Did you sit down to do your taxes this year and have an oh moment. An ‘oh, I made X amount of money and I really don’t have much to show for it?’ If I had a dollar for every time myself or someone else said this, then I would be rich. A lot of the times, it’s not the big ticket purchases that get us. It’s the small, seemingly mundane purchases that add up over time and end up really costing us. The fact that these things creep up on us are why I compiled a list of 10 things that save me money every single day.
Saving money isn’t hard, and getting rich isn’t always coming into piles of money. Saving money is a mindset and a habit that needs to be adopted and practiced on the regular. Saving money requires discipline. Getting rich is simply the act of repeating a series of mundane tasks over and over and over again. The act of repeatedly doing small, simple changes will overtime yield you the results you desire.
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What Exactly Am I Trying to Say?
What I’m trying to tell you is that saving money doesn’t have to be tucking thousands of dollars away into a savings account. Saving money can simply be doing the same thing over and over again (or not doing that same thing over and over again) to over time, create a compound effect. If you haven’t read The Slight Edge (I highly recommend it if you haven’t), you can adopt Jeff Olson’s tricks and tips for mastering the mundane to gain you the slight edge. What he means by that is the same task repeated over and over again may not yield fireworks at first, but over time it will prevail.
Or, more simply, that by creating money saving habits, over time you will save money without even trying.
It’s All In Your Mindset
Saving money truly is both mindset and actions. You need to be aware of what you’re spending you’re money on so that you can make changes in how you spend it. Before you take a look at the list of 10 things that save me money every single day, take a look at these three things to make sure you’re in the right mindset.
1. You need to keep track of your expenses.
The only way you’re going to know where your money is going is to physically look at where it’s going. I promise you ignorance is not bliss when it comes to finances. Pretending they aren’t there or being blissfully unaware of where your money is going is truly detrimental to the goal you’re trying to achieve. You can’t fully be in the right mindset to save money without being truly aware of your financial situation.
2. You Need to Be Honest With Yourself
When picking apart your finances, you need to be brutally honest with yourself when determining the difference between needs and wants. Not being completely honest with yourself with finances will leave you wavering and giving into yourself.
3. Discipline is Key
Creating a financial plan is a waste of time if you have no intention of sticking to it. You need to give yourself a little bit of tough love and exercise willpower or you’ll end up continually falling into the same financial traps.
If you’re looking for the basics of getting started with building a budget, check out here. Otherwise, now that you’re in the right mindset, let’s dive into 10 things that save me money every day!
10 Things That Save Me Money Every Day
1. Stop Buying Takeaway Coffee Everyday
This one is at the top of any financial tip list I ever write about because it’s so dang important! You don’t realize how much money you’re spending in takeaway coffee because it seems so minute. Whats a dollar here? Two dollars there. Say you buy takeaway coffee at 2$ three days a week. Thats 6$ a week. Still nothing right? Try that for 52 weeks a year. Suddenly 6$ becomes $312 a year on coffee you could have made for less than 25 cents at home. Buy coffee Monday to Friday? Thats $520 on coffee a year. COFFEE!
I love coffee as much as the next person, but not enough to spend that kind of money on it. And this is us just talking drip coffee and not a fancy latte. Your best bet is to make your own coffee at home and occasionally treat yourself as opposed to purchasing takeaway coffee every day.
2. Coupons & Price Comparisons
No, you don’t have to go next level Extreme Couponing, but coupons do help. So does price matching. It doesn’t make any sense to pay more for the same item you can get cheaper somewhere else! Keep track of flyers and sales, participate in price matching when possible, and utilize coupons on items you regularly buy! There are great apps (Flipp is great!) that contain several different flyers based on your geographical region, so you can keep it all in one place!
3. Visit the Library
At around $20 a book, I can’t continuously afford to buy every book I want to read. By checking the library or asking friends if they have a book is a great way to cut down on costs. My rule of thumb is if I read it more than once, I’ll go buy it (ie. most professional development books). If I get it from the library and don’t really love it, then I bring it back (and take out more books!)
Formerly known as Ebates, Rakuten is an online website that pays you to shop. No, seriously. By shopping through the list of websites you can earn back a percentage of your purchase. Over the last two years of being an Ebates customer I have earned back over $240, just for completing regular shopping that I needed to do in the first place.
Rakuten offers a variety of stores ranging from clothing to beauty to department and grocery stores (yes, even Walmart is on there!). They simply mail you a cheque at the end of the period and suddenly you have your hard earned money back in your hands! If you’re going to have to shell out money anyways, at least let you get a percentage of it back.
Sign up with my special link to get a $10 welcome bonus here!
5. Takeaway Lunch
Not trying to sound like a broken record but if you though takeaway coffee was a money grab, you don’t even want to see what takeaway lunch is doing to your budget. On average, lunch is usually anywhere from $5-10 per meal. You will save yourself heaps of cash if you cut out takeaway lunch and stick to preparing lunch at home.
Leftovers or simple lunches are a great way to cut out that extra $25+ a week that you don’t need to be spending. Your best practice would be to make lunch a majority of the time and occasionally treat yourself.
6. Make a Few Phone Calls
Did you know that calling and asking for a reduction on your bill is possible? If you’ve been loyal to a company (such as your phone company) for many years, you may be entitled to a special discount. As a valued customer, they want to keep you, especially if you’ve been with them for years. You can also try this with utilities, and credit card and other debt rates. Making a phone call to inquire doesn’t cost you anything, and it could end up saving you big time!
I called to chat with my phone company regarding my monthly phone bill and as a loyal customer, they ended up dropping my monthly bill from $85 down to $60! It’s completely doable, you just need to ask!
7. Buy Generic
Did you know that the companies that make the generic items are still the brand name companies? Did you also notice how sometimes you can save a huge chunk of change by purchasing generic brands? Buying generic is a great way to cut down on costs as you’re not paying for the brand name. Bonus is that most stores have their own brand (the generic brand) and they are hidden gems (hello, have you ever tried President’s Choice?).
8. Cash Back Apps
I do 3 things religiously when going shopping anywhere:
2. Check my cash back apps to see if there’s anything I need that happens to be on their list
3. Make a list
Cash back apps are an excellent way to get money back on purchases you were already going to make! Most of them are quite simple and ask you to upload a picture of the receipt, and usually have a week long time window for you to claim receipts! Again, they’ll mail you a cheque once you’ve reached a certain amount, and you get money back for buying things you already needed. Some ones I use (in Canada) are:
Checkout 51 (my personal fav)
9. Audit Your Subscriptions
Subscriptions can both be money saving and money wasting, depending on how you’re using them. Try to avoid having more than one subscription for the same thing (ex. Netflix and Crave, or two different beauty sub boxes). Or, if you find you’re not using the product or service, cut out the subscription entirely. Cutting back on subscriptions can save you a hefty amount of cash at the end of the year!
10. Buy Used/Open Box Items
When I was a student, I mistakenly spent my first year buying all brand new textbooks. What a mistake. When you can, buy used items (exercise your judgement, I personally am wary of buying things like shoes and earrings as a personal preference).
Or, check the store for open box items (more common with electronics). Open box items are simply products that have been taken home, opened and not exactly used by the person and then returned. They are checked over by the company and sold at a discounted rate (and come with a guarantee).
Buying used when you can is an excellent way to save money on items that are usually quite costly (especially electronics and textbooks). Checking local listings and resale websites (ex.Kijiji, ebay, etc.)
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Important Things to Remember
Again, the key points to drive home when it comes to saving money are consistency and discipline. Without either, you won’t see the results you desire. By consistently sticking to your budget and practicing the same habits over and over again, you will see the money add up over time. Below are a few more tips that save me money every single day:
1. Write down your expenses for the day, tally them up, and put them somewhere you can see them
When you’re blatantly faced with the facts, you can’t hide from them. Keep daily totals tallied somewhere you’ll see them (planner, calendar, etc.) so that you’re constantly aware of what you’re spending.
2. Take out cash, and only spend that allotted amount
It’s way easier to just tap and go, but with cash you’re actually physically handing it over. This can work as a deterrent as you can actually see your money leaving your possession.
3. Create a budget and stick to it
Creating a budget is a great step to becoming financially responsible, but if you’re not sticking to it there really isn’t any point. Create a budget that’s strict but not rigid, and allows you some spending freedom. Check out Pinterest for umpteen resources on how to create a budget.
4. Give big ticket items 48 hours
If you’re at the store and see something you have to have, give it 48 hours. If you really want it, then you can go back and get it (provided it’s in your budget). Impulse spending can hurt your wallet big time, so give bigger ticket items 48 hours to alleviate the need to impulse buy.
5. Live a little
Yes, having a little fun is key to sticking to your budget. As humans we don’t particularly do well with rigid extremes. If you create a budget with no room for fun, you’ll be more likely to fail on that budget. You need to allot yourself a small amount of spending money for something you enjoy to keep you on track (and essentially not binge shop later).
I hope these tips can be easily implemented into your daily life! Let me know your best tips for success, and happy saving!