A few great ways to save money

saving money

This year I’ve been doing a series of resource posts on some of the most widely covered topics. So far we’ve covered how to make a personal budget and ways to cut your debt. This week we are focusing on some great ways to save money.

I still remember the day it dawned on me that by actually thinking about and monitoring where my money was going, I could actually have a lot more of it. As a person who spent many years not paying attention to where my money was going, it was quite an eye-opening experience.

I remember seeing my credit card bills and wondering to myself how going out to eat a few times and a knick-knack here or there could add up to hundreds of dollars.  I would often recalculate the totals because I was sure that the credit card company had made a mistake. Yet I never found a calculation error on their end – it turned out it was just foolish overspending on mine!

Beginning to try to save money

I then started with the easy ways to save money by trying to cut back on going out to eat, say no to unnecessary purchases, and invest some time shopping for a better deal. To my surprise, the small amount of energy that I put into saving money yielded hundreds of dollars of savings – rather than just a few bucks that I previously assumed.

To clarify, I just thought all the money-saving techniques, like buying used, cutting or printing manufacturers coupons, and cooking food at home would only yield a small amount of savings – so I never tried them. Since I was good at spending more money than I had, I was able to save a lot of money just by making a few small adjustments.

Americans love new cars and eating out

I remember interviewing a very wealthy mentor of mine and he said that many Americans trade retirement savings for being able to drive a new car and go out to eat. He explained that just by making the sacrifice of not always driving a new car and eating at home, it is so much easier to get ahead and build wealth. (Related Article: How your car affects your financial freedom)

Over the years I can say that I can’t agree more – particularly when it comes to cars. The average American spends way too much money on car-related expenses. From paying for the car itself, interest charges, insurance, maintenance and repairs, and taxes some people end up spending over 30% of their income for car-related expenses. All for something that quickly depreciates and typically sells for a fraction of what you pay for it new.

Eating out

I still love eating out, but my wife and I have chosen to make it more of a celebratory event – rather than a daily occurrence. To save money when we do eat out, we often use our Entertainment Book cut our our bill by just about half.

So anyway, while cars and food are two great places to start saving money, there are countless other ways to save some bucks…

 

Check out our related book:

How to Save Money

How To Save Money: A 21-Day Challenge To Save $500/Month
 
“This is a great book with lots of money saving advice. Well worth the price! It’s short and sweet, giving you easy ways to save money each month.”
 
— Maggie S., Amazon reviewer.

 
 

More articles to help you save money

These are some of the articles written over the last few years that will help you save money in a variety of ways. And if this isn’t enough, you can always scan all the articles in the save money category.

 

Got any great tips or ways that you save money?

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18 Comments
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  1. Thanks for such a great post! I also used to think my credit cared company made a mistake :) too. What I did was call them and lower my credit limit to an amount I felt was ok for the month. Now, I make sure my expenses never exceed that amount, rather I have some leftover amount monthly. Dave Ramsey’s books are great.

  2. Great advice contained in this article, much less the wealth of useful information in the links.

    One of the biggest things I’ve done to help me save money on unplanned expenditures is to carry some “emergency food” with me. I throw some poptarts or peanut butter crackers in my bag, and I don’t have to stop at a fastfood place for breakfast when I’m caught out hungry.

    Likewise, a chocolate bar often covers my desire for a pick-me-up coffee run during the day. I don’t even have to eat the whole thing. I break off a single square and let it melt in my mouth. It not only lasts longer (I buy good quality chocolate, and the last bar has lasted a month or so), but I actually taste it and savor the flavor.

    The last suggestion I have is to carry a refillable bottle. Since I gave up sodas this year, I’ve been drinking lots of water (which I did anyway, but more now). Since I have my own bottle, I don’t have to buy one at a gas station at high prices. A quick run to a water fountain or a sink if need be, and I’ve got free water all day long.

  3. As always, these tips are great! My husband and I also only eat only when we are celebrating something special. We also find that tracking our purchases using Quicken works great. We feel really accountable for everything we spend when we know it will be recorded in Quicken. It’s a great way to keep our spending in check.

  4. i think that one of my major vices is eating out. as for the cars, i have never seen the need for one and between me and you, i am not such a good driver. i dont even have a drivers license. i have a mentality that when it comes to big things like cars and expensive electronics, i will need it if and only of i am in a position to pay for it in cash. for now, i take the bus and walk it out. But the thing is that everyone has his/her spending vices and mine is the occasional meal in a restaurant

  5. Such a great post! This article contains great advice and useful infos. This post may help people realize that saving money is very important.

  6. Great article! These are some really useful tips. My colleagues started a game where they accumulated points for catching someone who left their light on when they weren’t in their office or cubicle. It’s a fun way to integrate green accountability in the workplace.

  7. I agree with the expense of a car. I spent a summer without a car a couple years ago and I saved hundreds of dollars/month. Plus I was walking everywhere, so I was forced to get exercise. Of course, not so great when it was raining.

  8. Saving money is more an attitude than anything else. Everyone has the chance to make it and most of us can achieve really big savings without big sacrifices. It’s the decision to start and do something about it that’s hard to take.
    I believe people need to understand what would happen in the future with their personal finances if they decide to spend or save. Whenever we realize the difference it might make, we will be motivated to take that first step and stick to it.

  9. Fru-gal Lisa

    I agree with the car comment. I was driving a 12 year old car, and didn’t have a problem at all with it..it got me from Point A to Point B very cheaply and all was well..until the transmission died. Turns out replacing the transmission would cost more than the car’s Blue Book value. And I’d just replaced the freeze plugs before that! So, at the advise of my family, I bought another, newer used car. The Lord blessed me by leading me to a real nice, low mileage one. But I will likely never buy a brand-new car again. Like Dave Ramsey says, you lose half the value the minute you drive it off the dealer’s lot.

    One thing not mentioned was entertainment and electronics. I’m still using the TVs I inherited from my folks. My sets are 20 or more years old. They work fine and I will use them until they totally quit working. I don’t use cable or satellite. I went to Radio Shack and invested in a converter and some high tech rabbit ears, a one-time expenditure. This saves me anywhere from $10 to goodness-knows-how-much per month in cable and satellite fees, and the entertainment is fine.

    It’s healthier for you not to sit long hours in front of the TV, anyway, not to mention that as Christians, we shouldn’t be watching a lot of the stuff that’s broadcast these days. “Hollywood morality” is an oxymoron. I sometimes go to friends’ houses for movies, many of them broadcast on the cable classic movie stations, and that’s a real treat for me. (However, one of our area’s new HD channels broadcasts classic movies over the air now.)

    I can’t imagine wasting big bucks for HD TVs or home theater set ups, not to mention the monthly cost of movie channels or cable/satellite bills. Burglars love newer electronics, but I doubt anyone would steal my golden oldie televisions — not only are they considered outmoded, but they’re too heavy and bulky to easily cart off!

  10. A great way to save money thanks for such a great information…… Thank You…

  11. Jerry Straley

    I really enjoying coming to your website and looking at all of the content that you offer. I have taken a giant leap and purchased a domain name and a picked a hosting company. I don’t have a clue on where to start on my website. I sure would appreciate any help you could offer.

  12. Great highlight of the fact that cars depreciate in value. Everyone who is conscious of their finances should take note of this when calculating the cost of a car. Usually by buying a car that is at least 3-4 years older, you can save thousands of dollars per year in depreciation.

  13. So many great ways to save! We’ve found that shopping at warehouse clubs actually costs us more because we buy so much stuff that we don’t need and in large quantities. Then struggle to use it before it goes bad. We started shopping at Aldi’s and the prices are great. We can get a week’s worth of meals for a family of four for around $40. Not everything is great, but with some practice you can find items that are good and inexpensive.

  14. Its amazing how many people eat out and buy things they don’t need any only later in life realize they don’t have any savings and they don’t own anything that appreciates (rather than depreciates). Eating out may seem like $10 here and $20 there, but it truly adds up and if you eat at home you can find that after just one year your bank account will have more zeros.

  15. My husband and I stopped eating out years ago and we have saved so much just by doing that. What we do now is we have a special evening on a Saturday evening at home and cook a really nice meal, put some good music on with a few bottles of wine and I can honestly say that neither of us miss the whole restaurant scene and we don’t spend anywhere near what we spent before. As a matter of fact we find it more fun to be at home now, sometimes we invited friends over to join us but going to restaurants are a thing of the past for us.

  16. Have you looked into any companies that are helping consumers save money? There’s a few energy companies out there that will save money vs the incumbents (15-30% in cases I’ve seen). I’m sure there’s other companies out there that do this for other every day expenses, too.

  17. Great money saving tips. I agree eating at home will save us a lot of money.

  18. I save my change. Each evening when I get home I empty my purse of change and place it in a box. One year I had close to $400.00 dollars.

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