Allow me to give you a brief overview of my financial life. By the time I was 30, I had about $30,000 in credit card debt, I owed my parents a ton of money, and I wasn’t doing too well. Then one day, I woke up. I got tired of living my life the way that I did, and I made some dramatic changes. Approximately three years later, I had emerged completely from all credit card debt, my parents were paid off, and I even paid off my car. This was all a precursor to buying my first home. Since then, I have been dedicated to saving money in my everyday life. I am by no means cheap, I just save everywhere that I can. Well, if you had asked me a few years ago if I was saving everything I could in all things financial, I would have told you yes. That statement could not be further from the truth. Through a lot of learning, investigating and so forth, I uncovered many more ways to save. I thought I would outline them for you below.
Periodically, Take A Step Back And Review Your Finances Objectively
Personally, I do this every six months. The first time I did it, I thought that it would be a one time thing. Oh how wrong I was. At least every six months, you should take a step back and review all of your monthly bills. For example, your television service, cell phone, and internet plans. If you reviewed these last year, made some adjustments and saved some money–great job! However, don’t stop there. You need to go thorugh this process every six months or so. TV packages are always geting cheaper, cell phone minutes plans are always coming down, as well as internet services. This is why it is so important to never sign a contract for any of these serices. That is why these companies are so big on them. They want to rope you in for the long term because they know that rates are always decreasing. Call these companies up periodically to see if there are additional ways to save.
Do Not Save On Everyday Purchases, Eliminate Them
I used to think that I was doing good by saving as much as I could when I ate out on my lunch break, when I bought coffee in the morning on the way to work, and so on. Then one day I realized, instead of saving as much as you can on these every day items, why not look into ways to eliminate them? Before long, I invested in a coffee maker and now make my morning cup of coffee, and I no longer eat out for lunch (besides special occasions), I simply brown bag it. These are low-cost items, but they are every day purchases. If you spend $5 a day for lunch five times per week–that translates into a $1300 annual expense. I have no idea how much my brown-bag lunch costs me daily, but I am guessing that $2 would be a good estimate. By making this change, I have cut this $1300 annual expense into a $520 annual expense–a savings of $780. By taking my lunch to work with me, I just got a free mortgage payment.
Investigate/Research Any Purchase Over $50
By no means am I advocating that you micro-manage your finances to the point that you are bleary-eyed in front of your computer till three in the morning, trying to find a way to save ten cents on a gallon of milk. Personally, I set the cut off point at $50. Any time I am considering a purchase of $50 or more, I investigate and research it on the internet before pulling the trigger. The purpose of this is twofold: first, it prevents me from any “impulse buying”. Second, when I do make the purchase, I know that I am getting the best price. Many times, purchasing something online is cheaper than buying it in a store, and this is including shipping costs (if any). I’ll give you a perfect example. I recently needed to buy a new umbrella for my patio table (it was quite dirty). When I first looked, the average price was about $150. Since there was no need to buy it at the first moment, I waited and looked around. Within a month, I found a retailer (Kohl’s) who had them on clearance. I was able to get it for $48, shipped to my home.
Sign Up For All The Daily Deal Discount Sites You Can Find
I am currently registered on the following websites: Groupon, Living Social, Mampedia, and Gilt. They are all websites dedicated to sending discount offers for things in your localtiy. I might not see something on Groupon that applies to me for three months, then again, I might find three deals in the same week that apply to me. Basically, the deals that these sites offer are fifty percent discounts for local merchants. I have saved a ton since I have signed up for these websites. Just don’t fall prey to the mindset of “buying a deal just because it’s a deal”. Remember, its only a deal if its for something that you truly need/want.
In the end, no matter how long oyu have been saving, trust me, you can always save some more. Take my advice on the tips I outlined above, and you can more than likely improve your savings in at least a few of these areas. Saving money is an ongoing concept, I can assure you of that.
What other little known way do you know of to save money? Your comments are appreciated below.