9 Easy Tips to Save Money (even in Lean Times)

We are all looking for tips to save money. It means you are trying to invest in your future.  But when we think of savings, all too often we think in terms of accounts – passbook, money market, annuities, 401k, or others.

Having this type of an account is definitely a plus.  With a 401k, money is automatically taken out of your paycheck and deposited into your account.  In some cases, you can make arrangements with your bank to transfer money out of your checking account and placing it in a Money Market, passbook, or other savings related account.

If you are able to do this, then I highly recommend you look into it.  This will give you peace of financial mind in the future.

9 easy tips to save money

Train Yourself with these Tips to Save Money

One of the easy tips to save money when Mom gave me when she was teaching me about finances is to always pay myself first.  This simply means to allot a certain amount each payday to add to a savings account.

She also said that there would be some days when the bills would overrun my paycheck.  But, if at all possible, still set aside at least a dollar or two for savings.

If you do this on a regular basis, your savings account will build, and you will have that emergency fund for when you need it.  You may also have enough in it to transfer some to a longer-term savings plan, such as a CD or Money Market, or even begin to learn the art of investing.

If you are interested in learning more about easy tips to save money through investing, I advise you to talk to someone who fully understands the ins and outs of stock markets and other investment arenas, such as a financial planner.

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Tips to Save Money Doesn’t Always Mean ‘Accountable’

Here is one of the easy tips to save money: it doesn’t always mean you have to deposit funds into a bank account.  There are other ways to save.

9 easy tips to save money

Cut Expenses

When your income is lower than your expenses, the first step you take is finding ways to cut your expenses.  But you don’t have to wait until you get to that point.

Cutting expenses is also a way to save money.  By lowering the amount of money you have going out, you can put the money you saved into an account or apply it to a loan.

Here are a few easy tips to save money through cutting your expenses:

  • Eliminate Subscriptions
  • Lower Utility Bills
  • Decrease Spending in your Secondary Expense Columns
  • Shop Thrift Stores
  • Renegotiate Cell Phone Bills (you don’t really need all the bells and whistles!)
  • Mend Clothing

9 easy tips to save money

Tips to Save Money through DIY

There may come a time when you find DIY to come in handy.  A garden is a great place to start to help lower your food bill.  You may even find it handy when it comes to home repairs.  Plumbers, electricians and handymen often come at a great cost.  If you can do it safely, learn how to make your own repairs to save money. Here are a few DIY things  you can do yourself:

  • Remove a ring from a sink drain
  • Fix a minor plumbing leak (sometimes it just means replacing a gasket or faucet)
  • Change out light switches and plugs (be sure to kill the main breaker before doing this!)
  • Do your own (Home) Painting
  • Grow your own food
  • Learn the art of Canning & Preserving your Harvest

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Freeze Out your Spending

This is a Dave Ramsey tip: For one month, try your hand at spending no money that isn’t absolutely necessary.  Yes, you still have to pay your mortgage and utility bills, but there are other ways you can refrain from spending extra.

This doesn’t mean you need to go on a spending spree to stock up the month before.  Instead, only buy what is absolutely necessary. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Cook at Home using what you have on hand (Meal Plans help with this)
  • Learn the art of Using Leftovers
  • Use Vinegar and Lemon Juice as cleaning products
  • Get rid of the Gym Membership – walk, ride bikes, or find other physical activities you enjoy
  • Drive less – since you are in a spending freeze, those errands aren’t as necessary
  • Ditch the Cable television – play games, read a book, or learn a new craft with your family
  • Use your Library – if you are not able to access it, consider using the Library App in your area

9 easy tips to save money

Turn Your Home into a Vacation Destination

This is one of the fun tips to save money! All work and no play may be a cliche, but it is also something we often feel we have to do just to make ends meet.  However, we all need some down time to rejuvenate our minds, body and spirit.

We also need quality time to spend with our family and friends, doing something we enjoy, rather than things we ‘have to do’.

A vacation is fun, but normally, we only get a week or two off of work during the year.  And if we take a trip, we often work harder packing and getting ready to go, and then double the work when we return trying to get ready to go back to work.

Instead of making more work for yourself, try indulging in a Stay-Cation.  Find fun things you can do at home, or close by. Enjoy your family and friends and be relieved of all the laundry duties at the end of the week!

9 easy tips to save money

Avoid Debt Altogether

One of the best tips to save money is to avoid debt.  Many of us feel as if we are swimming in it, but with strong money management skills, you can get out and stay out.

First, focus on paying off any outstanding credit cards or loans.  This may mean cutting your expenses to allow for extra funds.  Start with the smallest.  Whether it is a credit card or a loan, find the one with the least amount owed, and focus on paying that one off.

Once it is paid off, use the money you applied to it to work on paying off the next highest.  Continue to pay all of them as required, but diligently work on paying off as many as you can.

red push pin; water balloon that has just been popped and still holding its shape

Put a Pin in the Shopping Spree Balloon

I will be the first to tell you how much fun it is to get together with friends to go shopping.  In my younger years, this was a favorite past time.  But now, I find that all those ‘trinkets’ and unnecessary items I would purchase just wasn’t worth the stress of trying to figure out how to pay my bills when they came due. It is one of the hardest tips to save money, but also one of the best.

Learn to ‘Sleep on It”. Before you make a large purchase, shop around for the best price, and then sleep on it.  Often times, when I wake up, I figure out that the large item I want isn’t really necessary, or I figure out a less expensive way to get it. Vehicles and appliances are two of our biggest expenditures.

Have a Strong Understanding of Need vs Want

A true need is something that is required for basic survival – food, water, a roof over your head, and transportation to and from work. 

On the other hand, a want can be something frivolous, or even something you ‘think’ you need, like those precious shoes in the window – even if they don’t go with any outfit you have. 

It’s okay to want.  It is okay to purchase something you want.  However, it isn’t okay if you are spending money that is needed to pay a truly necessary bill.

Train yourself to save money by curbing your spending on things that lean more towards the want column.  Take care of the necessities, contribute to a savings account, and then take a second look at those shoes.  Or better yet just wear the ones you already have in your closet.

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Take Control and Save Money

These are just a few tips to save money.  To find more, just look around you.  See how you are spending your money.  Is there a way you can do it yourself? Is it something you truly need?

Consider ways of earning a little extra that can be placed in your savings account.  Think garage sales, consignment shops and other money-making opportunities.

Once you get started, the ability to save money will soon become a natural habit.  And before you know it, your financial stress will disappear, and you will sleep better at night knowing you can handle almost any repair or replacement that becomes necessary!

Have you got other ideas on how to save money?  Be sure to share those in the comments.  Many of us are searching for ways to get out of debt and stay out!

Still want to learn more about gaining control of your finances?  Don’t miss these posts!

Make a Choice

Gain Control – Get Organized with Notebooks

Basic Finances for Homemakers

Helpful Financial Tools to Gain Control of your Money

Simple Budgeting Tips from the 30s

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Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

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