With the day-to-day costs of almost every essential commodity from food to petrol hitting the roof, it has now become imperative for the man on the street to take steps to conserve his financial resources and save money wherever possible.
While this does not imply living a hand-to-mouth existence by any means, it does however lend credence to the adage – A penny saved, is a penny earned.
28 Best Ways to Save Money
Below is a checklist of 28 best & fast ways to save money that we can implement in our everyday life. But do remember that none of these tips are life-changing on their own, but are designed to make a lot of difference over time) if done collectively.
The first way to save money is to make a budget for meeting your monthly expenses. One easy way to do it is to follow the popular 50:30:20 rule.
Here you divide your after-tax income, allocating 50% for spending on needs, 30% on wants and the balance 20% to your savings account.
You could do it on paper or use various online applications like Excel spreadsheet, Google docs for daily budget etc.
Following this plan will enable you to spend money cautiously because you are less likely to surpass your fixed budget allocation.
2. Leave the credit card at home
Well! If you have become addicted to your credit card to pay for your shopping binges, then its best to leave it at home. If not, you will find yourself compelled to make impulse purchases – or buying things that you don’t really need.
Not only will this add a huge amount to your monthly expenses but will also clutter your home with things you will rarely use.
3. Observe the 10-second rule
Whenever you randomly pick up an item while out shopping, do stop for 10 seconds at the checkout counter and ask yourself — “Why am I buying this item? Do I really need it?
If you can’t find a good answer to both, just leave the item back where you found it. This will help you cut down on your impulse purchases and save you a lot of cash in the process.
4. Save money on electricity bills
Believe it or not, you can actually save a lot of money while paying your electricity bills.
This is not to say that you stop paying them altogether. But you could reduce the amount you pay substantially by using power wisely.
For example, switch off the AC when you leave the room, try drying your clothes out in the sun instead of using the drier – which tends to guzzle power.
Keep the lights turned off during the day when there is plenty of natural sunlight around. Try it and you may be surprised with the money you end up saving.
5. Use Coupon & Cashback sites for shopping
One of the fast way to save money while shopping online is through coupons. Almost all the online merchants provides coupons and cashback that can help you save a lot of money.
You can signup with sites like Swagbucks that not only give you cashback but also pay you $5 as signup bonus.
6. Carry your Lunch with you
People who are always on the move tend to eat on the go. Not only is this bad for your waist line, but is hard on the pocket too.
Carrying your lunch with you ensures that you’re not only eating a healthy meal but also saving money on food by not buying this outside.
Add to this the perceived savings on medical bills (for not indulging in unhealthy food) and you have saved yourself a pile of cash.
7. Clean your home
We all tend to gather stuff that we don’t really need over a period of time. Make a list of stuff lying in your home and keep them separate.
Not only will it de-clutter your house and make it look a lot neater, you could also host a yard sale for the items you don’t need or sell these stuffs locally and make some extra cash in the process.
8. Prune your subscription list
Fed up of seeing that pile of unread magazines taking up precious space in your home? Well, chances are you paid for an expensive annual subscription and then forgot about it altogether.
Call up the subscription guys and get it cancelled. You can also try for a refund of the unused amount. You never know they just might give it back to you.
9. Don’t pay for anything online
If you love to shop online then resist the temptation of buying digital products. The reason being, most of these products are mainly software-based and other downloadable stuff.
If you invest some time researching them online on select websites like Torrent, PirateBay and Filestube, you may end up finding the same stuff – for free. So why pay, when you can get the same stuff for free?
10. Grow your own vegetables
People are increasing turning to organically grown fruits and vegetables and so can you. You can begin by growing your own veggies and seasonal fruits in a small corner of your backyard or garden.
This way you not only have a ready supply of fresh, healthy food within your reach you also don’t have to pay through your nose to buy them from outside anymore.
11. Monitor your Phone, Cable & Internet usage
Cellphones, cable and the internet have become an indispensable part of our daily routine. In fact most of us cannot imagine our lives without them.
Hence it’s virtually impossible to suggest to stop using them altogether to save money. But do you really need the unlimited data plan? Do you actually watch any of the premium cable channels?
If the answer is – NO – its time you had a relook at what you really need and what you are paying for. Chances are you can always downgrade a couple of notches and save a bundle of cash in the bargain.
12. Opt for public transportation
We all love to use our cars and bikes whenever we feel the need – but – fuel is not cheap today and the volume of traffic on the roads today does not make it a pleasurable drive either.
In such a scenario it makes perfect sense to opt for public transportation – trains, buses, metro services etc. Not only are they environment-friendly and a lot cheaper, you will also be spared expensive fuel costs and avoidable delays when you travel.
13. Keep a piggy bank to save money
This may sound like a childish idea at first. But do think about it. If kids can save money in one why can’t you?
All you need to do is keep popping the loose change from your shopping trip, outstation trips and movie outings into it. It’s a lot better than leaving the money lying around the house.
Before you know it you will be holding a piggy bank – filled with a lot of money – which you can then transfer to your high interest saving account or invest suitably.
14. Ask your friends for help
We all have friends and they are there to help us and vice versa. If you urgently need something or are in some sort of trouble, you can always turn to your friend for help.
Suppose, you have work in a particular city far away from where you reside, but you also have a friend staying there. You can always request your buddy to help you out, instead of travelling all the way there yourself.
This way you can save a lot of money by way of your travel & hotel expenses without affecting the outcome of the task itself.
15. Shop right after the holidays
Most shoppers use this tactic during Christmas – but it works just as well on any major holiday. All you need to do is wait for a couple of days (after the holiday) and then go shopping for things you need.
Buy a Happy Father’s Day card (for next year) the day after Father’s Day, Halloween decorations after Halloween and wrapping paper, small presents and other bits and bobs – the day after Christmas.
Not only will you get them at a fraction of the usual price and save a ton of money but you will also be spared the usual rush of people out shopping.
16. Cook twice a day
Settling for home-cooked meals is another great way to save cash and eat healthy too. But try to cook only twice a day instead of 3-4 times.
You could also plan your home meals around items which are on sale at your usual grocery. Find out items which have the lowest prices for that week and plan your recipes around them and other ingredients that you have at home.
This way you will save even more on your food & grocery bills which tend to account for a large chunk of our monthly budget.
17. Try Home Remedies for small ailments
Go a sore throat or a slight cold? Why not try a spoonful of natural honey (for the sore throat) and a bowl of hot chicken soup for the cold. These may be home remedies passed down over generation but they work alright.
The alternative here is to spend a large chunk of cash paying a doctor’s consultation fees and for the medicines that are sure to follow. Take your pick.
18. Pay Your Bills on Time
Paying your bills on time can also save you a lot of money. How? By preventing you from having to pay more by way of late fees or a hefty fine.
This is also applicable on your bank EMIs, wherein you may attract a hefty fine for any delay in payment. This amount only tends to grow for every subsequent violation thereafter.
So please try and clear your debt on time.
19. Choose LED or CFL Bulbs only
CFLs may not last as long as we might want them to, but they still beat the hell out of ordinary bulbs in terms of the much lower energy they consume and the money they save us.
You can save even more by opting for LED bulbs – which cost a bit more. However they are far more energy efficient and last much longer – sometimes even 20-odd years.
20. Find a smaller house
Living in a large space coming with its own share of overhead costs. That said, a family of 2 does not need 5000 sq.ft of space.
When choosing a home, remember that a smaller house will not only cost less to cool and heat, it will be much easier to clean and maintain and will bring the family closer too.
And the money you will save in the process will be well worth the effort you put in finding one that suits your needs.
21. Try Carpooling
If you’re not the type to use public transport, carpooling is the next best option for you. Sharing a ride to the same destination (or stops along the route) with friends will not only make the trip more enjoyable it will also cut your fuel costs by half.
In the unlikely event that you cannot find someone to carpool with you, there are several sites online (erideshare, carpoolconnect) which can help you find the right people.
22. Try to buy in Bulk.
Toothpaste, detergents, cereals, soaps, shampoos – all these are items which we use on a daily basis but still persist to buying them individually at retail prices.
You can save a ton of cash by buying them in bulk instead. Thumb rule, bulk purchases of any item come at heavily discounted price. But just be sure to check the expiry dates and ensure there is ample storage place at home before you buy.
23. Buy your Train/air tickets online
Not only is it far more convenient and hassle-free, you may find several attractive discount offers for the destination you are headed to. Also the rates on offer are likely to be cheaper since there is no agent/agency commission involved in the transaction.
Hence you get a great deal, choose the best options and also save some cash in the bargain.
24. Use Coupon Apps
Ever wondered how you can save money while out grocery shopping. In fact all of us have and there are ways to do it.
By downloading handy apps like – ibotta and checkout51 – which allow you to select coupons and once you have bought the said items, you just scan your receipts and voila, you receive money back for the purchase in your account.
What’s more you can even use both apps for a single purchase.
25. Cut down on your vacation spending
Exotic vacations tend to cost big money. Why not plan a road trip to a nearby location instead. Not only can you customize it to the last detail, you can include a few surprise elements too and take the dog along at no extra cost.
But the biggest benefit of them all. They are a lot more cost effective and pocket friendly. You can even check for travel reward points on your credit card to earn free stays and air tickets.
26. Buy only products with a money-back guarantee
Have you ever got stuck with a product that you bought but were not entirely happy with? Well, most of us have, which is why it makes ample sense to only buy products which come with a money back guarantee.
This way you can always buy something else which you like better without having to feel the pinch of spending more money quite unnecessarily.
27. Live in a smaller city
Last but not the least, one of the best ways to save a lot of money is by moving to a smaller city. The reasons being most things ranging from homes to groceries tend to be a lot cheaper and reasonably priced in smaller cities.
You also get to experience a better more relaxed quality of life – which is a huge bonus. So if your present employer offers you that option be sure to consider it favorably.
28. Quit Your Bad Habits
Alcohol, smoking, drugs, overeating – not only are all these very bad for your health, they also end up costing you a pretty penny for your indulgence over a period of time.
Quitting such dangerous (and expensive vices will not only ensure that you stay healthy but will also lower your health insurance premiums significantly – leaving more money in your bank account.
So what’s the moral of this story?
No matter where you may find yourself in your journey to finding financial freedom, you need to know that it’s always possible to turn things around – by saving more money.
All it takes is a sense of realization and taking the first few steps – the rest tends to fall into place on its own.