There are a few things you can do to start saving money. They don’t have to be big goals and every small step count. After all, money won’t make you happy but it is a necessary means towards creating happiness. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs prove this idea that only when you have the basic needs/essentials and the feeling of security, love and belonging can you only achieve self-actualization, meaning happiness.
Here are some of the proven ways to put a little extra money away
1. Be Frugal -Do not buy unnecessary things you do not require. Digital shopping in this age of convenience have driven people to keep buying stuff they don’t actually need. Don’t be one of them. Some people I know buy stuff because they are cheap or they feel like buying it but don’t necessarily need it. For what? You are just accumulating so much trash at home that you will end up not using and throwing it away. What a waste!
2. Go cheap on entertainment and vacations- How many times have you thought of going on vacation to entertain yourself and go far far away? Do you have the itch to go somewhere? Hmmm, probably a whole lot especially when you see your friends on Facebook or Instagram posting those nice photos they just took to Hawaii. Well, guess what, you don’t have to go far far away to find good places to entertain yourself. Go to Facebook and scout all the free concerts in your area. Even try to find some activities your community might be organizing for free. Some free yoga or zumba classes perhaps? Also consider going on a picnic to a park near you and bring your own food and wine. These activities nearly cost you anything and at the end of the day you would have entertained yourself otherwise and you can actually tell your friends you went somewhere. Believe me, you will appreciate the free things in life you don’t have to pay for.
3. Shop for Auto and home insurance- Each year you will have to renew your auto and home insurance anyway, so why not do some research and get some quotes from reputable insurance agencies. Most of the time, you will get good discounts for being new customers and also remember there are deeper discounts offered if you buy both auto and home insurance together.
4. Shop using Ebates- Do you need to buy your skin care products or some new pair of clothes for work? Use the ebates app, you can install it from your phone or install the plug in from your computer. To take advantage of this discount, follow my link at https://www.ebates.com/r/J2ZIG5?eeid=28187 . You will get $10 for just signing up using the link I have provided for you. So, what is ebates? It is basically a cashback app that you can use when you do any kind of shopping. You go to the app and pick a store you would like to shop at example: Macy’s, sephora etc. This companies offer you cash back to lure you more to keep shopping. Just remember, only shop for what you need.
5. Invest your bonus- Do you get bonuses each year? If you are one of the lucky few, then get luckier by investing your bonus rather than spending it. You can invest your bonus towards putting it towards your retirement IRA account or also open a trading account and start learning how to trade. Money saved always grows, that’s the power of compound interest.
6. Negotiate your phone or any bills- Many of us are just too lazy to look at our bills sometimes and we just end up paying for it and don’t even bother to see what we are actually paying for. Chances are you can save money by just reviewing your monthly bills sometimes and call your carrier if you see some discrepancies. When you call them make sure to also ask for current discounts or programs they are currently running. At times, they can help you lower your bill also by looking at your usage rate and so on and so forth. You get the idea.
7. Fill out those class action lawsuits you get in the mail- Do you get those mail or emails that tells you about some class action lawsuit that you are apparently part of since you were at some point a customer of a certain company? Guess what, if you haven’t been filling these ones out, then you are missing out. This is extra money for you by just filling out the application they send you and it would only cost you a couple of minutes of your time. I have filled out a few of these over the years and have gotten checks as big as $89 for some lawsuit that was filled on the consumers behalf.
8. Sell your stuff – Okay, so you have all this stuff sitting in your garage that you don’t use or touch anymore and its just accumulating dust. Why not sell them? I have sold a few myself using facebook market place and craigslist. I was happy to have some extra money in my pocket. Believe me, you would rather have the money than all the clutter in your garage.
9. Use your creditcard – This is a unconventional advise since not many people are disciplined enough to pay their bills in full every month. The reason I advise of this is because you would want to take advantage of the free points you get when you purchase or pay your bills using your credit card. If you have not done so, do yourself a favor and sign up for a credit card that give you points for your purchase. There are a few out there that are really good. A new one for instance is the wellsfargo propel credit card that gives you 3X the points towards any purchase which you can redeem towards cash, travel and some other options as well. They even give you $300 just for signing up. Best part, no annual fees! So there you go, you just made yourself $300 and also taking advantage of points you can convert to however you choose to.
10. Look at your Refrigerator- Some of you might be asking but why? Are we not talking about saving money here? Yes, you are right, we are talking about saving money. Did you know that too much food and excess stuff in your fridge is costing you so much money? So instead of running to the grocery all the time, I suggest look at your refrigerator first and eat or cook what is inside before you even think of buying more food. Chances are, you have at least 2 months’ worth of food in your fridge you forgot you bought. You do not want to be cleaning out your fridge and throwing out food, or should I say you are throwing money away. So next time, go look at your fridge first before spending more money on food.
11. Stop eating out and buying your coffee at starbucks- Alright, I’m not for penny pinching but you can’t deny it, eating out too much is unhealthy as you cannot control the portions of food they serve you plus you spend a lot of money eating out when you can cook yourself a really nice good meal anyway. You can also make yourself some good coffee by just using your Keurig you already own in your house. Its cheaper than buying your coffee at Starbucks every day.
12. Recycle your plastic bottles and cans- In California where I live, people are obsessed with recycling. At least thats what I have observed. It is a good thing and you are also helping the environment. There are many recycling centers where you can bring your plastic bottles and cans. Would it be nice to have that extra $15 or $22 in your pocket and use it again to buy your bottled water and sodas?
13. Pay your bills ontime and avoid late fees- A no brainer if you would ask me, pay your bills on time to avoid any extra charges. You can automate this by setting up a monthly pay bill with your online banking.
14. Reduce you use of energy at home- May it be winter or summertime, there are a few ways to save money on your home energy bill. Sign up for a free program with PG&E, I have mentioned this in one of my blogs in the technology section. Change your lightbulbs with energy saving lightbulb. Turn off any appliances you don’t need and avoid using energy during peak hours as P&GE charges more during this period. Mostly early in the morning from 7-10am and evening from 5-9pm. If its during the summer time, instead of turning on your air-conditioning, why not close all your blinds and use energy saving electric or ceiling fans instead. Or better yet, set your thermostat to automatically adjust when you are home and when you are away.
15. Take public transportation when its cheaper- If you are like me who live in the bay area and there are abundant ways to get around, then you might want to consider taking public transportation specially when it is cheaper than filling up your tank and paying for toll fees in the bridge. I know a few people who live in San Francisco or even close to the bart train station, they use their bikes to go around town or to work. It cost them close to nothing plus you get a chance to also be fit and healthy using your bike every day. Trains are a good way to get around the city you are also helping the environment by creating less pollution.
Bottom line, there are many ways to save money every day. You just have to be flexible, innovative and creative at times. Sure, some of them can cause you some inconvenience but in the long run, if you goal is to save money for whatever you are saving money for, I say it’s well worth it.
What are your other thoughts of saving money? Drop me a message- firstname.lastname@example.org