We all know that we should be looking for more ways to save money. It’s the smart and responsible thing to do. But being “smart and responsible” seems to be less of a priority when we see the next shiny new thing we want to buy. Well, there’s good news and there’s bad news for you.
Let’s start with the bad news. No matter which way you look at it, you are going to have to scale back some. The good news is there are a lot of hidden drains on your bank account. And the more of them that you find, the less you’ll have to scale back on the things you really enjoy.
So this article is focused on 5 creative ways to save money that won’t make you feel like you’re sacrificing all that is fun in life!
#1 Stop Wasting Energy
Before you resort to sitting in the dark after work to save a few dollars, you might be surprised to find out that your home is sucking up a lot of power that you aren’t even benefiting from.
Every time you leave the house and forget to turn off the thermostat, you’re wasting money for no reason. Every time you leave a light turned on in a room nobody is in, you’re wasting money for no reason. There are a lot of tricky ways that you end up spending money on energy that you didn’t actually get any benefit out of. So here are a few energy smart tips to practice:
- Give yourself 5 extra minutes each morning to go through each room and turn everything off, including the thermostat.
- Unplug all appliances when you aren’t using them. Plugs drain power even when the appliance is off.
- Make sure your heating, A/C, and appliances are all in full working condition.
- Buy energy efficient light bulbs.
- Take phone chargers and other device chargers out of the wall when not in use.
- Use natural light during the day instead of lightbulbs.
- Only do laundry when you have a full load (hand wash if you need something cleaned urgently).
- Hang dry laundry instead of machine drying. This sounds like a lifestyle change. But it actually takes only about 10 minutes to hang clothes. And if you hang them in the evening, they’ll be dry and ready in the morning (even when hung indoors!). Your clothes will also last a lot longer because air is much gentler than a machine.
- Don’t stand and stare into an open refrigerator. Open it when you know what you want.
- Replace your dumb appliances with smart appliances.
- Turn off the shower while shampooing, soaping up, shaving, etc. Only turn it on to rinse.
Following these tips can save you more than 30% on your utilities each month.
#2 Get Rid of Cable
At first, this sounds like one of those ways to save money that will be a major sacrifice. But with the internet, you have more available online at much lower prices than your cable bill. You can give up cable and replace it with one or two online subscriptions.
This lets you get exactly the content you want without paying for a bunch of channels you don’t ever watch. And be honest now, how many channels do you actually regularly watch?
#3 Practice the 30 Day Rule
This one is a little tougher but still lets you have fun. If you feel the sudden urge to splurge on something, take a note of what it is. Wait 30 days. And if you are still just as interested in having it 30 days later buy it.
This is one of the best ways to save money because it still lets you buy the things you truly want. And at the same time, it’s saving you from wasting money on things you don’t actually want.
Go look in your closet and cupboards and count how many things you own that you almost never wear or use. Now imagine if you had the cash value for all of those things sitting in your bank account right now instead of that junk taking up space in your home? That’s what this strategy will help you do.
#4 Meal Planning
Before you even think about setting a dollar value limit on your groceries, you can simply practice the zen art of meal planning and watch your bill shrink naturally. When you plan out your meals for the week and then buy exactly the ingredients you need in exactly the amounts that you need, you start spending with purpose.
You will end up with groceries that you actually use. And you will stop mindlessly tossing things into your cart because they seem good in the moment (I’m looking at to you, weird can of soup that’s been sitting in the cupboard for years).
You also won’t be spending money on meat and produce that just ends up getting thrown away because you forgot to use it. So this is definitely one of the most surprisingly effective ways to save money.
#5 Talk Your Way into Lower Bills
This can potentially save you hundreds but it’s not for the faint of heart. Here’s what you do:
- Make a list of all the bills you pay each month.
- For each bill, do some research into competing companies and look for a comparable plan or service that is being offered for less than what you pay.
- Call up your provider and threaten to switch to the competitor.
This is going to take some work and some staying power. They will probably try to fight you on it. And you may not succeed with every single bill. But, if you are persistent and annoying enough, they will actually lower your bill! This can save you as much as 25% on each bill!
A Final Word on Finding Ways to Save Money
This list is by no means complete. You can find more tips here. And there are literally hundreds of ingenious ways to save money. Once you start restructuring the way you think, you’ll be able to find where the leaks are in your bank account. Use this article as a source of inspiration to continue investigating all the different ways to save money that can leave you with extra couple hundred bucks at the end of the month without even making significant changes!