simple ways to save money and improve your financial situation. Most often, it is the simple tricks that are the most effective when trying to save money. You probably don’t have to make drastic changes to your lifestyle in order to start saving money. Rather, just pay attention to the details in your day to day life and make smart decisions.
To help you get started, consider using these three simple ways to save money and watch your bank account start to grow as a result.
Save Money by Having Dinner at Home
Dining out on a regular basis is one of the fastest ways to spend your money without really noticing it. Eating out is significantly more expensive than cooking dinner at home, and it is usually not as healthy, either. By making a habit of doing some weekly grocery shopping and preparing almost all of your meals at home, you can save quite a bit of money along the way. This is especially the case if you use coupons to save money as well as stick to a meal plan.
Not a great cook? The internet is an excellent resource of cooking tips and recipes, most of which can be found for free. After just a little practice, you might find that you enjoy your own food more than restaurant meals – and they will be cheaper as well. This doesn’t just have to be left to dinners only though, a 2013 study shows that Americans who eat out for lunch at least twice a week spend $1,000 per year.
If that is you, just imagine what you could do with an extra $1,000 per year. In my family that will pay for a vacation or by nearly 20% maxing out a Roth IRA. I’d much rather have the vacation or put extra money in my IRA as opposed to eating out for lunch, but that’s just me. 😉
Cut Out Unnecessary Monthly Expenses
Bills that come each month can start to be a drain on your bank account if you aren’t using the goods or service that those monthly expenses pay for. Common monthly bills that can be eliminated include gym memberships, newspaper subscriptions, expanded cable packages, rented storage space, and more.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should cut down all of these costs if you are actually getting your money’s worth. For example, if you use your gym on a regular basis, that is probably an expense that is worth keeping. However, if you only have a few items in your storage unit, you may be able to cut back on that and find a place around the house to store them – or even better sell them off! I’d much rather sell something I’m not using and make a little money while at it as opposed to spending more to keep crap I don’t need.
Eliminate Interest When Possible
Spending money on interest is particularly painful because you get absolutely nothing in return for it. Some interest, like that on a mortgage or even a car loan, is somewhat unavoidable for many of us. However, credit card interest can often be avoided entirely, and you will do yourself a big favor if you do so.
Make an effort to pay off your high-interest credit cards first so you can stop paying interest on them ASAP. Not only will this help you in terms of paying off debt quickly, but it will also give you more money to save for yourself in the future. When it comes down to it, when you’re in debt you’re only enslaving yourself to someone else. In the case of credit card debt, you’re simply financing things you want at rates that are astronomical. When it’s the case of a house, it can be argued that you’re getting something of value out of it. Beyond that, debt will generally serve you no good – especially if you’re looking to actually save money in the long run.
What are some other simple ways to save money? What is the strangest things you’ve done to save money?
Photo courtesy of: 401(k)2012