31 Ways to Save Money in 31 Days
Many people are under the impression that in order to save money they need to do something drastic like eat Ramen noodles for the rest of their lives or wear their clothing until it is in tatters. We're here to help you learn that you can actually save a great deal of money by putting little changes into action. These things don't even have to be noticeable in many cases. Here are thirty-one ideas to get you started.
Set SMART Goals
In order for a goal to be effective, it needs to have five qualities. These qualities are easily remembered by the word SMART.
*Specific - The more detailed you can make your goal, the more likely you’ll reach it. Don't simply say you want to save money but instead say you want to save a thousand dollars. Make your goal as specific as possible.
*Measurable - Can you measure the results? For example, when have you reached the halfway point in the quest to save? A great goal allows for several measurable points along the way.
*Attainable - While a goal should stretch you enough to be a challenge, it should be realistic enough to be able to reach it. If you set the goal too high to be attainable, you risk feeling like you failed and then give up.
*Results-oriented - Instead of celebrating the act of working toward your goal, make the attainment of your goal the celebration point. The exception to this is with extremely large goals. In this case, celebrating the reaching of pre-determined checkpoints is necessary to keep you focused on the overall end goal.
*Timely - Set a time limit. By placing a time limit on your goal, you are able to stay on track, or adjust easily if you get off track.
Ensure You Have a Budget Set
A budget helps in numerous ways. In order to save, it is almost a necessity. By including savings in your budget, you make it easy to put aside a certain amount every month. Eventually, you don't even miss the extra money because it becomes as habitual as paying rent or a utility bill.
Take a Good Look at Your Income & Expenses
You have an idea where your income and expenses stand at the moment, but how are they going to change over the next few months? Is there a way you can cut your expenses or increase your income? All of these are questions that can help you set savings goals.
Reduce Energy Consumption
One way to find extra money to save is to reduce your energy consumption. Some utility companies offer a free energy assessment and will come to your home to help you find ways you may be able to save money on energy costs. If your major appliances are old, replacing them does cost money upfront, but in the end, you’ll see a reduction in costs.
5 Bonus Tips to Reduce Energy Bills
Here are a few other ways you can save money on energy costs, giving you even more money to put aside for savings.
Switch to LED Light Bulbs
LED lights cost a bit more to buy but they last anywhere from ten to fifteen years, making replacement cost unnecessary for a long period. They use only a fraction of the energy to produce the same amount of output as other bulbs.
Remember to Switch off Lights
Make it a habit to only have lights on in the room you are in. If you have a three-way bulb or the option of dimming lights, only keep the amount of light at the level you actually need it to be. Use motion-sensitive lighting in places like your yard or porch, and even in your bathroom at night so the light isn't always on.
Rather than turn your heat up as soon as you start feeling chilled, reach for a sweater or an extra blanket. Often, simply making your feet warmer helps warm up your whole body. Grab an extra pair of socks or some warm slippers.
Take Advantage of Off-Peak Rates
Just as many phone companies offer cheaper rates on evenings and weekends, many utility companies offer the same type of savings. If you deal with a company that does this, do things like running the vacuum cleaner and other activities requiring electricity as much as possible during these discounted hours.
Clean Your Refrigerator's Coils
Most people don't think about their refrigerator coils when they clean their refrigerator. The problem with this is that dust accumulates on these coils and blocks their effectiveness. They then need to work harder in order to keep your food at the right temperature.
Eliminate Food Waste With a Meal Plan
By creating a meal plan before you go shopping you can take advantage of weekly deals at the grocery store. You also reduce the chances of buying things you don't really need or things you won't be able to use before they go bad. Take time before you go shopping to make a meal plan and shopping list. Then, stick to the list.
Make Your Own Bottled Water
Tap water doesn't always taste great, and in some places, it is almost undrinkable. Find yourself a good water container and invest in a water filter, either one for your sink tap or a filtered water pitcher. Make your own bottled water to keep in the fridge and grab one on your way out the door.
Save Your Raise
Many people celebrate their raises by adding more cable, buying something unnecessary because they can or spending it in some other way. Instead, consider putting the extra money aside in savings.
Have the First Cup at Home
Instead of going through the drive-through at the local fast food place or stopping at Starbucks every morning, consider getting up a few minutes early and having your first cup of coffee at home. The savings could add up to a couple of hundred dollars a year.
Don't Always Buy The Cheapest Option
Instinct prompts us to buy something less expensive when we are trying to save money. Consider quality when you are making a purchase, especially one that is major. Sometimes spending more now will end up costing you less in the long run.
Make Your Own Lunch
Buying lunch every day adds up quickly. While making your weekly meal plan, add things you can use for lunch and then pack a lunch each day so you will be prepared.
Hang Your Clothes Out to Dry
One of the greatest smells in the world is clothing that has been hung out on a line to dry in the sun. What's even better is the money saved from not using the dryer.
Smoker? Reduce, or Quit
This isn't always easy but it can add up to thousands of dollars, depending on how much you smoke. The savings come not only from eliminating the need to purchase tobacco products but also in medical bills. If quitting is too difficult, switching to roll-your-own cigarettes can save you as much as two hundred dollars a month if you smoke a pack a day.
Negotiate On Purchases
Just because an item comes with a price tag does not mean that is the price you have to pay. Asking to have a price reduced can sometimes get you a discount. Consider asking if a store has a price match policy and show them an ad from another store. If an item is a display model you can often negotiate a lower price. Simply asking may get you what you seek. It doesn't hurt to try.
Punish Yourself for Impulse Buys
Stores know how easy it is to get people to make an impulse buy. If you are one of those people who has a hard time resisting try setting up some kind of penalty system to keep you inline. Maybe you set up something that requires you take money from your entertainment fund and put it in savings whenever you make an impulse purchase. Sit down now and figure out what will be so difficult for you to give up that it will make you reconsider any purchases that you haven't planned for.
Join a Warehouse Club
Places like Sam's Club and Costco can save you a great deal of money when you buy in bulk. The trick with these places, however, is to make sure you will actually use the entire purchase. It is best to use the bulk purchase discounts on things like trash bags and bathroom tissue or to purchase larger items that are specials.
Create Challenges and Miniature Goals
By creating various mini-challenges, you not only make saving a habit but you also make it fun. Here are a few ideas.
Dollar Bill Challenge
Clean out your pockets or purse each night and put your dollar bills in a place where you won't spend them. This also works with your silver coins if you have difficulty saving dollar bills.
Exponential Saving Challenge
This can work two ways. Either decide to put aside one dollar the first week, two dollars the second, etc. or put aside a penny on the first day two cents the second, and keep adding a penny each day.
Start by putting aside $52 dollars the first week, $51 the second, $50 the next, and so on. You could also do this monthly if weekly is too difficult.
Get an Accountability Partner
Having a partner works in so many circumstances and saving is no exception. Set goals with someone and create penalties that your partner will enforce if you mess up.
Use Coupons Wherever Possible
Coupons aren't just for groceries, although finding a place that offers double coupons really helps. If you plan on purchasing anything, do a Google search and see if you can find a coupon.
Gas prices change constantly. GasBuddy will find you the cheapest prices in your zip code.
Shop Around & Be Patient
Never settle for the first choice you have on anything. Start shopping early so you can compare prices at several different shops before making your final purchase.
Sell Your Stuff
We're not suggesting you take a vow of poverty, but take a tour of your home.and ask yourself if you really need three crockpots or fifty pairs of shoes. Sell anything you haven't used in six months and aren't likely to use in the near future.
Weatherproof Your Home
Install energy-efficient windows, add wind guards to all your doors and invest in insulating your home. The amount of money you save on energy costs will add up quickly.
Use the 30-Day Rule
Often we buy something and then never use it, or use it only once. If you still want the item a month from now, go ahead and buy it.
Cut Out Cable
A subscription to Hulu or Netflix will save you hundreds of dollars a year over a cable subscription.
Check Online Before Buying in Stores
There are a number of price comparison sites you can visit or do a search yourself. In many cases, you can find something identical online at a cheaper price. Also, take advantage of in-store pickup discounts like those offered by Walmart. You can often find a sale online and then eliminate shipping costs by picking the item up a nearby branch of the store.
Host Instead of Going Out
Hosting a dinner party at home isn't only less expensive but it is also a way to take charge and create an event you can't get by going out.
Cook Twice as Much
Cooking enough to allow you to freeze half the meal will give you something quick for those evenings when cooking seems to be too much of a chore and you are tempted to eat out.
Clean or Change Your Car’s Air Filter
This is also true of getting regular oil changes and keeping your car aligned. Preventive maintenance can prevent a major repair in the future.
Cancel Unused Memberships
If you don't read a magazine every month, you don't need it. Cancel any gym memberships or club memberships that you haven't used for several months.
Keep Your Hands Clean
Medical bills can run into thousands of dollars. One of the best ways to keep from catching a majority of airborne illnesses is to keep your hands clean by regularly washing them and using hand sanitizer.
Keep A Spending Log
Keeping track of where every penny you spend gives you the best picture of where you are spending money you don't need to spend. Do this for at least three months and then repeat the procedure every so often to make sure you stay on track.
How many of these tips are you practicing? Have a great tip we didn’t mention? Leave it in the comments section below for everyone to enjoy!