There are countless ways to save more money so that you might feel lost. Where should you even begin? I’m excited to share some moves we tried that saved us a lot of $. It will work for you too!
We have looked hard at how we spend our money and have determined a few straightforward ways. This post isn’t about making significant cuts in spending and missing out on all the fun in life. It is more about prioritizing the essential areas.
You might know those moments when you have no idea where all the money went. Following our tips, you can kiss those moments goodbye for good!
Before we begin…
Instead of listing five easy money moves and calling it a day, we want to focus on habits! Only when you embrace these moves and create a habit around them can you make a meaningful and long-lasting change.
I would also like to recommend the excellent article “Frugal Tips of the Great Depression: Today’s Wisdom” by Catherine Mary from FrugalNook. This article takes the historical challenges from the Great Depression and converts them to valuable learnings you can apply today. Equipped with these tips, you can boost your savings rate much further.
- Review your Subscriptions
- Skip that extra coffee every Morning
- Always pay back your Credit Card in full
- Create Budgets
- Track your Money
Review your Subscriptions
Today more than ever, we are surrounded by subscription services. Seemingly every service wants to hang onto you for life. Take streaming services as an example: Netflix, Apple, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Paramount+, Peacock…the list goes on. On top of that, there are other services: Internet, mobile phone, auto-deliveries and many more.
If you calculate the total of that, you might be getting a surprise. These services may not seem expensive. But they do add up to a significant amount.
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Let’s go back to the streaming services example. You can’t watch all of them at the same time anyway. It might surprise you that you can cancel and re-enable many of the services. We have established the golden rule that only two streaming services are active at any time. When we want to watch a new show on a service we are currently not subscribed to, we disable another one for that subscription.
You can also take a look at your internet and mobile phone contracts. Many people keep the same contracts for multiple years. But looking for better alternatives once every year can save you a lot of money!
This next tip may be counterintuitive to you. There are some essential items we were buying repeatedly on Amazon. We saved 5-10% on those items every month by entering into a subscription. Since we buy these items anyway, this change was a win-win.
Skip that extra coffee every Morning
Many people get coffee from Starbucks or any other coffee shop in the Morning. Bringing your coffee instead can save a lot of money! It is also much healthier (unless you add an equal amount of sugar). If you can’t do without that, create a habit of only doing it once a week. That will make a difference too.
Always pay back your Credit Card in full
Credit card debt is the worst debt you can have! Trying everything you can to avoid it is generally good advice. You might say, “I pay the minimum required amount every month. Thus, I’m not getting charged interest”. But think about it. What happens when you can’t make the minimum payment next month because of some unplanned expenses? Yes, you get hit with a hefty interest rate. WalletHub says the average Credit Card APR is over 20% (July 2023)! That rate is something you don’t want to deal with.
Because Credit Card debt has a very high interest rate, refinancing that debt through a personal loan might be a good idea. Most of the time, you need to have a sufficiently high credit score. For example, TFC Title Loans offers loan services and has a lot of interesting reads on its blog about loans. You just have to make sure that once your credit card balance is low, you don’t start using it again.
The most important tip is creating proper budgets. By defining reasonable budgets, you set yourself up for success. They allow you to track where your money goes and if you can still afford to buy something. Important categories of budgets are Groceries, Shopping, Bills & Utilities, Auto & Transport, Pets, Childcare, Dining & Drinks, Entertainment & Recreation, Travel & Vacation, Home & Garden. Depending on your situation, there might be more or fewer categories.
We have defined budgets for all categories mentioned above and rigorously track our expenses. Since we do have budgets for dining out, shopping, and so on, we also have allowances for the fun stuff in life. You have a few options to optimize your spending after creating budgets:
- Choosing cheaper options for grocery shopping
- Not dining out too often
- Choosing alternative transport options
Also, check out our detailed budgeting guide for more information!
Track your Money
Today we are blessed with many apps and websites that can automate many of the tips mentioned here. Or your success in applying them. We are using RocketMoney, but there are also other solutions out there. They are all working the same. You create an account, link all your bank accounts, create your budgets, and categorize transactions into your budgets. These apps are also able to categorize transactions most of the time automatically. This is a time safer and gives you real-time feedback along the way!
We are super happy we did set up a tracking app! Especially since tracking your expenses across multiple bank accounts and credit cards takes a lot of work. I want to spend my spare time with the stuff I like, not sifting through my expenses.
We sincerely hope these tips are helpful to you! It can be scary at times starting the process, but rest assured, you will come out wiser and happier at the other end. Knowing what you spend your hard-earned money on is a good thing!
In the process, try focusing on the habits we outlined. They are where the real power lies. Keep in mind that forming a natural habit takes time. Usually, it takes about 6-8 weeks to form a habit, but after that, it becomes an automatism.
Also, don’t stress out too much if you are not seeing immediate success. Even just starting this process is a success. If you notice yourself falling into old habits, just come back and try again! Always keep in mind that you are doing this for YOU!
Interested in more savings tips? Check out our detailed Saving Money Guide!