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13 Tips To Save Money Effectively
Nobody needs to be told that saving is an important part of managing personal finances. Whether you want money for those expensive purchases, need something to fall back on in case of an emergency, or you're thinking of retirement, taking a portion of your income and putting it aside as savings is fundamental to financial security.
Unfortunately saving can be particularly hard for those that don't earn a lot in the first place. But even if you are living week to week, there are steps you can take to improve the situation. It starts with honestly assessing your spending habits. No matter who you are, there's always somewhere that you can cut costs and be more efficient with your expenditures.
Remember, saving is still saving regardless of how small the amount. If you have the discipline to save a little during the bad times, you'll be more than ready to put money aside during the good times. As long as you start saving and get in to the habit, you're half way there.
Here are some simple things you can do to help you build up your savings pot:
1. Save For You, Nobody Else
While part of your desire to save will be to impress other people with your wealth, it is important that you stay grounded and do what's best for you and you only. Trying to "keep up with the Jones'" is only going to leave you in a worse financial situation than you are now. If you need to feel a sense of accomplishment set your own attainable goals.
2. Cut Out Lazy Purchases
It's so easy to stop off at the local coffeehouse or to use the coffee machine at work, but over the year those purchases are going to add up! Instead why not brew your own coffee and bring it to work in a flask? Likewise after a long day it's easy to stop off at a fast food place or restaurant instead of cooking dinner, but spending that extra hour preparing your own meal is one of the easiest ways to cut costs.
3. Make Your Own Lunch
In the same vein you could try bringing your own lunch to work instead of paying for a meal from a canteen or restaurant. Home prepared lunches always work out cheaper in the long run, even though you still obviously have to buy the food.
4. Don't Be Impulsive
Its easier said than done, but having discipline with what you buy is the key to getting your budget in order. Of course we all get impulsive from time to time, so one solution might be to allocate a small amount of money in your budget to impulse buys. This way you can fill that desire without going overboard.
If you do tend to be impulsive, try to stay away from the online stores!
5. Do You Need A Landline?
Unless you need it as part of your internet service, is there really any need to have a home phone line? The people who really need to contact you will have your cell phone number, and you probably won't be paying any extra by using your cell for all calls because nobody uses all of their minutes anyway.
6. Plan Trips To Save Gas
You'd be surprised how much money is wasted by taking multiple unneeded journeys in your car. Plan your weekly errands so you can get lots of things done in one or a few trips. For example dry cleaners day should also be grocery day.
7. Watch Your Energy Usage
Leaving you appliances plugged in, not switching off lights when you leave the room, and using old inefficient bulbs, are just a few ways you're keeping your energy bill needlessly high. Furthermore when it's hot opt to close the curtains and blinds and use a ceiling fan, instead of an expensive air conditioning system. Or in the winter wear more layers and keep doors closed, instead of using the heating system excessively.
8. Plan Your Meals In Advance
If you haven't properly planned your meals as part of your budget you may find yourself having to go to the store to get ingredients or replace items. This isn't efficient and will end up costing you money in the long run. Plan exactly what you're going to eat for a given period and try your best to use leftovers to cover lunches and snacks.
9. Always Have A Grocery List
Echoing the above point, everything you buy should be budgeted and all shopping trips should be based on a pre-planned list. If you shop off the top of your head you're prone to overspending and to forget items that you have to go back for at a later date. You should also keep your eye out for special offers or items you can buy in bulk to make savings.
10. Consider Cutting Cable
Cable TV isn't what to used to be. There are now a myriad of different online streaming solutions that allow you to watch your favorite shows and great films at a fraction of the cost. Check with your family to see what everyone is likely to watch and see if you can cover these with streaming services at a cheaper cost than cable.
11. Use The Library
Although the debate is now often about buying real books vs eBooks, who said you had to buy them at all? Libraries still exist and many are now happily embracing digital delivery as well. You can also use a library to rent newspapers and magazines, which can help you cut out costly subscriptions.
12. Entertain Yourself For Free
Not all entertainment and leisure activities have to cost you money. Any given city across the country is bustling everyday with music, events and educational activities that don't cost a penny. Think about these before paying for a ticket and popcorn at the cinema. Likewise you don't need a gym membership to go jogging.
13. Use Banking Apps
You can easily overspend or go overdrawn at your bank if you don't keep a close eye on your transactions. Most banks now allow you to access your account on the go with a smart phone app, so there's no excuse for not monitoring your finances.
When you think about saving money it can seem daunting or almost impossible, but once you break it down in to steps you'll realize just how many costs you can cut.