6 BEST Money Saving Tips of All Time

number six, six, six money saving tips

No matter who you are, you’re looking to save money in some shape or form. Saving money can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be with a little patience, some planning and even a little delay of instant gratification. It’s not as hard as you think to trim a little more from your spending and save a little extra from each paycheck. But, where do you start? There are many blogs, newspapers and magazines that share money saving tips. Some are outright ridiculous, while most are very solid tips. So, in order to simplify things a little, here are 6 BEST money saving tips of all time according to a few of us here at Finance Fox.

1. Budgeting and Self Control

I’m a big budgeting geek, and love to bust out my budget every two weeks on payday.  Writing it all down allows me to create a plan of how the money will be spent, what will be left over, and more importantly what I’ll do with the leftover money after all the bills are paid. Putting it down on paper will make it more real, and will increase the chances of you succeeding. Furthermore, by seeing all the numbers and where they money will be going, it also puts my self control into work by prolonging a possible purchase. So, if there’s no money around in this month’s budget to purchase “XYZ”, then it will have to wait for another time.

2. Cooking Your Own Food & Brown Bagging it to Work

Cooking your food at home vs. eating out will save you a shit load of money. Brown-bagging your leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch at work will save you even more money. Aside from my ridiculous budgeting addiction, cooking my own food and taking lunches to work was something that paid dividends very quickly in my journey out of debt. Generally I made large batches of dishes at home throughout the week, so I didn’t have to cook every night. I’d also freeze certain meals and put it away in containers for easy access, simplicity and more importantly to save time, energy and money.

3. Comparing Before Buying

Comparing prices is absolutely necessary in order to maximize any savings goals, yet far too many of us don’t do it enough. Comparison shopping is easier than ever today with the Internet at out fingertips and most stores willing to match the prices of their competitors, so there’s no excuse not to comparison shop before you buy an item. Furthermore, in the early days of the Internet, product comparison wasn’t easy since not many shopping websites were discovered yet.  We had to rely on discovering those online sites that offered the best price by continuously using search engines.  Today that’s no longer the case , as there are  many sites available to help you choose the best product and save money along the way. Here are a few shopping engines that are popular in Canada, and that I frequently visit:

Comparing before buying goes beyond purchasing everyday household items. You should always compare your insurance rates, mortgage rates, utility bills and even your credit card interest rates. Why pay more than you have to?

4. Automate Your Savings

As someone who did finances manually for many years, I know very well the power of automation. Rather putting away money into an account manually, set it up through your bank or a totally different financial institution to automate your savings. For example, I have an account with ING Direct, and every second Friday (bi-weekly pay period), ING withdraws $100 from my RBC account. This way I take my self out of the equation, save my self loads of time and more importantly never miss a savings opportunity. Trust me, you’ll never get ahead in the savings game unless you automate. It took me years to realize, but I’m glad I finally got it right.

5. Reuse

Very few people (not saying all…so don’t jump on me) reuse. This includes using the free cycle network, buying used, shopping thrift, shopping at garage sales and using your local library to borrow. These are just some of the ways we all can take advantage of second hand items and re-use them. In reality though, majority just buy new to replace the old, and therefore leading to what I call hoarding. Here are just some tips on how to be more environmentally friendly and become friends with your wallet through reuse:

  • Ziploc Bags – Can be washed, dried and reused.
  • Dryer Sheets – Cutting them in half, they’ll last twice as long.
  • Soap Slivers – Can be thrown into a shampoo bottle, and with a little water can be used as shampoo or body wash.
  • Coffee Grounds – Use as fertilizer.
  • Bi-Weekly Contact Lenses – I stretch mine to two months generally, and they work fine.
  • Plastic & Foam Takeout Containers – They make great lunch boxes or food storage boxes. No need for new Tupperware.

Here’s a neat graphic on how to reuse plastic sandwich bags 14 different ways: 

6. Buy Less Than What You Can Afford

Far too many people get caught up in the whirlwind  of  home ownership, and forget that owning a home goes beyond paying the mortgage every month. There are ongoing expenses such as property taxes, maintenance, repairs, utilities, home insurance and other unforeseen expenses that are overlooked at times.  If you purchase a home that costs $30,000 less than you could afford, you could save $1,500 annually in interest costs alone and many hundreds more on property taxes, maintenance and utilities. Do your research ahead of time, and don’t let your Realtor bully you into buying more than you feel comfortable, because there’s more to life than having your every lost dollar go towards home ownership. Certainly you’ll want a new-er car one day, a vacation or even to possibly fund your kids education one day.This same principle can be applied when shopping for a new car, and you know that you can afford a $700 monthly car payment, but do you really want to stretch your budget to the max? I think the answer is pretty clear.

Certainly there are way more money saving tips that could be added to the above list. However, rather than repeating a bunch of them, I decided to simplify and ease the reading by putting together these six tips to help anyone at any age save more money. Saving money is no easy feat, and it’s certainly not an overnight process. I think it’s more mental than anything else, and if you get behind the numbers, and into a routine – you’ll be well on your way towards a very comfortable lifestyle. For those of you that are already there, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, and if you think for a second you’ll realize that you’re already implementing some, if not all of the above tips into your life daily.

Readers, how many of the above tips are part of your life daily? Where can you improve? Have I missed anything that you think could be added?
Eddie

Photo Credits (bitrebels.com, caroslines)

Comments

  1. I have to agree with several of your points, especially automating your savings (you’ll never do it if you wait to see how much you have left) and cooking at home and brownbagging. I’ve tried to reuse ziplocs, but they just get nasty. You know I have to disagree on overwearing contacts to save money. Contacts are so cheap if you look at a monthly cost compared to other things we use, they are not that great of an expense. Most people stretch two week lenses to a month or monthly ones for several months. A few days here and there doesn’t really matter, but chronic overwear takes a toll. You might do this for years, but it will catch up, either with dry eyes that make lens wear uncomfortable, or worst case scenerio, a big fat ulcer. Most people’s eyes are not quite the same after that. I see this every week, and it really sucks, but people do it to themselves. Kind of like the smoker who smokes two packs a day for years, then is surprised to find he has lung cancer. I’ll get off my soapbox now, but I would suggest finding savings in other areas and do the best you can for your eyes.
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  2. I do most of those but don’t reuse ziplocs too, it is a waste of time for me. I buy the cheap kind, usually use them to freeze and thaw something, then dispose. I would add DIY, be it oil change, fixing a leak or grooming your dog, do as much as you can yourself. This is time better spend imo than reusing ziplocs.
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  3. Great tips! Looking at them I think we do all of them. We’re big on #5 and reusing things that can and should be reused. I had never thought of using soap slivers like that, might just have to try that myself.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..Frugal Friday: Posts That Ruled This Week, I Ate Too Much Turkey EditionMy Profile

  4. These are tried and true savings tips without a doubt. I especially stretch out the use of my monthly contacts by an extra month as I clean them daily and knock on wood I have never had any issues with my eyes for the 20+ years of wearing contact lenses.
    K.K. @ Living Debt Free Rocks! recently posted..My Weekly T.G.I.F.My Profile

  5. I have to laugh at how simple these are. When you look at them, they’re no-brainers. The problem is that we never stop to think about it. Society is so fast paced and marketing is screaming BUY NOW! ACT FAST! HURRY BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

    Things like this post really illustrate how personal finance is not rocket science, it’s just being aware and disciplined.
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  6. While not everyone can do this, one of the best ways I’ve saved over the years is by not having a car. I’ve always lived either in the city or on an easily accessible public transit line. I’ve easily saved $30,000 over the years which has resulted in more cash flow for investing and paying a mortgage. I was also lucky enough to drive my parents old beater for awhile, it didn’t look good or go fast, but it got me from A to B!
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  7. I like to cook at home a lot. That is why I eat homemade food at work. It’s tasty and cheaper. Really good tip.
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  8. Comparison shopping is an excellent idea. I always look for similar products and I choose to buy the cheaper ones. I agree with your saving tips. I learned a lot. Thanks for sharing.