At TermLife2Go, we go the extra mile for our clients by providing as many resources as we can to help our clients not only survive, but thrive. Today we offer our best ways to save money article that will pinpoint some awesome ways to save your valuable resources in order to free up some extra cash to buy what matters most — peace of mind via life insurance. It is part of our how to make money series, because one way to make money is to avoid needlessly spending it!
Top 55 Best Ways to Save Money
Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship. – Benjamin Franklin
Over the past few decades, the cost of living has continually increased while salaries are growing at a much slower rate. With this in mind, we have less disposable income in 2017 than in previous years and it is affecting our livelihood.
If you are nodding along to this, there is no need to worry or resort to payday lenders just yet as we have some superb advice. Even if you are quite comfortable but want to save a bit more money for a holiday, you can still apply these tips.
By the way, this article is focused on how to save money. We also put together an article on buying life insurance so go here if you are looking for ways to save money on life insurance.
Using These Money Saving Tips
Below, we have listed numerous tips to save money today and you can use them however you wish. Some will apply to you while others may not. Even if you don’t use the advice directly, you might be able to use them as inspiration for how to change your own life and habits. Furthermore, we would also love it if you could share this with friends and family if you find it to be useful.
In addition to this, we should also note that you don’t have to do everything on this list. This being said, you will benefit the most when you combine multiple money saving tips because the savings will add together exponentially. On their own, some of them might not seem like much but they can make a huge compounding difference to your overall money health when used in conjunction with others so bear this in mind.
Money Saving Mindset
Finally, we have one last piece of advice before launching forward. If you are going to make one change today, we highly recommend that it is your mindset towards ways to save money.
When people say ‘I cannot do anything else to save money’, it takes just a few minutes to notice expenditures that could be removed. Instead of feeling resistant, you will see the best results as soon as you learn to engage the money saving brain and make money work for you, rather than working for money. Once you get into this state, there is no reason why you can’t save money in many different areas.
Some final thoughts before we jump in…
Certain financial gurus out there will tell you that in order to be rich you have to deny yourself everything enjoyable in life. However, at TermLife2Go, we prefer to subscribe to the abundance mindset that says instead of limiting your means you should expand your means. That is why we spent weeks putting together our passive income ideas article. We desire financial freedom in our own lives and the lives of our readers. So with that in mind…
Best Tips for Saving Money
Did you really think the first tip would be anything different? In all honesty, we prefer you to live in a way that you don’t require the confines of a budget. However, for many people starting on the journey of saving money, a budget is an essential first step to get your house in order.
Before you skip this and continue onto the next tip, we don’t mean that you have to sit there for five hours every Sunday trying to budget for the week ahead. Instead, we simply suggest writing down your income along with your expenditures. For the first month, this is all we want you to do. At the end of this month, you can see how much you are spending in different areas and this is where the progress starts.
Moving into week five, you can then cap the different areas of your expenditure. For example, you might want to reduce social or entertainment spending by $50 or miscellaneous expenses by $100 (or maybe cut out 3 Starbucks lattes a day!)
In truth, there are numerous different ways of budgeting to save money. Many people find it helpful to put physical money into different envelopes, one for each area of your life, a la Dave Ramsey. Once the envelope is empty, you cannot spend any more for that particular good or service. If you absolutely need to, take it from somewhere else and learn why you needed more and what you can do differently next time around. As soon as you get down to a budget you like, the hardest part is over and you can start to save money like never before.
2. Automatic Savings
Every month, money gets taken from your earnings whether it goes towards tax, bills, insurance, gas, etc. Therefore, why not add one more to this list: savings.
Ultimately, this goes right back to what we said about mindset. If you tell yourself that putting a certain amount of money away per month is a necessary expense, you will soon learn to live without it. After just a few weeks, you will be accustomed to your smaller earnings and you will be saving a certain amount of money per month.
A good rule of thumb on how much money to save is 10%. You really need to get into the mindset of paying yourself first. Overtime, you will amass a small fortune as you use this money to make more money. However, you have to start somewhere so put aside whatever you can manage. But don’t forget to revisit this from time to time to see how much more you can set aside each month.
3. Choose your Credit Cards Wisely
Not all credit cards are created equally. Some have a far lower interest rate, and are even more forgiving when it comes to late payments. If you currently have debt on a credit card, then it’s time to take this seriously. You can easily shift the debt to a credit card with a lower interest rate, such as cards offering 0% interest for a year. This could save you a lot of money each month. And finding a great cash back reward card makes it even better.
4. One Week Rule
In recent times, the smartphone has become our new best friend and the invention of apps means that we don’t even need to open our laptop to make a purchase. Unfortunately, this also means that we spend money unnecessarily but the one week rule will bring this desire for instant gratification to an end.
When you next have something in your basket that would be considered an ‘impulse’ buy, close the app or iPhone and wait one full week. If you still want or would use the product one week later, then you can go ahead confident in the knowledge that it won’t be a waste of money. If you don’t feel as though you need it anymore, you can be happy that you have saved that money which can be put towards something else more important.
5. Switch Bank Accounts
Have you checked how much interest you have been earning recently? Sadly, millions of people set up a bank account when they are young and then stick with it for the rest of their lives but this isn’t the wisest choice.
If you were to compare the market right now, you may be shocked to see how much extra money you could be earning per year just through interest alone. Some banking institutions will offer in excess of 1% savings or checking accounts. In contrast, most major banks only offer .001% to .005% interest rate on your money. The difference? Ten times more interest in some cases (difference between .001 and .01.) or 1,000% greater return!
Of course, it won’t be a life-saving amount but it is a step in the right direction and will contribute to your overall goal of getting into that money saving mindset as you are putting more money away each month. And as you start to consider how interest rates work you will start to notice other money saving and money making concepts as well, such as infinite banking.
6. Kill Your TV
Not to offend any cable tv executives who happen to be browsing TermLife2Go but putting an end to countless hours of wasted time watching TV is a great step towards saving money. This money saving tip works two fold. One, you stop getting bombarded by advertising which convinces you to go out and spend more money. Two, you have a ton more free time which you can use to start your own business.
7. Turn Off Social Media
It does not have to be a daily discipline, but shutting off social media once a week will create massive benefits for you over the course of a year. Just imagine one day a week without the constant distractions of social media. And what do you do with that free time? Why not try your hand at working for yourself.
8. Rent Out a Room
OK, so this one isn’t necessarily a way of saving money but having someone rent an empty room will see you earn money towards your bills which is a huge benefit. Suddenly, you will have more income and saving money will be much easier so it all comes together in a round about way. And maybe you don’t want a long term tenant but you could use a little extra savings on your mortgage for the summer — look no further than AirBnB or VRBO.
9. Consider Buying a Duplex, Triplex, or Fourplex
Buying a duplex, triplex or fourplex is a great way to save some serious money. The real money saving advantage to doing this come from the fact that your renters pay for your mortgage. If you are young and looking to get a jump start in ways to save money, this idea would rank up there near the top of the list. However, be prepared to deal with potentially difficult personalities. All part and parcel for the course when dealing with real estate.
10. Meal Plans
Along with your budgeting at the weekend, sit down and write out a meal plan for the week ahead before you go shopping. If you pre-plan all of your meals, you will be far less likely to order a takeaway because you will have all the ingredients ready. Furthermore, you can plan around busy evenings or taking children to after-school activities. If you know that you will only have a short time available on Wednesday, for example, you can plan a quick meal rather than giving in to temptation and spending unnecessary money. As long as you write a shopping list for everything you will need and stick to it, you will also spend less money in the supermarket.
11. Kick the habit!
If you are a drinker, smoker, or gambler, you don’t need us to tell you how expensive a habit can be. For that matter, even the costs of a morning coffee can add up! Depending on how often you indulge in your vice, you could wind up saving hundreds of dollars every month.
12. Avoid Expensive Days Out
When trying to entertain the children, especially during holidays, we tend to spend a lot of money on zoos, going to the movies, theme parks and various other activities. However, a simple search online will show you that there is so much to do elsewhere for no charge at all.
For example, what about a simple bike ride and picnic, game of baseball in the park, or even a treasure hunt? Online, you will find lots of resources for turning your hometown into a wealth of free opportunities for fun.
Your total savings by avoiding a theme park or zoo can be in the hundreds. Take that money and start preparing yourself for investing in income producing assets that can actually make money with your money.
13. Look Around Your House
In truth, we regularly take advantage of what we have without even realizing. For those into video games, they spend more money on games before they have completed the ones they own. For those into books, they buy more books before they have even read the ones they own; we could go on for days. Therefore, take a look around your home and have fun with what you already own before you go and spend money on new things.
We Americans have what most people would call a little bit of a consumption problem. However, by taking on a more minimalist approach to spending habits we might actually break out of this consumerism mentality and learn that there is much more to life than things.
14. Turn the Air Conditioning Off
If you want to save money over time, you need to be more efficient with your energy and this starts with air conditioning. Air conditioning can add up fast, with some numbers showing the cost at $1-$2 an hour. If your air conditioner is on 8 hours a day on average your total cost will come to $480 a month if we use the $2 per hour cost.
Think of all the wonderful things you could do with an additional $400 a month in savings? If you live in San Diego or Honolulu, you may be tempted to run the air conditioner all year. However, you could save $5,000 a year by dealing with the heat. As a result, you could in turn use that $5,000 to invest in a cash flow asset, such as real estate.
Another way to save money, although no way near as much, is to remember to turn off the lights. If there is no one in a certain room, there is no need for anything to be on in that room and this includes lights, appliances, and more. Of course, we will let you get away with washing machines and the like but nothing else.
15. Insulate Your Home
Along the same lines as turning off the air conditioning, consider insulating your home to save money in the long term. When you insulate your home, less warm air leaves the house and your rooms will stay warmer for longer. Rather than having to turn on your heater every hour, the warmth will stay inside and you can save energy and money.
16. Start Small
When reading some of these tips, it makes you want to start with huge changes but this isn’t sustainable and you soon become demotivated. Instead, we recommend that you start small and work your way towards the larger objectives.
If necessary, just start with one change at a time. As soon as this change becomes natural and you don’t even need to think about it, you can introduce the next change and so on. This way, you are changing your lifestyle rather than just a short-term change.
17. Take Lunch to Work
Over the past year alone, how much money do you think you have spent on food when at work? If you are like most people, this will be well into the thousands.
We know that the average year contains around 260 working days. With this in mind, just $5 spent a day will accumulate to over $1,300 over the course of a year. If you start planning your own lunch and taking this every day, you can save a significant amount of money.
Further, eating out is not very healthy. Overtime you will most likely develop some sort of medical condition that will end up costing you a lot more money. Rather, put together a good meal plan that is low cost and nutritious. The amount of savings, both short term and long term, will be well worth the hassle.
18. Take Your Own Coffee
Leading on from the previous point, we also recommend taking your own coffee because of the very same reasons. Quite easily, we can spend $4 per day on coffee so this is yet more money to be saved. Bringing these two tips together, you can save over $2,000 minus anything you spend on your own coffee and lunch ingredients. Just think about where this money could go (or be saved)!
Here is a tip: put a small piggy bank by your door. Each day, take the money you would otherwise have spent on food and coffee and place it in the bank. Stay disciplined and continue to do this for 6 months. Now count the money in your bank—how much money did you save? The results will amaze you.
19. Never Skimp
Although this sounds rather odd on an informational guide to saving money, you should never skimp on insurance and health costs. For some reason, people try to avoid dental appointments but this is a terrible mistake because it only leads to expensive issues in the future.
For example, dental crowns, fillings, and root canal treatment can cost thousands of dollars. Why pay this when you can pay a lot less for a simple appointment and keep them in good condition in the first place? Sometimes being preventative is the best way to save money.
And if you are in the market for life insurance, consider when no exam is better than taking an exam. Once again, a little prevention can reap substantial savings in certain situations, particularly when you have avoided a doctor for the last few years.
20. Shop the Market
When you buy absolutely anything, take the time to shop the market and see if a better deal can be found elsewhere. For example, this can be done with buying life insurance online, grocery shopping, new clothes, vehicles, holidays, petrol, mobile phone contracts, and so much more. Whenever you get the opportunity, shop the market and just watch the savings add up.
21. Buy in Bulk
Returning back to the topic of grocery shopping, always look for opportunities to buy in bulk because this will help you to save money. As long as you don’t buy 40 loaves of bread and 50 bunches of bananas, you can stock up on items that will not spoil and save significant amounts of money.
For example, cleaning products as well as personal care items can be bought in multi-packs and they are much cheaper than individually. When doing this, be careful because many people make the mistake of bulk buying foods they can’t stop eating. If you have a soft spot for Doritos, do not bulk to avoid overeating. Rather, consider how you can develop some discipline regarding your eating habits!
22. Mind Your Company
Have you considered the fact that the people you spend the most time with are the people who influence you the most? Look at the habits of your friends. If you find yourself spending money rather than saving money when you hang out, maybe it is time to reevaluate your circle of friends. The crowd you run with is shaping who you are becoming. If you want to make positive changes, including how you spend and save money, start with those around you.
23. Keep Your Car Maintained
Ultimately, this is exactly the same as the dentist example above where we stressed the importance of prevention. Rather than paying out lots of money to fix problems, why not have the car serviced regularly to ensure that issues are found and fixed early? Sometimes, you don’t even need to spend money on servicing if you keep an eye on tire pressures, check the oil, and complete other basic maintenance tasks.
Of all the tips we have provided so far, this could be the easiest one of the lot because it doesn’t really need you to do anything aside from putting the car keys down. If you live close to the shops or to your child’s school, there is no need to drive when you could walk for free. Over time, you can start to assess all of your journeys and cut down the use of your car.
25. Intermittent Fasting
If you don’t know about the benefits of intermittent fasting then go look it up. The idea is that you don’t need to constantly be shoveling food into your mouth. Rather, your body needs time to do maintenance. It is the down time in between meals that your body performs maintenance and repairs damaged cells and tissue. So give your body a rest and practice the discipline of intermittent fasting during the day. Hard core advocates only eat in a four hour window. Others go 18 hours without food and 8 hours with. Either way, this lifestyle change will help you will cut down on munching and it may save you money on all those snacks you will now do without.
25. 72 Hour Fast
Speaking of fasting, how about implementing a monthly 72 hour fast into your life? The benefits of fasting are legion. In addition, you probably spend around $20-$25 on average every day on food. Those three days of fasting a month can save you $75 a month. In a year, your total money saved would be $900!
27. Lose a Car
If you absolutely need a car for work or any other reasons, you might want to skip past this one. For those of you that have everything nearby and perhaps have more than one car per household, you can save money by losing one.
Over the course of a year, cars are expensive and perhaps one of the most expensive items we own. Whether it is gas, insurance, tax, or servicing, the whole process is expensive and this is before we even discuss potential breakdowns!
28. Reassess Your Finances
Whether it is your car insurance, mobile phone contract, or your grocery shopping, you should ask yourself two questions: Firs, do I need it? If so, can I cut down in any way?
If you go through this process with your expenses every single year, you can remove the expenses that aren’t needed and find ways to decrease those that are needed. Over the years, we put up with certain expenses just because they have become habitual but today is the day this comes to an end.
“A luxury once enjoyed becomes a necessity.” C. Northcote Parkinson.
How many day to day necessities in your life started out as a luxury? If you keep this quote at the forefront of your mind for a few days you will start to see things that were once a luxury that have now become a necessity. Once you find some of these “necessities” ask yourself if you can do without. You may find that you can eliminate a lot of wasted time and money on a luxury that you have been duped into thinking was a necessity.
Kind of a “duh” tip here but there is a marked difference between saving money and saving money. In one, you save money in one area and then spend it elsewhere. In the other, you put money away for a rainy day or for a more secure future. In this tip, we are suggesting that you put money away into a savings account, such as cash value life insurance, because this will be extremely valuable to you later in life.
30. Keep Loose Change
If you keep loose change in your pocket every day, it is nearly impossible not to spend it. Whether it is on a bottle of water, packet of chewing gum, or a cup of coffee, it is extremely unlikely that it will make it through the day with you. Therefore, throw all loose change into a jar at the end of the day; we guarantee that you will be surprised at how much you save. As a tester, do this for a week and multiply it by 52 to see roughly what you will keep in your possession over the course of a year.
31. Energy Saving Appliances
Nowadays, you can get hold of appliances that are energy efficient and you will see their effectiveness in the rating they have earned. Although you will need to pay money initially, the appliances will eventually pay for themselves in the reduced bills you will enjoy. Not only does this make sense for your bank account, it also makes sense for the environment and now is a great time to reduce your footprint.
32. Standby Mode
For some reason, there is a misconception that energy is never being used when TVs, microwaves, coffee makers, radios, and more are plugged in but not being used. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Regardless of whether you are using these devices or not, it will use up energy and this can contribute a good amount over the course of a year.
Similar to when we said to review your finances, always be on the look out to downgrade packages if you really don’t need them. For example, we often buy TV packages and phone contracts when they are cheap but then we forget and pay the higher price when the offer ends. Even with energy and our internet bills, we get stuck onto a higher tariff so research to see if you can get a smaller package with a smaller price.
34. Find a Hobby
If you spend money or go shopping when you feel stressed, depressed, sad, or even happy, you need to find a new hobby. If you are doing this regularly, this is a huge problem because we believe that spending makes us happier when this isn’t true. Instead, find something else that doesn’t involve spending to lift your spirits. But beware of the most dangerous hobbies life insurance companies hate!
35. Buy Second-Hand
With books, video games, and various other items, there is no reason why you can’t buy second-hand. As long as you will get the same experience as you would with a brand new product, you can save money. Of course, there are some items we buy in life that we never want used but there are others that allow for the same experience at a much smaller price tag.
For example, second hand and gently worn clothing stores for children are awesome ways to save money for new parents. If you have not checked out your local second hand store, make it a priority today. You will be amazed at the deals you can find.
36. Shop Off-Season
While you are now buying clothes for the summer, you should be preparing yourself for the winter. Why? Because they are so much cheaper since shops are trying to get rid of excess stock.
After Christmas, have you ever noticed how there is a one or two week window where decorations and wrapping paper is extremely cheap? This is because they have too much stock and they need to get rid of as much as possible so it is the perfect time to get yours in for next year.
Ultimately, you can do this with Easter and Halloween as well. As soon as the season rolls around, you will notice that they go back up to full price but you can smile and be happy that you saved a significant percentage off the item.
37. Make Your Own Gifts
We do this with our kids all the time. Take some photos and craft them into a gift for family. If you are artistic, consider calligraphy or some other lost art. Serenade the one you love. Be creative and you will soon find that you can impress someone much more with a thoughtful gift made by you than any gift money can buy.
38. Cash Value Life Insurance
We provide life insurance to our clients so what did you expect from a life insurance website? But really, cash value life insurance is an awesome savings tool. And coupled with the infinite banking concept, you can save more money than you ever thought possible.
39. Term Life Insurance
Level term life insurance is a great way to maximize your death benefit and lower your premium. However, be aware that cheap term life insurance might be cheaper initially, but as you get older it will get more expensive. Check out our comparison article on term life vs permanent life insurance for more on making the best decision for you on what type of coverage to choose.
39. “Oats Day”
For all those with celiac disease, go ahead and skip to the next money saving tip, but for everyone else, consider adding an “oat day” to your weekly schedule. Oat day does not mean you have to only eat oats, it can be any food that costs little but meets your hunger. We use oats because oats are very inexpensive and can fill you up. Add a little bit of cinnamon and raisins and you have a delectable offering for a low price tag. Do this once a week and watch the savings add up!
40. Cancel Magazine Subscriptions
Alright all you People Magazine and Entertainment Weekly fans, time to confess! Here is the deal, you can get pretty much everything relating to celebrity, local and global news, economics, or current events related online. So why kill a tree and your pocketbook?
41. Be Your Own Handyman (i.e. DIY)
Nowadays, you can fix virtually anything by simply heading over to YouTube and typing in your problem. There are videos available on almost every fix imaginable. So rather than call your plumber to clear out your drain, why not stop by YouTube to see if you can do it yourself (DIY).
If you live in one of the higher cost of living areas in our wonderful country, consider exploring some of the less populated places in America. For all of you lucky enough to have your own home based business you can find some amazing deals in certain parts of the country and get out of the rat race.
43. Green Thumb
Have you ever considered growing your own food? It is quite liberating to be self sufficient. And with more and more people discovering urban homesteading, you are sure to find a lot of support. And cultivating your own food can drastically cut down on your shopping bill and save you a lot of money.
44. Avoid Boredom
“The opposite of happiness is boredom.” – Tim Ferris
Think about it, when do you find yourself wasting the most money? It is often when we are bored and we use money as a way to overcome the boredom. Instead of spending money when you are bored, get creative! Come up with ideas or brainstorm with some friends. Maybe you will come up with some great ways to make money rather than spend it. For example, maybe you and your friends decide to pool all your “junk” and set up a garage sale, accompanied with fresh baked cookies and lemonade. Whatever you decide, avoid being bored as it can lead to all sorts of unhealthy decisions.
45. Visit Your Local Library
Reading is a great way to save money, but we think you might also be surprised by all the free or inexpensive social activities a local library can offer. Often the library offers free movie viewings, free computers, and other activities sure to cure your boredom. Further, spending some time researching topics of interest might help you not only save money, but make money. Grab some books on personal finance or investing in real estate and educate yourself. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday.
46. Coupons, Groupons and Living Social
Plan ahead… if you know you also like to go bowling every month, be in the look out for coupons, like Groupon or Living Social. In addition to saving money, often times these coupons will help you decide what to do when your bored and we all know the cure for boredom often kills a budget!
47. Maximize Your Employer Match
If your employer still offers a 401K matching plan incentive, take advantage. There is nothing like saving money by getting an immediate 100% return on your money.
48. Avoid ATMs
Grabbing money out of an ATM is almost always a bad idea if you are looking for ways to save money. Worse yet, many banks outside of your own bank charge fees for using their ATM.
49. Consumption Fast
Here is a new way to save money idea that is starting to gain some traction. You need to do a consumption fast. America is an amazing country. We have everything we need at the click of a mouse. Unfortunately, this leads to some terrible habits of consumption. So rather than be like everyone else, set aside a day every month where you don’t spend any money. Maybe next month it will be two days. The key is to get yourself to think about NOT spending money for a bit. Over time you will develop some good skills in this area and start saving money, rather than spending it.
50. Consider Minimalism
“People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The reason why the world is in chaos is because things are being loved and people are being used.” John Green
You can get some great inspiration on cutting back on your spending, saving money, and actually minimizing your possessions by checking out Becoming Minimalist. Although I would not consider myself a minimalist, (I have two kids, after all), I do try and minimize my possessions. By reading the blog over at Becoming Minimalist it will give you some good insight and some practical steps on decreasing, rather than increasing, your clutter.
51. Negotiate Credit Card Rates
How surprised was I the day I called my credit card company and asked to get my rate reduced. No quicker had I made the request than my interest rate was dropped 6%. That was a total interest savings of 60%! But what happens if they refuse to comply? Shop around for a credit card with a 0% rate on balance transfers. Transfer your balance to the new card and work tirelessly to pay it off while no interest is accruing.
52. Eat in Season
Have you ever noticed how the cost of certain food goes up or down based on the season? Take strawberries for example. You can find some great deals on strawberries certain times of the year. Other times you will be paying nearly twice as much. And the quality of the strawberries seems to improve as the price drops! What is going on? The reality is, certain foods are meant for certain times of the year. Focus on buying food that is in season and you will not only save money on your grocery bill, but you will also be eating the best that food type has to offer.
Yes, we know sharing a ride with someone else might seem like a drag. However, if you find someone who does not drive you mad you can always take turns carpooling to work. With the price of gas over $3 in some states, saving money on gas by carpooling is a great idea. And who knows, maybe you establish some awesome friendships in the process.
54. Line Dry Your Clothes
Drying you clothes costs money because it shortens the life of your fabric and uses electricity. Rather, consider line drying your clothes to extend the life of your favorite pair of jeans and cut down on energy costs. This is a win-win saving opportunity. Plus, there is something about that line dried fresh feeling that keeps your spirits high.
55. Pay Yourself First
How much of your paycheck do you put towards savings? Try paying yourself first by setting aside 5% every month. As your savings account balance grows you will be motivated to save even more. Work up to 10% of your paycheck. Once you start saving you will find that cutting costs in other areas of your life are easier to do. And once you start using the money you saved to make money, you will be hooked!
Ways to Save Money Summary
There we have it, some great ways to save money! As we said at the very beginning, this process is all about the mindset as well as habits. Currently, you are probably in the habit of wasting money but it is time to turn this around. Now, you are going to start new habits to save money. Although it might take a few weeks to stick, you will soon be confident and your savings account will thrive. Remember, combining these tips will see the biggest yield!