Need some real ways to save money? Tight on cash, but want to live a life that's not led by eating ramen and never going out? Then check out these tips for real ways to save money.
1. Spend Only when You Need to (at Least Most of the Time)
I know, this one's tough to hear. I’ve tried really hard to train myself on not spending money unless I absolutely need to (excluding the occasional treat to myself). I know that I can easily fall into spending sprees, so I’m constantly asking myself if I need or just want something. Like when it comes to clothes, I try to only go clothes shopping when I need a particular item for an event. However, through a deal with myself, when I go to buy whatever I’m looking for, I’ll try to find something that I know I can wear multiple times or to multiple types of events. Small victory! This is one of the best real ways to save money.
2. Sometimes It Pays to Be Generic
I’m a big fan of generic grocery store brands. I often times find that the generic brand at stores is just as good as the popular brands, and they're significantly cheaper. I also always compare cost to product size/amount ratios. Sometimes it’s worth it to buy something in a larger size than a smaller size if you’re going to get more bang for your buck. But I don’t do this for everything I buy; only for products that I know I’ll use more of. For example, I won’t buy a bigger jug of milk because I know I probably won’t use all of before it expires, but I eat peanut butter with everything, so I know it’s worth it to buy the larger jar.
And on that note, make a list of things you can afford to go cheap on, and things that you should invest in. With most things I buy, I’ll get the cheapest options possible because I can still get just as good of results, but there are certain items that I know I should invest in, like toilet paper. I know it’s a small thing to think about, but when you buy cheaper toilet paper you not only have to use more of it, which ends up not saving you as much money, but it just hurts to wipe with. Work smarter, not harder.
3. Credit with Caution!
I never use my credit card. Ever. I’ve literally only used it twice in my life. I only use my debit card because that way I always know for sure how much money I have. I think this may be the biggest problem I see people encounter. Credit cards make it easy for people to lose track of how much money they have. So I only use it every once in awhile to make sure I’m still adding to my credit score.
4. The Power of Lists
Make a list! Write down everything that you usually pay for in a month (rent, groceries, etc.) For things that you don’t know an exact number, like groceries, just estimate as close as possible. And when in doubt I’d round up. Once you’ve made your list, look at it and see where you can cut down. You should try the app Mint – it lets you create that type of list and then you can file your expenses into their appropriate categories.
5. Set Spending Limits
I have limits for certain shopping areas in my life that I always stick to, because if not I know I can easily spend too much in those categories. Like clothes and groceries – whenever I go shopping for either I always give myself a set amount to spend, and I don’t go over it unless it’s absolutely necessary (like when you know you should get that fancy cheese for your dinner party).
6. All Hail, Pinterest
I know, I sound like a young stay-at-home mom, but that website really does offer great advice on saving money and living frugally. I’ve learned a lot from various articles I’ve found on there, and am sure that you can find even more tips than from what’s listed in this article. Just start searching for ways to save money and you’ll come up with a thousand great results.
Just kidding. But, while we're talking, don’t be afraid to use the resources around you. I get so many things from my work that I refuse to pay for otherwise, like pens, post-it notes, and panty liners (so many 'P' words!). If the world is lending you a helping hand, you should take it!
Living on a budget doesn’t have to be that hard, as long as you’re smart about it. I hope this article helps with your money management. It’s definitely a task that’s easier said than done, and something that I think takes a long time for most people to learn. Even I’m still learning how to budget better. Money is silly, but you’re not! So good luck, and cheers to saving more!