Stop Spending Money Unnecessarily!
So you’ve decided to cut back on spending and start saving. Good for you! Now you just have to figure out how to go about it.
You’ve probably heard it all by now: stop shopping, stop eating out, stop buying things you don’t need. But where to you start? How do you stop spending and start saving?
It’s hard but it’s not impossible. Here are 101 sneaky ways you haven’t thought of to spend less and save more.
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> Eating Out > Clothes > Coffee > Makeup > Alcohol > Online Shopping
> Groceries > Transportation > Credit Cards > Reduce Debt > Saving
It’s easy to get take-out when you’re having a busy day and don’t have the time to make dinner. Or maybe you really just don’t want to dream up something to make. For fun let’s say you eat out 5 times a week, lunch or dinner, and spend on average $10 per meal. That’s $2,600 a year! Even if you cut that in half you would be saving a lot of money. So here are some tips to keep that extra money in your pocket.
- Keep weekday meals simple to prepare. If it’s easy, you’ll more likely be willing to do it. Pinterest is a great resource for quick and simple meal ideas.
- Make enough food to have leftovers for the next day or two. Saves you money and has a meal already prepared for you!
- Keep emergency frozen meals on hand. For those nights you just can’t pick up a pot and make something, frozen meals will save the day. A great alternative to ordering out.
- Do it for one month. Commit to not eating out for one month. See how it goes and then you can know what to expect for the long term.
- Have treat meals. If you normally eat healthy, indulge in a meal that may have more carbs (or whatever you fancy). This keeps cravings for bad food low, which will make you want takeout less.
- Pack a lunch to work. It’s simple. Pack a lunch and save that extra $10.
- Plan out your meals. Making a list and planning out your meals is a tried-and-true way to save money. It helps you to not spend money on other foods you don’t need, and you won’t be thinking last minute what to make for dinner.
Clothes can be the ultimate temptation, especially if there’s a sale. Since it can be too hard to completely stop, here are some alternatives.
- Try exchanging clothes with friends. Swapping clothes with friends can be a fun and free way to get new clothes!
- Sell your old clothes. Try a selling your clothes to a store like Plato’s Closet or have a garage sale to earn some extra cash.
- Walk or bike to the store. Riding a bike or walking to the store will help you buy less because you can’t carry as much!
- Don’t buy gifts. Buying gifts can lead to buying things for yourself. Try to stay away from this as much as possible, or make DIY gifts instead. Plus it’s the thought that counts, so you can always plan a free activity to do with someone you want to buy a gift for instead.
- Take care of your clothes. If you’re buying clothes because you don’t take good care of your current clothes, change that! Wearing undershirts helps prevent sweat stains and can save you money in the long run.
- DIY. Learn sewing basics like how to sew a button so you can fix your clothes yourself.
- Coupons. Use coupon apps like coupon Sherpa to find awesome deals on clothes you’ll love.
- Cheap does not equal free. Just because there is a sale doesn’t mean you have to take advantage of it and buy something.
- Buy one, get rid of one. For every new item of clothing you buy, get rid of an old one. This helps you stop shopping to save the clothes you love.
- Go to garage sales. People will buy clothes, only wear them once, and sell them for dirt cheap at garage sales. You can find some great buys this way!
- If you’re gonna shop for clothes, shop out of season. Swimsuits are typically cheaper in the winter, and sweaters in summer.
Getting a $5 cup of coffee a day can certainly add up. Here are some tips to either break the habit, or drastically reduce your coffee spending.
- Stretch before work. Morning yoga is a natural energy booster. Stretching will improve your posture and blood flow.
- Workout in the morning. A morning workout is a natural alternative to get that same energy boost.
- Cold shower/drink cold water. Cold water will help your body burn more calories by bringing the water back up to body temperature. This is a great way to jump start your day.
- Use cash instead of credit. This will help you physically see the money go away, which is a reminder that you’re actually spending money and not just swiping a card.
- Make your own coffee at home. The average person spends nearly $15 on coffee a week. Save that money, make it at home.
- Download coffee apps. Level Up and Cups are both great ways to save some cash on that cappuccino.
- Buy whole beans instead of ground beans. Whole beans stay fresher longer. Enough said.
- Get black coffee instead of the fancy caramel frappe. It has more caffeine and is the cheapest (at it has practically zero calories). You’ll get the biggest (and healthiest) bang for your buck.
- Eat superfoods, stay hydrated, and get enough sun. All natural ways to get energy boosts without spending the dough.
You don’t need to spend a million to look a million. Here are some easy tricks to save more money but still get quality products.
- Make mascara last longer. Hot water gets the clumps out. For more tips click here.
- DIY Brush Cleaners. 1/2 olive oil, 1/2 dishwasher soap. Mix it together and voila!
- Cheap makeup removers. Simple, cheap, and easy. Directions here.
- Buy generic drugstore brands. The house brand has almost identical ingredients to its counterpart and it’s on average $5 cheaper.
- Invest in staples that can be used for multiple purposes. Check out some of these multi-use products that will save you money on buying a plethora of makeup products.
- Buy in bulk. It’s ultimately cheaper than buying individually and saves you trips to the store.
- Show loyalty to brands. You can get discounts and reward points with membership options.
- Stretch out your makeup. Carol Gee the author of Gilded Pearls: Vibrant Thoughts, Tips and Tidbits For A Full Life has this great tip: if you still have a lot of your lipstick remaining in the tube but can’t apply it, try using a toothpick and mix a small amount of petroleum jelly into the tube. Then use a lip brush to apply. It makes a lovely lip gloss!
Hanging with the friends at the bar can end up costing you a fortune. These simple tips are sure to make that NOT happen.
- Have social events at home instead of the bar. If you’re not at the bar it won’t be readily available to buy more. You can even have friends bring a bottle of something.
- Don’t drink at a restaurant. Restaurant beverages are exponentially overpriced. If you can handle it, wait to grab a drink somewhere else.
- Go to happy hour. It’s always cheaper.
- Buy it online. Use online stores like Zachys and Winefolder. Search for your favorite alcohol online with free shipping and you’ll find amazing deals every time.
- Use apps. Checkout 51 finds a coupon for what you bought and sends you a check with the difference. Feed finds the best deals at events going on nearby.
- Buy cheap. Most people can’t tell the difference between a $100 and a $10 bottle of wine. Read this if you don’t believe it.
- Don’t visit any wineries. Sometimes they will guilt trip you into buying some of their expensive wine. Enjoy your tasting and leave, or don’t go at all!
- Avoid monthly clubs. Every month you are getting a credit card charge. It’s cheaper to just go to the store every month and find a good deal.
You can buy virtually anything online, so you’re bound to shop online at least once in a while. Here are some saving tips.
- Don’t pay for shipping. Many retailers will offer free shipping for spending a certain amount. If that’s not an option then don’t spend the money at all.
- Use gift cards. Dig those gift cards out of your wallets and actually use them!
- Use coupons. You are likely to find a coupon for your product by searching online for a few minutes. The cheaper price is worth searching for.
- Set a time limit on how long you can be online for shopping. If you set a time limit for 30 mins of shopping online, you’ll stop yourself from spending hours online finding excuses to purchase that dress you’ve always wanted.
- Add an item to your cart but don’t buy it. If you don’t need something immediately, this is a perfect strategy for you. Some retailers will see that you were going to checkout but never finished and offer you a discount to lure you to make the purchase.
- Get discount codes from RetailMeNot and Honey. Honey finds coupons on products you are searching for, and RetailMeNot has thousand of coupons you can use towards your purchases. Both are great for finding coupons on the products that you want.
- Be patient for deals if you don’t need something right away. Wait for that Black Friday deal if you can, or use Savelist, which will notify you when a price drops so you can get things cheaper.
Groceries. It’s inevitably that we will always be spending money on groceries. Here are ways to spend less.
- Make a grocery list. This ensures that you only buy what you need and nothing more.
- Buy store brands. Often the store brand is the exact same product in a different package, and if not it’s of equal value.
- Look for sales and use coupons. Stock up when it’s on sale! If it’s produce, get the ones that aren’t ripe yet so they will last you longer.
- Don’t shop when you are hungry. Shopping hungry will make you have less self control. You’ll buy things you are hungry for that you don’t need.
- Use everything in your pantry. Use produce before it spoils and use canned goods before buying new ones. Don’t waste the food that’s already in your cupboard.
- Plan meals based on the sales and ads. Planning meals based around sales will clearly save you money.
- Take a picture of your receipt and use Ibotta and Savingstar to get cash back. These are both great apps that will give you cash back on your groceries. Check them out!
- Use self checkout lines. This causes you to buy less since you have to bag it yourself and the stalls usually have less room to bag groceries.
- Listen to your own music to go faster. Grocery stores play slow music to make you go slower which causes you to buy 29% more. Bring your own music to not get caught in this trick.
- Grow your own herbs. Gardening can produce lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Herbs can get expensive at the store so grow your own to keep that money in your wallet.
- Get frozen seafood. It’s cheaper. Frozen seafood can be as much as 40% less.
- Buy meat in bulk. Stores will charge less per pound the more you buy. If you can’t store a bunch of meat, split it with a family member or friend!
- Use a smaller cart. Grocery stores have created bigger carts for you to buy more. Get a smaller one and it will force you to buy less.
Those gas prices and taxi fares can add up. Luckily, we’ve found some perfect ways to save on the way to work.
- Carpool, carpool, carpool! Self-explanatory. Just do it!
- Shop around for the cheapest gas. Taking the extra minute to go to the gas station across the street that’s cheaper can save you lots of chedda’ in a year.
- Take care of your car. When driving, don’t start or stop fast. Easing up on the gas and giving yourself plenty of time to brake when possible will save you money in maintenance costs (and help you avoid an accident).
- Check every option for cheap airfare. Check all flights you can to get the cheapest one available. Plan ahead to book the cheapest days to fly. You can fly a day early or catch the redeye to get the cheaper price.
- Use public transit rather than cabs. Cabs are expensive and public transit is significantly cheaper. Don’t be afraid of taking the bus to work. You could even catch an Uber.
- Bike or walk to work if you are close enough. This is 100% free. Plus it will give you some great exercise!
- Keep tires full of air and your car tuned. Doing both of these things could save you $100 on gas a year.
Credit cards can be a trap that you just can’t get out of. The average household has $15,675 worth of credit card debt. Let’s cut that down by using these tips.
- Create a budget. Track where your money is going and what you are spending it on. Using money management apps like Mint makes it easy to get started.
- Spend less money than you have coming in. Don’t spend your whole paycheck if you don’t have to. Spend less money than you have coming in. You won’t get into debt, and you’ll create a great habit of saving.
- Keep a list of your debts in your wallet to remind you. This way every time you open your wallet, you’ll be reminded of why you shouldn’t be spending that money.
- Wrap your credit card with a sticky note of your goals. Jamie Novak, the author of Stop Throwing Money Away, says this will remind you of your goals and help you make better decisions on what to buy.
- Leave credit cards at home. If you leave them at home, you can’t use them!
- Have a no-spend day. Once or even multiple times a week have a day that you don’t spend anything you don’t need to. If you spend once, it can lead you to buy more.
- Lock up your credit cards. If you just can’t resist the urge, lock em’ up! Put them at the bottom of your laundry, the back of a cabinet or freeze it in a block of ice!
- Cut up your credit cards. Then you really can’t use them!
- Use your debit card. Can’t resist the plastic? Use a debit card instead. This way the money in your account has to be there before you can spend it.
- Crunch the numbers and look at how much you are spending on interest. Interest can add on years of more payments. Find out how much you are giving away just by being in debt and that will surely get you to see credit cards in a different light.
- 81. Remove your credit card information from your accounts. “By making yourself physically stand up, get your credit card, and type in all the information, you may have given yourself enough time to think the purchase through. Reduce the temptation to spend by removing your information.” – Patty Cathey, an investment advisor with Smart Retirement Plan.
Instead of spending money to make yourself get more into debt, spend that money towards your debt!
- Pay more than the minimum payment. If you have $15,000 in debt with a 15% APR it could take you over 13 years to pay that off. If you can, start paying more than the minimum. You’ll pay it off faster and pay much less interest in the long run.
- Pay your bills on time. “By doing this you can avoid penalties and interest, all of which accumulate if you don’t pay on time or don’t pay in full.” –Deborah Sweeney
- Get a seasonal/part-time job. A lot of companies hire during the holidays for the busy season. Get those jobs to earn a little extra cash to pay the debt off.
- Start an honesty system. A great idea, suggested by the folks over at PR Revolution, is to tell your coworkers what you bought or spent money on. Having to tell each other and creating an honors system in the office holds each other accountable and stops them spending where they don’t need to!
- Stop expensive habits. Do you HAVE to have that latte every morning? Or a bottle of wine every night? Those things add up. Figure out what your habits are that are costing you a lot of money and work on those.
- Create an emergency fund. Don’t use credit cards for emergencies. That will just keep you in more debt. Start growing a fund for unexpected expenses.
- Put extra cash towards your debt. Got a bonus at work? Great! Put it towards your debt to help pay it off faster. It may not be fun or exciting, but in the long run you will love yourself for doing it!
- Stop borrowing money. Focus on the debt you already have and don’t create more for yourself to worry about.
- Make a payment plan. Don’t forget to add your debt payments into your monthly budget. Make a plan to pay it off.
- Be aware of “passive spending.” Passive spending is draining money out of your account on things like subscriptions, penalties, auto-pay, etc. The CEO of Truebill, Yahya Mokhtarzada says to take inventory of your recurring subscriptions and see if there is a real cost benefit there, and to also be aware of what is coming out of your account automatically.
The average American doesn’t have enough in their savings to retire. Start saving now so you can live while you’re older without worrying about where you’re money is coming from!
- Record expenses. Writing down what you spend money on will help you remember what you need to cut back on.
- Put your money in a bank with a high APY. If your savings isn’t earning any money in your current bank, put it in a bank with a high APY. You can earn some serious cash far down the road by doing this.
- Cash back reward cards. This is an easy way to save money on everyday purchases. You can earn a percentage for every dollar you spend. These are some good options, but remember to pay off your balance in full each month to avoid paying interest.
- For every dollar you spend on luxuries, put a dollar in the bank. This will help you spend less money on luxuries (since you’d have to essentially spend double the amount). You will save more, too! Win-win.
- Save loose change. Those quarters and dimes in the couch cushions can add up. Keep a piggy-bank to hold them until you get to cash them in.
- Try the 52-week saving challenge. This is a simple and easy way to save. Save 1 dollar on day one, 2 dollars on day 2, etc. At the end of the challenge you will have saved $1,378!
- Save 10% of every paycheck. If you are budgeting to save, you’ll save. 10% isn’t a lot and can easily be done with most budgets!
- Evaluate the time-investment cost. If you make ten dollars an hour and something costs 50 bucks, see if it’s worth 5 hours of your time before making the purchase.
- Put the amount in cash that you want to spend for certain categories into physical envelopes. This is an easy and visual way to know how much to spend and stick to your budget. Any extra money that you didn’t put towards the budget can go in a savings envelope.
- Pay yourself first. Tal Frank at PhysiciansLoans says this is foolproof way to change the habit of spending money. First, set up a separate bank account for savings. Then have your employer direct deposit $100 per paycheck into the new savings account, with the remaining into your regular account. Genius!
Now that you have all these great tips, it’s time to put them to good use! Start your new lifestyle of spending less and saving more.