All the tips below are what I use in my daily life to save money fast and feel in control of my finances. I hope all these tips help you meet your financial goals. I will suggest following one or two of these to begin with if it seems very overwhelming at the moment and you are just starting out. But do not skip the number one – Budgeting!
Budgeting is your friend For Life
I am not the first person or the last to say that. This should be taught in school or by all parents to their children. There is a different type of unearthly satisfaction that budgeting brings when you know you are in total control of your finances.
If you are not budgeting already then follow my beginner tips to get you acquainted with this essential money saver. Without budgeting it is difficult to have an overlook of your finances and that is one of the biggest roadblocks in helping you save money fast.
First try to find out where you are spending your money. That could be from magazine subscriptions, makeup box subscriptions, starbucks habit, gym membership that you only end up using maybe two times a week (like me) etc.
Create an excel for a month recording every little expense you made. (This does not need to a very fancy one, just follow the steps below).
Categorize all these expenses by Must Haves, Can Do Without, Frivolous!
I want you to pay attention to the last two categories.
Now add a few categories in your excel- Needs and Wants , there is a difference in both.. per the grammar. Add to these items such as a vacation or an item you want to buy for yourself or for your loved one etc.
Do a simulation exercise by taking off money from your ‘Can Do Without’, ‘Frivolous Categories’ and add it to one of the new categories and you will be able to project how much you can save in a few months.
If you are always worried about the Christmas shopping than you should start with this every January! why I say that? Because it takes time to develop habits .The habit of recognizing not so important expenses and saving money is also a learned behavior. Plus you also have to account for the fact that you might miss a month or two here and there once in a while.
If you are already a savvy budgeter, do share your own tips for the beginners in the comments below!
Working towards a Saving Goal
Another trick is to save for a goal. Let’s say you put down a 3 month saving goal of $600. Now, start contributing to this goal without affecting your necessary everyday purchases. Keep a record of this in your budget file. The motivation to save will come when you see that you are making progress towards your goal.
Psychologically also, working towards a goal will help you stay focused and motivated.
Give Me More Deals
Looking for deals- Although time consuming but very helpful. It is very easy to find deals on groceries nowadays. With so many new online grocery delivery services online you can save so much using their discounts for new customers, sales events or even for bulk buying. I also encourage you to try the meal planning services. The new customer offers are really good and you can save money on your first few trial offers which will help you save on your weekly grocery budget and if you end up liking the service and want to continue.. even that’s a win win!
Coupons- Yes, I said it too!
Do not underestimate or be embarrassed to use coupons. They are out there to save you money!
This one is very obvious one and I am sure I am not the fist advocate for this one. Limit how much you spend on CableTV. You might be the one paying for cable and then some extra for premium TV services such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO etc. If you are seriously saving towards a goal then this sacrifice should be on your list. Maybe instead of cable just pick one other service such as Hulu or Netflix, that has TV shows and Movies from various other channels so that you don’t have to subscribe to basic cable or so many other TV networks.
This might seem a bit drastic to some people, but the decision to whether you need to do this or not depends on how you are doing with your finances. This is also where budgeting comes in.
There is so much free content on Youtube from TV shows, Comedy, Creativity and even Documentaries (National Geographic, BBC etc).
On top of it if you have Amazon Prime then you already have access to a lot of TV shows and movies as part of the membership.
Shopping..Sigh! I hear you…
This is a big one! Even for me since I love to shop.
With so many fashion websites out there picking the fashion trends for every season and blasting social media with publicity campaigns, it is difficult to not go out and purchase the latest fad. This is where trick#1 will help you. Budgeting will soon make you realize how this habit will affect you now and also in the long run. But feeling crippled by the budgeting habit is not the answer either. Budgeting should allow you some expendable money as well.
My advise is to invest in basics and limit your shopping to what you can truly afford without affecting your saving goals. This might be different for different people. Your budgeting excel will come handy here. Play around with the numbers on your excel, maybe you can skip a brunch or dinner outside and invite friends over to your place instead or have a small picnic in the park.
Budgeting will also help you find creative ways to save money fast for the splurge moments! Check out how I make extra income on the side to help me with my shopping without affecting my budget.
Now, Thrift stores are also a great source for designer wear and non- designer fashion. I have found so many gems at thrift stores over the years $22/ $33 for Zara Trench Coast, $12 for Men’s Sweaters, Accessories (always clean with some rubbing alcohol before wearing), Halloween costumes, Ann Taylor Dresses etc.
Remember that people often donate clothes to thrift stores in the areas where they live. If you want to score some branded clothes then plan to visit a thrift store in an upscale neighborhood. For instance, if like myself, you live in the Big Apple; Upper West Side in New York City is a great option. The area has a few thrift stores that you can check out!
The thrift stores are a hit or miss scenario, so the only drawback is that you are never sure if you will find what you are looking for. Sometimes, I come out of the store with 4 or more items, and sometimes empty handed. For this reason, I always have a list of things I need for the season and if not urgent, I save it for the thrift stores.
I must admit, the thrift store shopping makes me feel less guilty for owning more than 3 branded trench coats!
Even if the gas prices are not too high at the moment, a carpool saves more than just gas money. It saves mileage on your car and the need to change the car parts faster. If you drive daily to work then you should definitely look for a car pool. One way to find out if someone else is interested in a carpool is posting ads on your company cafeterias (with permission of course).
In addition to being environmental friendly and saving on mileage, this activity alone can spare you some time to catch up on news or maybe look out for ways to earn some additional income. Check out all the ways that you can earn money in your spare time here.
I would also recommend to read my other two blogposts to help you save money fast- Best Cash Back Sites to Boost Return on Your Spending & The Most Ingenious Ways to Multiply Cash Back
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Disclosure: Please note that this post contains affiliate links which means when you make a purchase through one of these links I get a kick back with no charge to you. This helps me earn a commission to keep my blog running without affecting my budget :).