There is no better time than now to start saving. Every week you can crush the debt by saving money. These 52 cool ways to save money work every single week and help you get out of debt faster. Even if you follow one tip every week, the savings will add up substantially.
The economy is getting uncertain. You don’t know when you will get your next job or next project. The rent is due in 2 weeks and you don’t know how you will pay it. Sounds familiar? Fret not. Use the following tips to quickly save $1000.
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52 Fast and cool ways to Save Money and Get out of Debt Fast!
As our economy is getting tougher and inflation is rising, do you find it harder to save money? In the last 2 years, more people have relied on debt than ever. When the economy suddenly closed, it was harder to continue saving every month. But there are some really cool ways you can still save money every week if you’re mindful of your needs and wants.
Let’s get started.
Get out of debt by knowing your income and expenses
If you are doing a job for someone else, you know your weekly or monthly income. However, it is surprising that many of us do not know our weekly or monthly expenses. If you use more than one credit card for regular expenses, it will be all the more difficult to have a clear view of your monthly expenses. If you are comfortable using software to track your income and expenses, you can switch to Mint. They make it easy for you to view your monthly income and expenses in one single report.
If you do not like to use software like me, just plain paper and pen will do the same job. We use this simple one-page tracker every single month.
Automate to save and get out of debt early
Saving is a good habit. But automatic saving every week or month is even a better habit. Set it once and forget it. Just see your money grow to earn interest in the high-interest savings account. E.g Ally Bank
If saving regularly is difficult for you, start small. Just $5 a day adds up quickly. For saving your first $1000, you can set to save $100 a week for 10 weeks to be automatically deducted from your checking account every Friday or Monday. In less than 3 months, your first emergency fund is ready. If you can not wait for 3 months, just increase this automatic saving amount or read these top 15 tips to build your emergency fund faster.
Increase your income to save more
This is a no-brainer. If you have just one source of income, it’s prone to surprises even if it has been your steady source of income for years. Growing economic concern has made it tough for small, medium, and big businesses to stay afloat.
Surprisingly, technology has made it easier to earn income in more ways than ever possible in the past. Anyone can start earning a side income from simple online jobs in this gig economy. Check out this article on 5 easy ways to earn an extra income- No hustle required
Remember, you do not need any special skills to increase your income. Start with what you know and where you are. But once started, continue trying for a few months and never give up. The most common way you can earn a little side income is by selling the stuff you already have lying around your home. There are many selling websites or apps that let you sell your gently used or unopened stuff for a small commission fee. Mercari is a good example of selling household stuff, books, and event arts. So far, I have de-cluttered our single-family home and in the process found suitable homes for our gently used or unopened household items from kitchen, office, decor, jewelry, fabric, and a few clothing items. Try them out. When you join Mercari with this link, they give $10 off on your first order plus $20 when you make your first $100 selling your items on Mercari.
For all those fashion nerds, Poshmark is another good option. so far, I’ve sold fabric, pure copper bracelets, handmade jewelry, and some rustic farmhouse home decor on this app. Try them out. For a limited time, they are offering my friends $10 off for the first purchase. Just enter the code BLESSIGNS1010 at the checkout.
What I like best about these platforms is you only spend a couple of minutes listing your products. And these products are up on the platforms until they are sold. They only charge you 10% as a commission when the product gets sold. Poshmark is a little better in that, for sales under $15, the fee is a flat rate of $2.95. For sales above $15, the fee is 20%. So, you earn money while sleeping. You get paid only when you ship the sold item and the buyer gives you a rating upon receiving the item.
Learn SWOT analysis to study debt vs saving benefits
SWOT analysis is a tool used by all corporate world to understand their strengths, weaknesses, market opportunities, and threats from competitors. Even though it sounds like this framework is good for organizations, it’s a very basic framework that every one of us can use for making important life decisions. Once you learn how to use it for your specific situations, it will become easier to start making better financial decisions for you. Everything we do and do not do has an impact on our finances directly or indirectly.
SWOT analysis also helps you study what type of debt is good and what type of saving is not really helpful in the long run. E.g having a housing loan is ok if you also get tax deductions on it but having high-interest consumer debt is bad. Saving every month in a high-yield savings account is good than saving money on low-quality, processed food.
Similarly, use SWOT in your important life decisions. Work on your strengths, and ask for help for things that you know you are not very good at. Show up for opportunities. Better yet, use your strengths to create opportunities. And plan for possible threats.
Learn to use this framework early on your journey to financial independence. Let this framework be your main tool to save more, and earn more while working less.
Make a vision board to get out of debt and visualize it every day
Once you know what your strengths are and what you would like to achieve in your life, create a small vision board for your life goals. Visualize it every day by keeping it in front of you.
If being a millionaire is your dream, don’t be shy. Put it front and center on your vision board. If being financially independent and being your own boss is your passion, put that in big bold letters. Whatever you decide to achieve, let it sink into your subconscious every day. Let your dreams flow through your being once a day and see them come to reality with smart work.
Reduce recurring bills and save money fast
If you have taken the first step of noting down your monthly bills, you will see the total amount of recurring bills you pay every single month or quarter.
Just cut one recurring bill such as cable or a monthly subscription to a magazine or gym. And save annual fees for that service. If it is difficult to decide which service you want to cut, start with a smaller and easier one. Then slowly move on to either cutting the recurring bill altogether or replacing it with a cheaper/ economical alternative.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have noticed that many of these services you pay for regularly are not being used. Better yet, you may have found a better alternative for those services.
COVID-19 Pandemic was a wake-up call to many of us who spent monthly or annual fees at gyms or fitness centers. The best exercise is available for free. You don’t need fancy equipment or heavy weights. Your body weight helps you in getting in shape and toned up. Going out and doing that exercise in fresh air under the sun and barefoot on grass has a multitude of added benefits. Never pass it up ever!
Stick with those options long after the pandemic is gone and we come back to our normal lives. Keeping fingers crossed. Anytime now!
Switch to Free Entertainment
If you are still paying for your monthly cable or entertainment service, please explore free entertainment options. Remember, TV or streaming movies is NOT the only option for true entertainment.
Going outside in nature, spending time with your family and friends, reading your favorite books, or exploring your hobbies are life’s true entertainment avenues. And most of them do not cost a dime.
TIP- visit local attractions during free entry weeks in summer. Bank of America customers enjoy free entry to many national monuments during summer. Check free entertainment options given by your bank.
Pay your bills on time to stop getting into debt
You can set automatic payments for your monthly essential bills. This is much easier to never forget the payment due dates. But some of us do not like this service for personal reasons.
Set reminders to pay your bills on time and save money by not paying a fine for missed or late payments. It’s easier to say but in crazy times like this, I have forgotten to check my reminders a few times. Luckily, years of paying full credit card balances saved me from paying late fees. Download the bill payment tracker on our resources page and never forget to pay your bills again.
TIP- If you can pay your essential monthly bills anytime, pay them as soon as you receive the bill in the mail or email.
Regularly do check-ins on spending and find opportunities to save
If you have cut down on your monthly non-essential spending up to this point, you are already winning in the savings challenge. But don’t forget to do regular check-in on the random spending such as flowers, home decor, or another cute stationery item.
We just use a simple needs vs wants tracker for limiting our spending. sign up for our newsletter and receive this tracker for Free.
An occasional splurge on things that give you joy is fine. They do not cost much but if ignored for long, the spending really adds up.
Pay off credit card balances every month
Credit cards are convenient to shop with, as long as you remember to pay them off every single month. Do not get fooled by the minimum balance payment. It’s a trap. Always know what you are buying with a credit card. Never borrow more than you can pay off. And never ever reach your credit limit!
Stop window-shopping when you are angry, hungry, or bored
Every financial guru will tell you this. It’s easier said than done. But seriously, if you are angry, hungry, or bored, just keep your wallet and phone away from you. Instead, read a book or two. Spend time in the kitchen cooking your favorite meals. Do anything else but window shopping.
Make it very hard to make online purchases
Don’t subscribe to store sales and promotion emails and texts. They are designed to lure you to shops- either in a physical store or an online store. Marketers know that they have to flash the sales message in front of you at least 7 times before you start noticing it enough to take an action. Just unsubscribe from such promotions.
Next, avoid storing your payment preferences for online shopping. That includes storing your card numbers for Amazon or other online stores where you shop frequently. If you don’t save your preferred way of payment, you get valuable time between putting the item in the shopping cart and actually paying for it. Many people opt out and abandon the cart at this stage. That is why stores ask you to save your preferred way of payment.
Quick money-saving tip- If you must shop something, try abandoning your online cart for a day. If you forget about it, you never really needed to purchase that thing. And savvy marketers often send you an offer/ discount code to just come back to the cart and complete the purchase. Talk about the double value of walking away from the store. If you do not like negotiating or do not get a chance to negotiate ( no one gets to negotiate to do online shopping- if you know how to, please let me know), this saving tip will definitely come in handy.
Find one alternative to an expensive product or service you must use
For almost every item you buy, there exists another economical alternative. Thanks to consumerism, we all have way too many options in the market now than ever before. Take advantage of it. When we are too loyal to a name brand, we stop looking for other better alternatives. There is a price we all pay for loyalty to marketers. Be loyal to your own wallet. Guard it against pesky brands and marketers at all times.
TIP- Say no to Name brands. Say yes to store brands
Go meat-free for a few days a week
If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you are already way ahead of most Americans. Skip this tip.
But you or your family live only on meat every week, try to replace a few of your meals with vegetables and lentils. It will quickly save you money and help you reduce bad cholesterol significantly.
Say no to food waste
Average American family shops for way more groceries than they need for a week or a month. Many of us shop at big box warehouse stores to save money on bulk food. But do we actually save money on food bought at a deep discount, if we also let that food go to waste?
Not really. Take a look at your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. Do you have any food there which is past its expiry or simply has gone bad? If yes, you are paying way too much for the food.
Say no to food waste. Buy only what you need, love, and consume on a regular basis. Meal plan regularly before hitting the grocery stores.
Do you know that the average American portion size is more than most Asian countries? With ample food supply, this portion size has only grown in the last few decades. We have a high percentage of obesity and related illnesses in this country.
There is a distinct difference between serving size and portion size. USDA uses the servicing size (1 cup, 1 slice, 1 bag) in their Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Portion control, on the other hand, measures the food or drink you actually consume in one sitting.
Portion control is not that hard if you practice it daily. The best way to go about it is to change your dinner plates. Choose a smaller plate size like a salad plate or a small bowl. Check out this handy guide on portion control shared by MyFitnessPal
Whatever you eat, make it a habit to chew it well. Try to focus your attention on the act of eating alone. What I mean is Just Eat, don’t watch TV or YouTube or any stimulating shows that divert your attention from your food to the unnecessary content. When you focus on the food and chewing it well, a small portion satisfies your hunger and makes you feel better, not bloated like when you shove large portions of food and entertainment at the same time.
Let your food be the source of entertainment.
Learn to cook healthy meals at home to save money fast
Cooking is a life skill. Every one of us must know at least basic cooking. If you know how to cook healthy meals at home, you reap more benefits than just saving money on take-out food from restaurants. Your health gets better, your mind feels calm, and your wallet thanks you.
TIP- If cooking every day is hard for you, keep a list of your family’s favorite meals. Cook at least 2-3 meals from this list in bulk and freeze them.
Instant Pot is a good investment if you are always busy and can not find the time to cook healthy wholesome meals at home. I use mine every single week to make bulk meals and then freeze them for busy days ahead. No more wasting money on take-out.
Don’t forget to make your own healthy snacks at home.
Eat healthy wholesome food and stay away from a doctor or pharmacy
Let food be thy medicine. Even better- let fresh locally produced organic food be thy medicine!
Wholesome healthy fresh unprocessed seasonal food contains rich nutrients that build your immunity to fight common viruses and infections. when you limit the intake of artificial food ingredients and eat freshly cooked meals most days of your week, you will notice you don’t get sick often. You do not need to keep taking common over-the-counter medicines for the common cold, fever, and allergies.
With healthy eating habits, you train your body to work for you. Of course, once in a while, you can go out to eat. But when that happens, try to order healthy meals. You do not want your immune system to get lazy and forget to do its only job- to protect you.
Practice Intermittent fasting
Doctors and health food experts recommend eating 3 meals a day, breakfast being the king of all meals. This rule works if we eat our last meal of the day pretty early in the evening, and keep at least a few hours between dinner and sleep. This rule also works for people who work hard in physically demanding jobs.
But most of us are transitioning into the knowledge economy. The average miles we walk in our jobs is less than a mile. Most of us work on our computers, gadgets and sit way too long. This 3 meals diet is working for us anymore. It is keeping us over-fed, over-bloated, over-stressed, over-sensitive and certainly over-weight. We eat too much, work too little physically to burn that off, and stress too much.
Try intermittent fasting where you keep a gap of at least 16 hours between your last dinner and the first meal of the next day. You will not feel weak or hungry. Just trust your body’s stored fat. It’s enough to give us energy for at least 20 hours. I know I can survive with the stored fat inside me for at least 2 days :). All I need is water and fresh air!
There are many benefits of intermittent fasting. Read them here. But the first benefit is you stop shopping for the sugary breakfast and that morning cup of Joe!
That’s enough for me to try intermittent fasting. Try it for a few weeks and see the benefits for yourself.
Do one day of fasting every week
Like the above point, extend the intermittent fasting by one more day. At least one day a week, skip your regular meals, and try a whole day fasting. If it’s harder for you, you can try juice fasting. This one-day fasting helps in detoxifying.
Always check with your health care professional, if you can do a whole day fasting before trying it.
Say no to soda or bottled water or coffee at Starbucks
Just switch to drinking plain filtered water. There is enough research done on the harmful effects of soda. Why bother drinking it and increasing your intake of artificial sweeteners and preservatives in the soda. The same goes for the water bottles that come in plastic. I don’t care if it’s BPA-free or whatever. We will know about the dangers of BPA-free products after their prolonged use in maybe the next 10 years. Why wait until then? The best drink for humans is fresh spring water. In the absence of that, the next best option is filtered plain water. Agree, its an upfront cost but with a good water filtration system, you will end us saving on your weekly soda consumption and bottled water. Plus, your mind and body will start getting clearer, and thank you for this switch.
Ditto for Coffee takeout at Starbucks or whichever your favorite fast-food takeout restaurant is.
Coffee, first of all, is medicinal. So it must be consumed as medicine, not as a breakfast first thing in the morning. There is detailed research done on coffee. Read about it here. But if you love coffee and must have your daily cup of Joe, brew it at home. Many years ago, Wisebread had written a great article on how taking out coffee affects your financial health. Notice the prices are from 2005, 15 years ago. The principle still applies in 2020. Imagine all those people who read this article back in 2005 and decided to cancel the daily coffee purchase. They must behave saved close to $53516.82 by now ( keeping everything else constant- that is). I know Alison Lindstrom who read this article in 2005, commented on it, implemented wisdom shared on wise bread and now she is a full-time blogger with a nice 6 figure income.
So if you read this article in 2020 and decide to implement just one money-saving habit out of 52, I am hoping to meet you in 2035 living a completely financially independent life.
Learn first-aid health tips to get out of debt from Hospital bills
Do you know that most common ailments can be treated with simple herbal remedies and healthy foods? Natural health promoters emphasize that small symptoms such as medium fever, cough, cold is good for us. It’s our body’s way of talking to us and getting rid of accumulated toxins. Do not suppress these symptoms with over-the-counter medicines such as Tylenol or any other fever/ pain reliever or cough suppressants.
There are a lot of resources available for first aid health remedies. I love a simple book written by Rosemary Gladstar – Herbal recipes for Vibrant health for the entire family.
Get good at meditation
It’s good for controlling the impulse habits such as eating when not hungry or spending money of stuff you don’t need, want, or use. Start with simple 10 minutes meditation. Initially, it will be harder to focus on your breathing. But, trust me. It will get easier if you keep practicing it daily. I still use a free meditation provided by Headspace. They are offering three free meditations during Covid-19. Check them out here.
Sell unused stuff on Mercari or Poshmark
One of the easy ways to make money is to sell your gently used or unopened stuff in second-hand shops like Mercari and Poshmark. You will not only get the clutter out of your life but also discover another side gig to make extra income.
Do a NO-SPEND challenge to pay off existing debt fast
By now, you must have seen a few money-saving tips that are easy for you to implement.
Extend this money-saving further by trying a NO SPEND challenge for a week. Make it a fun activity where you challenge yourself and your family (if they are willing), to not spend any money on unnecessary things during this small challenge. If you have not done it ever, start small, like a weekend no-spend challenge. If you enjoy it, extend it a few more days and make it a week-long no-spend challenge.
On average, we do at least one no-spend challenge week in a month. So out of 52 weeks every year, we have 12 no-spend challenges. That adds up savings real fast. On average, during an week no-spend challenge, we save up to $200. That’s $2400 saved just by staying out of stores and away from Amazon.
Shop your pantry and the refrigerator before heading to the grocery store
Remember that tip about ” Say no to Food waste”? You can do that by using up what you already have in your pantry and kitchen. Get creative and make simple meals from what you have on hand. If there is anything else you need to add flavors to your meals, go ahead and purchase them in the grocery stores. But try to limit your purchases, if you have a refrigerator full of good food ingredients.
Remember, like the breakfast rule, we do not need to shop every single week for groceries. It’s just been promoted by marketers to get us to part without hard-earned income.
Shop once a month for bulk essential grocery
The keyword here is an ESSENTIAL grocery, which includes the items you use regularly in your household. If you own membership to big box stores such as Costco, Sam’s Club, or BJ’s, you can save a good amount of money by buying bulk groceries. Their products are packaged in big quantity. So it makes sense for bigger families. But even smaller families can benefit from the membership if they buy the stuff that gets used up well. Just plan your grocery trip in advance to control the amount of money you spend at these big box stores.
You save more by limiting the number of visits to the store. We are a family of two adults. So we usually visit the store once for our monthly grocery needs. Some months, we just skip shopping there if our pantry has leftover food.
Try Cash budget system at least for 90 days
I personally recommend using credit cards smartly for your advantage. But the cash budget system has done wonders for us in the past. Dave Ramsey is right when he recommends it for people having a hard time working with credit cards. Challenge is, it’s a big mindset change; if you have used credit cards for a long time.
This system requires you to account for every dollar you earn. Like, set a goal for every dollar. It’s also called a zero balance budget. Read more about it here. It works for everyone. Just stick with the cash budget system for at least 90 days. See what works for you and what needs to be improved. We tweaked this system for our family’s needs.
Learn to mend your clothes at home
Knowing how to sew clothing is a life skill but not every one of us has blessed with this craft. But anyone of us can learn to mend our clothes with a simple needle, thread, and a little bit of patience.
You don’t need to be a seamstress for this simple task. I started with smaller projects like mending the rip in the pillow covers, fixing loose or broken buttons on shirts, and slowly gave myself the confidence to make my own skirts, dresses, and nightgowns. It is such fun when you make your own clothing. You save money and save the environment by reducing the trash.
Over the years, we have saved at least $200-$250 every year by fixing our clothes.
In my favorite show Andy Griffith, aunt Bee always mends the clothes at home. I love her adorable vintage sewing box. I may not be good at sewing, but I would love that vintage sewing box.
Next time, you see a small tear in your favorite shirt or dress, see if you can fix it with a little sewing, instead of tossing it in the trash.
On one of my birthdays, hubby gifted me this Singer sewing machine. It is one of the best gifts if my life. If you love sewing your clothes at home or just like repairing clothes at home like me, invest in a machine like this. It will last you a lifetime. I know mine will!
Tip- Get this machine on Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale. And if you cant fix your clothing, don’t fret. Reuse those clothes for other purposes at home and at garages like cleaning rags and decor projects.
Spend one day alone at home or a nearby park
For those of you who are homebodies, it is easier to stay at home and enjoy your day doing your projects or just curl up with your favorite books. When you stay at home, either alone or with your family, you tend to control the impulses to spend your hard-earned money.
But the money you save depends on what you choose to do at home. If you end up ordering food delivery at home or spend money by doing shopping online, it is worse than going out for eating and spending money in the malls.
Our favorite stay-cation consists of cooking at home or in the yard, reading our favorites books/ magazines borrowed from the library, catching up on old movies from the 60s, also borrowed from library, Netflix binge during the winter days, waking up early on the weekend and heading to the nautical mile or the nearby beach, picnic in the park with close friends and finally, doing our simple craft and house projects.
Staying at home is easier during winter days but a little harder when the weather is good during summer. Explore your nearby parks or beaches during that time. Just make sure, you carry your own food and drinks.
On average, if you spend just one day at home and away from impulse shopping, you can save up at least $30-$50. Spend a few more days at home and that saving adds up. We tend to save at least $500 a month during the winter season. This amount gets smaller in the summer season but we still manage to entertain ourselves at a lower cost than most average Americans.
Related Article- 24 things to do during the pandemic in Christmas-2020
Reduce and reuse household supplies
Most of the household supplies like cleaning products, organizing products, and random household supplies can be reused for multiple purposes. Most cleaning products are way too concentrated. Just dilute them before using them. They work just fine.
Extend your savings further by making your own cleaning products from simple ingredients such as baking soda, vinegar, rubbing alcohol, rags from old t-shirts, etc.
Invest in yourself- Study top 5 personal finance books to get out of debt
All the money-saving tips so far are about reducing consumption, carefully saving, and investing your hard-earned money. That is all good to save up for emergencies, and big goals in your life that ultimately help you to retire early or be less dependent on your job or business. But we all need some creative output when we stop working for someone else.
Investing in yourself, your health, your skills is very rewarding. In this digital age, everyone can learn a few skills using free education resources. If you do not need to go back to college and earn an official degree, just audit the lessons given by online universities like e Cornell, Wharton, etc. I have collected a list of free education websites under the Resources page of this website.
You do not need any prerequisites for many of these courses. Only willingness to learn and discipline to follow through is required.
If you do not like going online to learn new skills, borrow books and educational DVDs from your local library.
In this tech world, more skills mean more money. Stay sharp with new technical developments in the world. It will come in handy someday, even if you don’t take a second or third career out of your skills.
Sleep early and wake up early
Now you will ask. “what has this got to do with saving money?”. I would say everything. When you wake up an hour early, you have time to relax, do exercise, visualize your dreams, read some inspirational books, learn a new skill, cook for yourself and your family with fresh food, and anything else that you never get a chance to do, when you wake up late and rush out the door for the daily grind at your work.
An hour’s day is all you need to work on your goals and achieve them with daily discipline. It starts with sleeping early a night before. That means you take back your time and energy for yourself, instead of giving it to the TV or Netflix drama.
Try it for a week. See how you feel. If you feel that you are gaining something, extend this tip for 14 days more. Soon enough, you will look forward to waking up early every single day.
Eventually, you either save money or time. I would say you will gain more when you take back your time.
Say no to unlimited data plans
In this internet age, everyone wants to be on the internet. We want the security of unlimited data plans just in case we run out of the data we consume. We are consuming, sharing, and trying to process more data than is humanly possible ever. Ever wonder what’s the actual cost of an unlimited data plan? This article talks about the hype of Unlimited plans.
But, I’m not talking about the actual monthly payment you make for the unlimited data plans. I am talking about the cost of being “always-on” the internet. It’s costing us reduced memory, increased hyperactivity, more impulse spending, more credit card debt, and lessor time with our loved ones.
In reality, most of us do not even need this false sense of security of unlimited data. We all were fine with limited data of 1Gb a month in the age of DSL and broadband wired connection. We were more focused at that time. We were more connected to each other, literally. We would spend more time outside in the fresh air and under the sun than now. We had lessor obesity, lessor hyperactivity.
Why then subscribe to unlimited plans and get hooked onto these smart devices that are making us dumber with every passing day and tracking every minute of every day we spend with the devices?
The question to ponder.
OK, let’s move on to money-saving tips.
Increase deductible on insurance
Insurance premiums are a regular payment that most Americans have to pay every month, quarter or year. This takes a major chunk of our monthly income. But almost 60% of us do not make any claims for smaller incidents at which increases our premium even further. Increasing your deductible on the insurance lowers this monthly payment.
Keep and save for 3 months of Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is important for everyone, no matter where you are living or where you are working. All personal finance experts recommend having at least $1000 tucked away in the liquid savings for emergency expenses. But that is just a recommended number, it may not be applicable to you or your family.
If you are living in an expensive city, have a bigger family, or have an underlying health condition in the family, this $1000 is not enough. Agree it’s a good start. But ideally, aim for 3 months of living expenses. If your living expenses are a bare minimum of $2000 or $3000 for your whole family, you will need to keep at least $6000- $9000 in high interest yielding savings account.
There are some banks that still offer better saving interests than others. Ally bank is good or any local co-operative bank near you is also a good option.
TIP- Just make sure that you don’t dip into this account for every small emergency. But, if you really need to withdraw money from this account, try to replenish it as fast as possible.
Take care of our ESSENTIAL possessions- including your talent
Learn to take very good care of your possessions. I’m not saying go overboard and possess more stuff than you need. But the emphasis here is on Key Essential possessions i.e your home, your vehicle, your work essentials, your skills/ talents. But first and foremost is your physical and mental health. This topic needs more explanation and I will write about it separately.
For now, remember that when you take care of what you own now, you don’t really feel the need to own more stuff in the future.
Don’t be the first one to try new updated stuff
This may sound completely weird to many of you but it’s costly to own the latest trend or upgrade. You pay for novelty and the manufacturer relies on you to provide feedback on the first version of their new product. Agree, they make it sound like you are getting a good deal by buying it first. The guerilla marketing trick calls it ” First time ever Promo offer”. But 8 out 10 times, you never get that better deal from owning the beta product.
That beta product gets updated soon enough, at a higher price. By the time, the upgrade comes, you’re used to this new beta product. Those same marketers now reach out to you again and offer another special discount to own the next best version. But do you really get the best deal this time?
The marketers should have paid you in the first place to be a beta tester. Many of you digital marketers will get angry at me for saying this. But that’s how I feel about most new protects or product upgrades. Not every manufacture or digital product creator falls in this category but most do.
Wait until the product gets older and get used by a few people at least. Read the reviews, although you can’t trust them all unless they are honest reviews. You get the idea right? Wait and practice delayed gratification.
And if it’s harder to wait, look for a used or second-hand product, except your vehicle. Again, why not buy a used car? The answer deserves a separate article. But for now, I would say, it’s very hard to find a good, safe, and drama-free car in the second-hand car market. Stick with an older safer car model and save enough to buy it with cash, if you do not get better loan terms.
Buying second-hand or used stuff is harder initially. But with practice and some good rules of purchase, this habit can save you a ton of money. No matter how much time we spend analyzing the stuff we want to purchases, the used / second-hand stuff always costs less. That includes even the older version of some items.
In any case, always do a comparison shopping.
In this over-connected, over-stressed, and “always-on” wireless world, we are consuming more electricity than we ever have before, combining all our past generations. COVID-19 – the small virus has increased this demand 100 folds every single day and night in every developed and developing nation. We prefer to spend our lives on the internet than with our loved ones.
Worse is even politicians worldwide are making sure we lose real touch with our loved ones and connect with them over the internet. Talk about the irony of social distancing.
We ain’t making more electricity than we need. Clearly a huge gap in demand and supply. You don’t need to be an economist to understand what comes next from this overuse.
But I digress.
For now, let me stick with the best money-saving tip ever.
Consume less electricity.
Switch to a slower, calmer, and sustainable lifestyle.
Switching to LEDs, CFLs, other energy-efficient appliances is all good. But what’s the point if you use these so-called ” green energy” gadgets more frequently every single day.
Other common ways to save electricity are insulating enough, line drying your clothes ( good for the life of your clothes and your wallet), use the necessary appliances in off-peak hours when the electricity rates are lower.
Tip- Learn to switch off the appliances by physically pulling them off the power source.
Live in a smaller home. Don’t go into large debt for a bigger home.
The average American homes in the 1960s were under 700 sq ft. Fast forward to the 2000s, we call any home under 700 sq ft a small or tiny home. What changed?
In the last 50 years, our disposable income grew. The stuff started coming here from China and other countries. Stuff that costs lesser than it used to. Stuff gives us the feeling that we are worth it. Stuff that doesn’t last long enough. Stuff that keeps updating every single year. We started shopping more, hoarding more. When the house gets smaller, we started pushing the stuff into storage places, paying extra money for the stuff that does not even get used.
Do you see where I’m going here?
Just explore living in a smaller home. It will save you money, time to clean and maintain, stress, and most importantly it will give you a chance to retire faster than you imagined.
Plan travel in advance
Even though many of us are working from home and abandoned all travels due to strict travel policies during pandemics, this rule still saves you money. Some money-saving experts do say that last-minute tickets and hotels can save you money, but I personally have never seen this. Last-minute travels always cost more than a planned journey because you are left with very few options to choose from. When I’m running out of time and have to make quick decisions, I usually make a costly decision. What about you?
Barter your skills and stuff
Imagine a world where we go back to our old ways of bartering our skills and stuff? The world will still have a simpler life, more trust in community members and we will never spend millions in the education system, trying to learn every skill in demand.
But I digress.
In this digital age, you can still barter your skills and stuff, if you just ask. E.g a good friend can babysit for you a couple of hours a week for helping her in her small business or running her errands. Your friend can help you design your website, in return, you can help her with bookkeeping. There are so many opportunities to help each other out. Just try.
Maintain your home and yard yourself
Maintaining a clean and safe home takes time and effort. But if it’s left unattended, it costs more than regular up-keep. Busy people like us often pay someone else to tackle the care of our yards and home repairs. Some home repairs do need professionals, but most smaller repairs and maintenance around the house can be done with little training. YouTube is filled with awesome DIY home repairs videos. Next time you need to call a handyman to fix that leak, head over to YouTube and give it a try. With every small repair, you will get confidence. In the past decade, we have learned to paint our home, fix leaks in the sinks, install shower heads, install tiles on the floors, patch up walls, repair the driveway, and install small appliances. We made a tone of mistakes too and had to call an expert sometimes. But eventually, every mistake gave us the confidence to try first.
Pay off your home mortgage early
First off, if you can don’t buy a home with a big mortgage. Ideally, if you own a piece of land, build your own home with a sustainable building material that will save you a tonne of money in the long run. But many of us are stuck in places or jobs where land is not available or it is not cheap.
Most of us opt for a 30 years mortgage and pay the required monthly payments. By the end of 30 years, we end up being roughly double the amount we had borrowed initially. So in effect, we pay for two houses but live in one. Another house is our gift to the bank who owns our house until it’s paid off fully.
Therefore, pay off your mortgage early by pitching in extra payment every year or month that goes towards your principal, not an interest. Every time you pay an extra payment towards your principal loan, interest comes down.
Say no to Advertisements
Advertisements are around us all the time. They are reaching us through TV, the internet, cell phones, billboards, mails, emails, YouTube, and even through our social media. There is no way of escaping them in this digital world. But you have a choice to not pay attention to them and disabling them on most channels of communication. Even if marketers decide to invade our privacy by multiple attempts to reach us, know that you have no obligation to watch them and make any purchasing decisions based on them. Always follow the needs vs wants philosophy and guard your wallet against pesky marketers.
Grow your own vegetables and herbs
If you spend a good amount of your weekly or monthly budget on groceries, growing a few vegetables and herbs will help you cut the grocery spending considerably. If you enjoy gardening and are good at it, you will get enough food for your whole family and may have some leftovers to make fermented vegetables like kimchi, sourkraught, etc. If you are blessed with more green bounty, sell it to neighbors or in the farmer’s market.
But if you are not very good at it or have a small space, start with growing herbs that are easy to plant and care for. I for one, am not very good at gardening. So, I usually grow my own micro-greens, peppers, mint, basil, and tomatoes.
Celebrate birthdays and special occasions economically
Do you often plan for days to find that perfect gift for your loved ones? Do you end up worrying about the gifts and their mounting costs every Christmas or on special days? Try making a few simple gifts for your loved ones. Pinterest has amazing collections of DIY gifts. Many of them do not even need a special skill or an artsy talent. . If you don’t like to make everything from scratch, try on-demand printing websites for making your own gift mugs, t-shirts, canvas, etc.
Try a capsule wardrobe
Take your savings further by trying a smaller wardrobe. You do not need to go full capsule-style but limiting your clothing to key good quality clothes will save you a ton of energy, time, and money for keeping those clothes well. I don’t have a capsule wardrobe in its true definition but I follow simple rules like not buying jeans in every color and type. I stick with 2 pairs of jeans- a Black and a Blue. Same with t-shirts. I stick with basic 100% cotton T-shirts in the colors I love the most. Until my clothes are worn out, they are not replaced with a new ones.
Always NEGOTIATE to get out of debt faster
This tip deserves a special place among all 52 tips. Even when you are not a frugal person, everyone must learn and know how to negotiate. It’s an essential life skill.
If you are in high-interest debt, talk with your loan providers and negotiate
Before you buy anything and I mean anything, know that there is always room for negotiation over the asking retail price. As a serious buyer, you must ask for a fair price that you are willing to pay for a product or a service. With the recent hype on online shopping, many of us are forgetting to negotiate, often paying instantly without a second thought. Amazon and other online shopping websites, make it very hard for a customer to practice negotiation. It’s usually easier to negotiate when it comes to shopping at the store in-person. But the big stores having multiple chains such as Walmart, Target, Costco, etc. also set a price and don’t expect us, buyers, to negotiate with them.
They do however offer discounts and sales that we think are a better bargain than paying a retail price. But even then, there is room for negotiation. Try it once, twice, at least 10 times before you give up. And if it doesn’t work, coupons are there for you to use.
One easy way we negotiate on household stuff is to buy local from a specialty store that makes their products in the USA and ask for a discount. This ensures that our local businesses get our orders and they give us a discount for not giving our business to big box stores that host MADE IN CHINA products. The products are high quality, last us a long time and they are worth every penny.
If there is no specialty store nearby us, I prefer shopping at the local thrift stores or online thrift stores such as Let Go, Mercari. The sellers on these platforms are usually open to negotiation and give you a better discount than any retail store. You help the seller, yourself, the shipping company (my beloved USPS), and most importantly, our mother earth by not letting the good products go to landfills.
The same can be applied for any services you pay for like cell phone service, internet service, etc. Always, always and always ask for reduced monthly charges. It’s one simple way to save money.
Follow a Minimalist lifestyle or follow simple Zen Habits
A minimalist lifestyle is an ultimate way to save money, energy, and time. The reason I kept it at the last is that it’s relatively harder than it sounds. Many of us are not in the right phase of life to adopt a completely simple minimalist lifestyle. But I’m sure all of us can adopt at least one minimalist life hack AKA Zen habit this year.
There is a ton of information on the internet on minimalism and Zen habits. My favorites are becomingminimalist.com and sloww.co. I don’t follow everything that’s suggested by the PROS but I pick and choose what I can follow for at least a year. Do you see a pattern here?
This year, I am following NO-BUY Challenge for clothing or fabric ( Yeah I make many of my own clothes). So far, it’s going great. I’ve 4 more months to practice this challenge. If during this time I want to buy clothing or fabric, I simply WAIT and reuse what I have or re-purpose what I can.
There are quite a few interesting discoveries I made during the past NO-BUY challenge. But it’s a topic for another day.
Be content- follow ACIM
A Course in Miracles my favorite tip to save money every single day. Now, you will ask me what’s ACIM has got to do with money-saving.
Have patience- let me explain.
It’s all about being content with yourself, your home, your work, and your surroundings. It’s a mind-blowing personal development course available completely for FREE by the writers of ACIM. The course is not easy for everyone to follow and complete. But once you start seeing life through the lenses of our creator, you will see why I recommend this course for everyone to follow.
Practice an attitude of gratitude
Giving thanks every day for every small thing shifts our attitude from the one of lack to one that is content. Top psychologists and law of attraction proponents talk about expressing gratitude all the time. There is immense truth in that.
A simple act of recalling good things and good people in your life just lifts up your spirit, no matter where you are, what you have, or where you want to go. It gets even better when we start writing about it every day. You can start now with just a simple pen and paper. Check out my gratitude journal for a whole year.
If you can’t think about anything specific, how about starting with the ability to hold pen and paper in your active hand? How about the ability to write? How about thanking you for this moment, this day, and this internet where you are reading this article?
The idea of saving money is not to lose joy in your life. It is about finding joy in smaller and simpler things in life. There are many ways you can experience happiness but to last it for a lifetime, we need to be less dependent on money and things that money buy. I have seen people with absolutely no possessions, no money to their name and yet they smile with a carefree attitude. the most valuable thing you will ever own is non-materialistic and are absolutely free. The choice is yours. Make one today!