We’re going to keep it simple – nothing but easy money-saving tips. As you use these tips in your life, the savings will add up. I wouldn’t be surprised if you manage to save thousands of dollars in just 1 year. Of course, this involves a little work on your part. But those thousands of dollars saved have provided many people with a way out of debt… Or to pay off their car loan.
1. Cook at home as often as possible
If no one in your relationship works at home, cooking every day can be complicated. Start by cooking a meal at home once a week. Then increase the frequency little by little. You need to find a balance between saving money and adding stress to your life.
2. Make your own coffee
Don’t underestimate the impact that buying a daily coffee can have on your budget in the long run. You don’t have to stop drinking coffee forever! But prevent too much of it from coffee shops or the vending machine – unless you make it yourself at home.
3. Make your lunch at home at least a few times a week
If your work cafeteria provides it, bring your “homemade” food in a few times a week. If this is not possible, try to keep a balance between networking and saving money. For example, you could bring your lunch 2-3 times a week to eat alone. And the rest of the time you can go out to eat.
4. Make a list before you go shopping
Compulsive shopping is very common in supermarkets.
Why? Because human beings have a hard time resisting little extras when shopping. Without a list, you’re likely to shop for items you don’t need. Worse, you may even forget to shop for the item you came to the store for. If you are going to prepare your meals at home, plan your menus and make a list before you go shopping. Shopping in one sitting prevents useless trips and the temptation to shop compulsively.
5. Shop when you are pressed for time
Maybe you have a cocktail party coming up. Or your favorite show is going to be on TV in two hours. It’s during this short downtime that you should try to squeeze in a trip to the supermarket. With your shopping list in hand, you should be out the door faster than usual. And that’s without having time to wander the aisles and be tempted by useless purchases.
6. Pay attention to the expiration dates of your perishables
It sounds obvious when you read it… But I’m surprised by how many people don’t pay attention to expiration dates. There’s no point in shopping for fresh milk if it’s going to go bad in a few days. The same goes for meat, eggs, frozen foods, pastries, etc. Also, consider choosing products at the back of the shelf rather than the front. Why? Because supermarkets want to sell products with short expiration dates first.
7. Shop in bulk as often as possible
For non-perishable items, consider shopping in bulk whenever you come across a promotion. Examples of items you can shop for in bulk are cereals, canned goods, rice, dried beans, and pasta… And of course, hygiene products such as toothpaste, shower gel, shampoo, toilet paper, etc.
8. Shop for generic brands as often as possible
Does it really matter if your cereal is Kellogg’s or your supermarket brand? It doesn’t matter if your yogurt is a Yoplait or a private label. Test the cheaper products and make up your own mind. In most cases, you won’t be disappointed and you’ll save money easily.
9. Recycle your shopping bags into garbage bags
This tip doesn’t work if you use a large trash can at home. But if you have a regular-sized one, use the bags from the supermarket as trash bags. Not only does this provide savings, but it also reduces your environmental footprint. Last but not least, you reduce the bad odors in the kitchen due to a big overflowing garbage bag. Oh, I forgot! No more problem taking the bag out of the garbage can.
10. Pay your bills on time to prevent late payment penalties
Get organized to pay your recurring bills on time. If possible, set up direct debits. In addition, some banks offer a free bill payment service. So there’s no excuse for not paying your bills on time and incurring late payment penalties. Forgot to pay a bill and this is the first time it’s happened to you? Call the supplier and politely ask to have the penalties removed. Chances are you will be granted this.
11. Monitor your current account and prevent overdraft
Do you use your current account often and have your bills paid by direct debit? Then monitor your balance at least once a week. It prevents you from having to pay agios for nothing.
12. Prevent ATM withdrawal fees
Beware of bank fees when you withdraw money with your credit card. Most banks charge a fee when you use an ATM that is not part of their network. Withdraw money only at your bank’s ATMs. Or make a withdrawal directly at your branch.
13. Prevent chargeable credit cards
Today, many online banks offer free credit cards. So there’s no reason to have to pay for yours. Check with your bank to make sure they don’t charge you an annual fee. If they do, ask for a business gesture by suggesting that you might switch banks. If that doesn’t work, change banks… And make a few dozen euros in the process.
14. If possible, deactivate your landline
If you don’t have kids at home, it’s very likely that you can survive without a landline. Using your cell phone should suffice.
15. Borrow your books from the library instead of buying them
If possible, borrow your books instead of buying them. Your library membership is free and the collections are often well-stocked. In some cities, books can be reserved online. And if a book isn’t available, you can request that it be transferred from another library to yours.
16. If you need to shop for books, consider used books
Used books don’t give the same pleasure as a new book with pages still crackling. But remember, you can shop for a used book for almost half the price of a new one. It’s a small sacrifice that’s worth it, right? Ask around to see if there is a used bookstore in your town. For textbooks, search online classifieds.
17. Compare prices before you shop for an expensive item
For expensive items, look online and compare prices before you shop. Check out Amazon. Because they often offer very competitive prices and they have a huge catalog of products.
18. Wait 2 days before making a purchase
Whenever you feel like shopping for something, make it a habit to wait 2 days before you check out. Most items seem essential at the time. But they are not if you wait only 2 or 3 days. Plus, by giving yourself a cooling-off period, you have more time to compare prices and get a good deal.
19. Bottle your own water
Drinking water is good for you. Make it a habit to always have water on hand at the office. Having a water bottle with a cap is the most convenient. No risk of spilling water on the computer. That said, shop for bottled water only occasionally. And reuse the bottle by filling it with tap water. If tap water isn’t for you, invest in a Brita water filtration system. It will cost you a lot less than shopping for bottles every day.
20. Avoid food vending machines
Most items sold in vending machines have a huge markup. And they’re unhealthy too. On the other hand, if you feel the need to snack at the office… Consider bringing in snacks and storing them in a small stash. Do you like to drink sodas and there is a refrigerator at your workplace? Consider putting a pack in the fridge and sticking a post-it note with your name on it.
21. Keep your car as long as possible
If possible, try to keep the same car for as long as possible. Calculate the money you spent on repairs to your car. Compare it to the monthly payment on a new car. Choose to keep your old car as long as the repair costs are low.
22. Get your car serviced on time
Don’t forget to change your engine oil regularly. Don’t forget to check your tire pressure. Consult your car’s owner’s manual to find out what type of gasoline to use. Prefer to use a better quality diesel or gasoline even if it is a little more expensive at the pump. These small gestures will significantly extend the life of your car. And they will provide you with many years of use.
23. Prevent buying a new car
Finally, decide to buy a new car? Why not choose a used car? A new car depreciates as soon as you leave the dealer’s lot. Is the smell of a new car really worth thousands of Euros more? Used cars that are not too old and with low mileage are the best deals you can make. Regardless of your choice of purchase, learn to negotiate with your dealer.
24. Ride a bike or carpool whenever possible
There are cities where it is very difficult to survive without a car. That said, just because you have a car doesn’t mean you have to use it daily. If possible, ride your bike or find a colleague to carpool with. Not only will you save on fuel, but you’ll also reduce your environmental footprint.
25. If you shop a lot of DVDs, subscribe to a video-on-demand site
A subscription to a video-on-demand site like Netflix can save you a lot of money. Especially compared to buying DVDs regularly or renting them! If you’re patient and your media library offers it, try borrowing DVDs. There’s nothing very recent, but at least it’s free.
26. If you like going to the movies, go in the morning
Instead of paying more than 10 $ for a seat, try to go before, in the morning. That’s when the seats are cheaper. Prevent the temptation to shop for popcorn or snacks by going to the movies right after lunch. Or, bring your own snacks into the purse.
27. Reduce your electricity consumption
Unplug your electrical appliances completely when you’re not using them. Unplugging the TV instead of just turning it off can save a lot of electricity! When you are not in a room, remember to turn off the lights. Use a programmable thermostat to control your heaters. If that’s too much for you, at least know how much each appliance uses. And unplug some of them as soon as possible.
28. Plan your vacation in advance
Vacations are essential to keep from going crazy with our stressful lives. But, vacations are also a huge purchase on the family budget. You can greatly reduce the cost of your vacation by planning and booking well in advance. Bookmark travel sites to find cheaper tickets, hotels, etc., and book at least 2 weeks in advance.
29. And finally, keep your high-roller friends at bay
Do you have high-spending friends? They buy a new car every two years and have huge TV screens at home. Do they have every electronic gadget imaginable? They dine at a Michelin-starred restaurant three times a week and live far beyond their means. Keep them at a distance. They’re probably very nice and caring. But hanging out with these types of people can lead to a lot of useless needs and discontent. What’s more important: your friends or having peace of mind? Make saving money a reflex in your daily life, even if it’s only a few euros. Over time, all that money saved will add up to considerable savings. Of course, you don’t have to follow all these tips in the letter. Just pick the ones that seem feasible and try to make them a habit. Then see if you can add some new ones to your daily routine.
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