Have you read those “money saving tips” articles that tell you to stop going to the movies, eat food you hate and basically change your entire lifestyle? The problem with the advice is that it’s short term and you end up hating the idea of saving money.
It’s similar to trying to lose weight by eating better. You start to eat nothing but bland baked chicken, broccoli and rice. Will that help you lose weight? Sure. Will you be able to maintain it? Probably not.
Saving money is similar. At Money Goody, we believe you shouldn’t have to completely sacrifice everything you love just because you’re in a rough financial spot or want to save some extra money. There’s no reason to force yourself to eat Ramen every day.
Of course, if you’re in serious financial stress, you’ll need to make some big changes. But for the average person that’s just trying to stop living paycheck to paycheck and wants to start saving some money, you can do it without living a life you hate.
Here are five ways to save money without hating your life.
1. Collect Coupons
Seriously, using coupons can save you so much money it’s ridiculous. What most people just throw away as “junk mail” is actually a gold mine for saving.
Inside those Value Packs and grocery store circulars are big savings, usually on products you use. The best part about using coupons is they allow you to keep buying the products you love.
One of the first things people do when they want to save money is switch to generic or store brand products at the grocery store. But you don’t have to swap out your Cheerios for Grain Loops.
It doesn’t just end with groceries. Movies, home goods, electronics and other products have coupons. And finding coupons is easier than ever. Seriously. Just do a Google search for “product name coupon” and replace “product name” with whatever you want to buy.
Here’s an example. I did a Google search for “Dove men’s body wash coupon” and found two sites right away. One directly from Dove and another was a slew of coupons from The Krazy Coupon Lady.
The best part is some coupons can be stacked or combined with in-store promos to save even more money. After a while it’s fun to see how much you can save. You can also check sites like Slickdeals.net for coupons too.
2. Pay in Cash
The reason I’m recommending paying in cash is different than what you might expect. Most people recommend paying in cash because it helps you stay on budget. That’s part of the reason the All Cash Diet is so freaking popular.
But there’s another advantage that you’re probably overlooking. Change.
Back in the day, piggy banks were one of the most popular ways to save some extra money. But once debit and credit cards became the standard method of payment, there wasn’t as much of a need for piggy banks.
Piggy banks are awesome because they make it easy to save. When you buy a sandwich for $4.73 and pay with a five dollar bill, that remaining $0.27 can go into your piggy bank. Whereas if you were to use your debit card, that $0.27 would be sitting in your bank account waiting for you to use. And trust me, you’ll use it.
I’m not saying to pay everything in cash, just your non-necessities. So if you go out to eat, get groceries, etc. After a while, all that change adds up.
3. Call Your Insurance Company
Your fixed monthly expenses (bills) are an interesting place to look at saving. Most people just keep paying the same amount each month without ever considering the fact that they may be able to cut down their payments.
Your insurance is usually a good place to start, especially if you’ve been with the same company for a while. Whether it’s car insurance, home insurance, or any other type, calling the company to ask about discounts can usually end up saving you some money.
Most insurance companies offer various discounts, and you just have to call to see if you qualify. But most people never call, so they can’t take advantage of the savings. The type of car you drive can also help you save some money. If you’re in the market for a new car, consider choosing one of these models.
The best part about doing this as a way to save money is you’re cutting down on a recurring expense. Any time you can reduce the amount of a monthly payment, go for it. Because you’re not just saving a one-time fee. Think about the amount of money you’re saving over the course of months or even years.
One exception to this is generally health insurance. Unfortunately, those costs are pretty much set in stone, particularly if it’s set up through your employer.
4. Cancel Subscriptions You Haven’t Used in the Last 30 Days
Don’t give up your Netflix account if you use it regularly. The goal here is to look at all of your monthly subscription services whether it’s video streaming services, Apple Music, or even your gym membership. As yourself, “have I used this in the past 30 days?”
If the answer is no, get rid of it. The thing about monthly subscription services is they’re a great way to save money if you actually use the service. For instance, if you listen to a lot of music, paying $10 a month for a music streaming service makes a lot of sense.
On the flip side, if you signed up for a gym membership but only workout twice a month, paying $50 a month is kind of a waste of money. You could do an entire workout for free with these bodyweight exercises.
While we’re on the topic, you should also consider the cost of getting rid of some monthly subscriptions that you’re using out of pure convenience.
For instance, those monthly snack or meal prep services are super convenient, but you’re paying a pretty big premium for them. For instance, Plated charges $12/plate. You could easily cook your own meals for less than half of that.
Again, the point of these tips is to help you save money without completely sacrificing your lifestyle and the things you enjoy. If you don’t want to give up your monthly snack delivery (and there are a lot of good ones out there) then you can consider cutting back on the frequency of deliveries or just look at other ways to save.
5. Look at Other Cellphone Carriers
Back in 2012 when two-year contracts were the norm for cell phone carriers, customers were starting to become less and less loyal to their service providers. Customers were staying with their carriers for an average of 48 months, which was an all-time low.
Things have changed a lot since then. For one, a lot of the major carriers have stopped requiring long term contracts. Instead, you just pay for a certain amount of data each month (most offer unlimited minutes and text messages). Unless you choose to pay monthly for a new phone.
The point is, you have a lot more freedom these days. If you feel like you’re paying too much for your cell phone plan, you can usually find somewhere cheaper.
The big guys (Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and Tmobile) are all extremely competitive right now, so they’re willing to do whatever it takes to steal customers from each other. Some of the commercials are actually starting to look like political attack ads, but it’s fun to watch.
If you haven’t looked at your monthly cellphone bill in a while, do some research to find out what other companies are charging.
You can also try to negotiate with your current carrier for a better deal. If you signed up years ago, there’s a good chance you’re paying more than you have to.
Another easy way to save money on your cell phone bill is to choose a new data plan. Like I mentioned earlier, most carriers charge based on the data package you choose. If you signed up for a 10gb data package but you’re using less than 3gb a month, size down.
Take a look at this.
If you were to switch from Verizon’s 12GB plan to the 3GB one, you’d save $35 a month, which works out to $420 a year. Pretty sweet savings!
There you go, five easy ways to save money without having to make huge changes to your lifestyle.
Saving $10-$50 a month might not seem like a huge deal, but when you’re saving that much on five or six different expenses each month, you end up saving thousands of dollars each month!
Invest that money you’re saving and watch it multiply!