No matter where you are in your financial journey, you can begin saving more money by making a few easy life changes. Sometimes the first step is simply realizing you want to save more and figuring out how to do so.
To help you get started, we put together 10 easy ways to save money. While none of these will help you save thousands instantly, together, they can help put more money back in your pocket.
1. Turn off the lights
Leaving your lights on at home isn’t expensive on a per-watt basis, but over time, it can add up. Turning off lights when you leave the room can help save more in the long run. Take advantage of natural light or low-energy light bulbs to help keep your electric bill down.
Did you know lamps and electronics can use electricity even when they aren’t on? While it can be a minimal amount of electricity, unplugging appliances before leaving for an extended amount of time can help save money.
2. Reap the rewards
No matter where you shop or dine, you're probably asked to join rewards programs. Receiving coupons or freebies from places you frequent could help you save money without sacrificing the things you enjoy. If you’re worried about getting too many emails, you could even open a new email account for emails from stores and restaurants. When it’s time to shop or eat here, simply search your account for emails with coupons or discounts.
Related post: Maximizing Your Credit Card Rewards
3. Price-shop everyday expenses
You may have a favorite grocery or clothing store, but have you price-shopped your everyday purchases? Keep track of the 20 or so things you buy most often, and then shop for them at a variety of stores to see which store can help save you the most money.
4. Plan meals and get cooking!
If you frequently eat out at restaurants, cooking more at home will help save money over time. Plan ahead by looking at your grocery store’s weekly ad to see what’s on sale and base your meals around those items. With a variety of free recipes online, you can easily cook up something tasty!
5. Buy more in bulk
Items you often use may be worth buying in bulk. Buying staple items such as trash bags, laundry detergent, or toilet paper in bulk can help cut down on their cost per usage. Use a calculator to calculate how much a roll of toilet paper is in a 6-pack versus a 36-pack and you might be surprised by how much you could save by buying in bulk.
6. Cut the cord on cable
With a variety of online streaming options, including Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime, you could save money by ditching cable and switching to one or more of these services. With cable prices expected to rise, it’s a great time to look to alternatives and save more..
Start small and consider canceling cable during the summer months when you can be outside. Even a few months without cable could potentially save you quite a bit of money.
7. Skip the coffee shop
If you’re spending $4 to $5 on coffee every day, that can add up. Try a new approach by making coffee at home just a few days a week. If you buy a $4 coffee every day and decide to make a cup at home even one day a week, you can save around $200 a year.
8. Cancel unused memberships
Take a look at any recurring payments you may have. Are you paying dues at a gym or for a service you aren’t regularly using? Think about whether you’re utilizing them enough to justify the money every month. Remember, you can always renew the membership or sign back up at a later date.
9. Cash-in on unused goods
When was the last time you used those golf clubs in the back of your garage? There are likely quite a few items around the house you no longer need, but other people could find them valuable! There are a variety of sites you can visit or places to go (i.e. Play It Again Sports or consignment shops) to sell items laying around for cash.
10. Think twice before buying
This is the easiest way to start saving more money. Before buying something, no matter how expensive it may be, think about whether you really need it. Give yourself 10 to 30 seconds to really consider whether it’s worth the price and helps you reach your financial goal. It may sound simple, but it could stop you from impulsively buying something you don’t really need.
There are a variety of ways to start saving more money – these are just the beginning. While they may sound elementary, think about what these small changes could do. The key to successfully saving is finding what works for you. Track your progress and set savings goals with tools such as Money Management. Don’t give up, even small changes like these can help you reach your financial goals.