Living below your means is one of the smartest ways to save money. Whether you’re saving up for a big purchase, or simply want to cut down your expenses to put money into a savings account, it’s important to be hyper-conscious of your spending so you know where your money is going. Saving money each month can help you pay off debts faster, put more money into investments and savings, and live a less cluttered and consumerist lifestyle. And the best part? There are TONS of ways to save money, and they’re all pretty easy to implement.
I wrote this list because I’ve been in your shoes, tons of times. Saving money was critical when I decided to quit my job and save up for a year-long career break, and even now, when my break is coming to a close and I’m starting to build my career back up again. These tips worked for me then, and they’re working for me now. Hopefully, at least a few of these money-saving tips will work for you too!
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Lastly, a quick note: don’t feel like you have to implement these tips all at once. Saving money is a long game, a set of habits and practices you’ll need to implement over a long period of time. As Rome wasn’t built in a day, your financial empire won’t be, either. Start with just 1-2 of the most impactful ones, then slowly start to incorporate more and more at a pace that’s reasonable for you.
Anyway, let’s cut to the chase. Below, you can find 85 impactful ways to save money and live better.
General Money Saving Tips for Getting Started
1. Set up a savings account
In order to save money, you’ll need a place to put it in order to hide it away and made it inaccessible from your daily spending habits. Of course, you can put additional money away into retirement accounts, investments, or pay off debt. However, if you’re saving for something specific or simply want your money to be more liquid, keeping it in a high-yield savings account is a great way to keep your savings safe.
There are tons of savings accounts you can choose from that provide a decent amount of interest each month. Most of the best savings accounts are run through online banks (or branches of banks). Do plenty of research to figure out which of the online options is best for you.
Once you’ve chosen a savings account, be sure to connect it to your checking account (where your direct deposits come in) so you can set up automated savings transfers each month.
2. Track every expense
Tracking expenses is the key to saving money. While it may seem tedious, it’s the only way to identify how much money you’re spending and where. When you track and categorize all of your expenses, you can easily identify spending habits and which categories suck the most money from your wallet.
So how exactly do you get started with expenses? If you’re a nerd like me, you can use a good old Excel document (or Google sheet) to track your expenses each day. Some people also use phone apps to track expenses on the go.
3. Create visible, daily reminders of your savings goals
Whether you’ve got a big progress chart on your refrigerator of your student loan or mortgage payments, or you have pictures of a big international trip taped all over your house, visible reminders of your savings goals help you remember why you’ve decided to adopt this frugal lifestyle. They also, in a way, help you keep yourself accountable for your spending decisions.
By constantly tracking and physically seeing progress, you’ll remember that your spending habits DO have an impact…in defeating debt, saving for a big purchase, or contributing to retirement accounts so you can live a great life later.
4. Examine your habits (especially those that cost money)
Our habits directly affect our spending. If you always grab a coffee at the cafeteria downstairs before work, you can count on spending that $3 every weekday. Sure, it’s only $3, but weekly it adds up to $15 and monthly, it’s $60. That means, just due to this tiny little daily habit, you could spend up to $780, totally mindlessly! By examining your daily and weekly habits, you can figure out what habits are sucking all of your money.
5. Automate your savings and finances
If you can make putting money into your savings or retirement accounts totally automatic, then you can set it and forget it, never worrying about if your money is landing in the right place. With your accounts working together, you can make this an easy regular deposit. Here are a couple of ways to automate your savings:
- Set up split direct deposits from your employer, noting the percentage you’d like to send to each savings area. Usually employers will have their own 401K or Roth retirement accounts, but you can also split your direct deposits into external checking and savings accounts, too.
- Create a monthly transfer from your checking account into your savings account for a specific dollar amount.
6. Create a rewards system for hitting your savings goals
Set up small rewards for meeting your savings milestones to help you stay on track and solidify your spending activities. It’s impossible to create good habits without any rewards, so be sure to track your milestones and set rewards for yourself periodically for achieving your goals. These can be as simple as relaxing your social budget for a week, or treating yourself to a fun day out. You don’t necessarily need to spend money for your rewards.
7. Evaluate your personal needs
List out your current expenses and label each as a “want” or a “need.” Then, sort them out, and brainstorm the complete list of exactly what your “needs” are. How much apartment/home space do you need? What monthly expenses do you have to incur to stay alive? What “wants” can you afford, given your budget and savings goals? Do a little bit of soul-searching to figure out exactly what you need, and what expenses you can cut out.
8. Cancel unnecessary subscriptions/recurring payments
Subscription payments are the easiest way to lose track of your money, especially if you aren’t using them. Look through your bank/credit card statements and write down every single one of your recurring expenses, then evaluate whether it’s something you need or something that you barely use. Then, cancel the ones you don’t use regularly.
9. Embrace minimalism
With a mindset of buying and spending, it will be very, very hard to stick to your financial goals and save money. However, if you embrace the joy and excitement of having less stuff and less clutter, you’ll be much, much better off in your journey to save money. Embrace the aspects of minimalism that help you find peace and joy in having less stuff.
10. Commit to being frugal
It’s easy to cut down on spending for a week, or a month. But it’s much, much more difficult to commit to living a frugal lifestyle in the long run. If you incorporate frugality into how you view yourself, it will become ingrained in your identity. Frugality isn’t just a set of actions, it truly is a lifestyle, and if you abide by the rules you set for yourself, incredible rewards await.
Around the House
11. Fix things instead of throwing them out
It might feel like a natural inclination to throw things out when they break. However, fixing items at home instead of buying new ones can drastically help reduce your costs. Sewing up old clothes, using duct tape liberally, ignoring cosmetic damages, and deciding whether a breakage actually warrants being fixed can all help alleviate the costs of running a house.
12. Sell things before replacing them
When you do decide to buy new things, be sure to sell your old ones before you buy (when possible). This guarantees you have capital to spend on the new appliance/electronic/furniture/etc. Some great places to sell used furniture and appliances are Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or eBay.
13. Get rid of unnecessary items around the house (clothes, appliances, etc.)
Having extra items you don’t use in your house clogs up physical space and headspace. When you get rid of things you don’t need, you embrace a more minimalistic approach to life and you will realize just how little you need to actually be happy. The Minimalists have a great 30-day challenge to help you get rid of the things in your life that you don’t need.
14. Unplug things when you’re not using them
Many of the devices you use every day could be “energy vampires,” meaning they use up electricity even when they’re turned off. Unplugging devices around your home when you aren’t using them could save you hundreds of dollars each year.
15. Take advantage of natural light
One thing around the home that we often take for granted is natural light. It’s beautiful, it’s abundant, and it’s free. During the day, draw back the curtains and take advantage of the natural light streaming in, instead of using harsh bulbs and indoor lighting. You’ll save on your electricity bill AND enjoy a tiny bit of nature in your own home.
16. Avoid using AC/heat as much as possible
Of course, this really depends on where you live. I’m not saying to cut off your heat in the middle of a Chicago winter, nor am I saying to swelter in the Texas summer heat. What I am saying is to broaden the range, just slightly, that you’re willing to go without heating or air conditioning. Can you bundle up in blankets and feel comfortable? Are you okay to just use a fan? If so, you can save a LOT of energy on your utilities.
17. Use an automatic thermostat system
Using an automatic thermostat that sets the temperature based on the time of day can also help reduce your heating/AC costs, maximizing your use when you’re actually home. This way, you won’t have to worry about spending money on heating/cooling your home while you’re at work or on vacation.
18. Cook more than you eat out
Cooking is a fun at-home activity and a fantastic learning experience. Whenever you’re tempted to eat out and splurge on your favorite restaurant dish, look up how to make it at home instead. When you have a craving for a specific food, see if it’s something you can whip up with the ingredients in your refrigerator. Taking this attitude towards cooking can help you save money on eating out or ordering food.
19. Schedule a meal prep day to cook for the week
The best way to getting used to home cooking is by making it as easy as possible to enjoy it. One great way to create easy meals for the week is by doing meal prep on the weekends, so your meals will be ready to go for the rest of the week. That way, you’ll never have to come home from a busy day at work and slave over the stove for another 3 hours to try and whip something up for dinner.
20. Use energy efficient lightbulbs
Replace any non-efficient bulbs in your house with energy efficient ones to save hundreds of dollars from your energy bills each year. Most of the time, you won’t even notice a difference in light between the efficient bulbs and your current ones.
21. Choose smart appliances
Choosing smart appliances when researching them for your home can help you save LOTS of money on energy bills. Some of the most energy sucking appliances include your clothes washer and dryer, your dishwasher, and your refrigerator.
Purchasing EnergyStar certified appliances can help you save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on energy bills each year. Plus, they’re better for the environment.
22. Curb your snacking and overeating
Mindless snacking and overeating is a major cause for both weight gain and food expenditures. Instead of snacking when you’re bored, think of other things you can do, like squeezing a stress ball, taking a reading break, or going outside for some fresh air. The more aware you are of your snacking and overeating, the easier it will be to combat your behaviors and save money on excess foods and drinks.
23. Wash your clothes in cold water
Several studies have concluded that it’s cheaper and more eco-friendly to wash your clothes in cold water instead of warm water. You can save a lot of money and energy just by choosing the cold water setting for your clothes instead of warm water. Additionally, your clothes will last longer and be better-preserved with each cold water wash (as opposed to warm water).
24. Create a capsule wardrobe
Most people I know have WAY more clothes than they actually need. Instead of clogging up your closets and free space with clothes, choose to create a capsule wardrobe instead. At its core, a capsule wardrobe is a set of 30-40 pieces that you’ll wear for a particular time of year. These pieces should be everything you need to get you through the entire season.
Once you’ve created a capsule wardrobe, you won’t have to worry about buying new clothes. It will help you keep track of your entire clothes repository and evaluate whether any new purchases fit into your capsule (or if they’re impulsive/extraneous).
25. Repurpose old clothes for household purposes
If you can’t manage to sell your used clothes, use them for tasks around the house instead of buying things. Old, dark-colored cotton t-shirts work great as cleaning towels or furniture sliders. You can lay old coats or sweaters down as a bed for your pets. Socks are fantastic for holding and organizing small electronics, like chargers, cameras, and old phones.
26. Scrutinize your bills
You might be tempted to put your monthly spending on autopilot. However, when your monthly utilities, phone bills, and subscription invoices all come in, take the time to read them. You may find easy areas of savings or billing mistakes that will help save you significant amounts of cash each month. Putting these bills on direct deposit without taking a second look at them can potentially cost you LOTS of money in savings.
27. Sign up for loyalty and cash back programs
Signing up for retail and company loyalty programs can help you save money on your everyday purchases. Many stores have loyalty programs where you can get discounts after a certain number of purchases, or if you carry a loyalty card on you to scan when you go shopping.
Online programs like eBates have a simple browser extension that you can install to get cash back with dozens of popular online retailers. Using every loyalty program to get money back means more money in your pocket.
28. Get a no-fee cash back credit card
*IGNORE THIS ADVICE IF YOU TEND TO CARRY A BALANCE ON YOUR CREDIT CARDS. If you pay off your credit cards each month and hold low balances, getting a no-fee cash back card can help you save even more money on regular purchases. The Chase Freedom is my preferred cash back card, which gives me 1% cash back regularly with a whopping 5% back on categories like groceries and gas (depending on the quarter).
29. Adopt a “one in, one out” spending policy
The “one in, one out” policy is one I’ve lived by for the last few years, and it helps me keep a check on clutter at home. For every one “want” item that I purchase, I have to get rid of something similar from my home. This way, before I buy anything, I evaluate if my purchases are necessary and worth giving up something else for.
30. Use coupons
I know, coupons aren’t always the most convenient or glamorous thing out there, but they work and can help you save a lot of money if you use them regularly.
Of course, you can clip out coupons from flyers, etc., but you can also use an aggressive coupon strategy online, too. Whenever you go to purchase something, check online for coupons or promotions going on that you can take advantage of. Doing this for every single purchase can add up significantly over the course of a month or a year.
31. Stick to a 10-day rule
When you are deciding whether or not to purchase something, adopt a rule of waiting 10 days before you buy it. This way, you can thoroughly think through whether you need it and if you can justify the cost. Also, by waiting 10 days to purchase anything, you can get your finances ready for your purchase, figuring out where you can cut costs to make up for your purchase.
Of course, this strategy doesn’t work with small, everyday items like pasta or bread, but it will work for more substantial items, like a new TV or a computer.
32. Watch out for sales
Watch out for sales and promotions on items you buy regularly OR items you’ve had your eye on. For larger items, stay on the lookout for sales during your 10-day waiting period so you can reduce the cost of your larger purchases, too.
33. Buy generic brands
Although we, as humans, are often tempted to buy the nicest brands of everything, there’s really not much difference between name brands and generic brands from a product perspective. Wherever you can (but especially with commodities like paper towels and toothpaste), stick to buying generic brands and you’ll be sure to save money.
34. Choose where you shop carefully
When I was living in downtown DC, I always shopped at Whole Foods because it was the closest grocery store to me. However, if I just walked a few extra blocks, I could shop at a grocery store that was often over 25% cheaper! Being wise about the stores where you shop regularly can help drastically reduce your weekly costs.
35. Always comparison shop before you buy
Whenever you’re making a larger purchase, be sure to compare the prices across many different stores and online retailers to make sure you’re getting the best price. Also, consider taking advantage of any price match policies you can find nearby, so you don’t have to pay for shipping from the (usually cheaper) online retailers.
36. Buy secondhand
You might be surprised at just how much you can save on EVERYTHING if you buy secondhand. From luxury goods like designer clothes to household items like toasters, if you can find it secondhand, you can save anywhere from 50% to 90%. There are tons of thrift stores that operate locally, or you can check websites like eBay or Craigslist for used items, too. Just double check every secondhand item you buy to make sure it works and has no (deal breaker) defects!
37. Make a grocery/shopping list every time
It’s really easy to overspend when you don’t know exactly what you’re buying. Make a grocery list on your phone or on paper and bring it with you every time you shop. This way, it will be easier to say “no” to extraneous items, temptations, and cravings as they come up in the store. If you’re going to go through the trouble of making a list, you need to make sure to stick to it, too!
38. Purchase perishable groceries sparingly
Food waste is money down the drain. While it may be tempting to buy perishables in bulk, chances are you probably won’t use them all (unless you have a large family). Monitor your consumption habits to figure out exactly how much of each item you need each week, and if all else fails, buy less at the grocery store and make multiple trips, instead.
39. Buy non-perishable groceries and household items in bulk
For non-perishables, have at it! Buy in bulk as much as you can to cut costs, since your non-perishables will likely not go bad for a long, long time. When I shop, I usually buy things like rice, canned veggies, flour, frozen foods, etc. in bulk so that I can save money and have a stock of food in case of emergencies.
40. Avoid impulsive food purchases
Impulse buys can definitely kill your budget, so be extra careful about adding items to your shopping list on the fly. Instead, think about your impulse buys at home, then add them to your list before you head to the store.
Another way to minimize impulsive food purchases is to eat before you go to the grocery store, instead of shopping while you’re hungry.
41. Look for free furniture on Craigslist
If you’re looking for new furniture or household items, see if you can find a free one on Craigslist first. Of course, you need to be extra careful about buying things that are damaged or broken, but sometimes, people simply just want to get rid of furniture and household stuff as fast as possible and will offer it up for free if you can provide transportation.
42. Preference quality over quantity
This might seemingly go against the “saving money” lifestyle, but hear me out. Buying high-quality goods can actually save you money in the long-run.
For example: if you often spend money on “fast fashion” clothes that last a few months before becoming threadbare, you have to continuously spend money to replace them. However, if you buy a capsule wardrobe that’s more expensive but lasts a year or more, then your money will go a lot farther.
Now, remember that quality does not equal brand names. Sometimes brands tour quality as their main differentiator, but sometimes, more expensive brands actually have worse quality products than their generic counterparts. Be sure to judge the product, NOT the brand, when you’re deciding on the quality of a purchase.
43. If you’re unsure, put it back
If you’re wavering between buying something or not, adopt a rule of putting the item back. Of course, you can always come back and purchase it later, but by putting it back, you’re exercising control of your spending and reminding yourself to be mindful of your purchases. Putting things back that you’re not absolutely sure about encourages good spending habits and will help your bank accounts, too.
Work and Daily Life
44. Eat breakfast every day
45. Bring your breakfast and lunch instead of buying it
46. Drink lots of water
47. Exercise regularly
48. Turn “coffee breaks” into “walking breaks”
49. Take public transportation, walk, or bike
50. Don’t speed
51. Telework when possible
52. Choose monthly parking options instead of daily
53. Attend happy hours sparingly
54. Enjoy any work-sponsored events
55. Take advantage of all of your employer benefits
Social Life, Family, and Friends
56. Become an expert on your city
Spend time away from expensive nights out and explore all the hidden nooks that your city has to offer. You will find this task enjoyable and when friends come to visit you’ll have a list of free things to do with them. If you are looking to make some money, you can even begin a city walking tour gig.
57. Choose free activities
Opt for the inexpensive or free activities you discovered while exploring your city, like hanging out at the park or attending free plays and musicals. The cost of going out to eat or drink can quickly add up. You may even find these activities more fun and planning your social nights out around them will give you something to look forward to.
58. Explore the outdoors
Find your local state or national park and plan some hiking trips. Although these parks sometimes cost money, like the national parks, you can purchase a year long pass or get discounted entrance tickets if you are a resident of the nearby area. With a season pass in hand, you can spend every single weekend exploring a nearby park and not see everything it has to offer.
59. Stay up to date on what’s going on in your city
Similar to #57 above, plan some of your social activities around free events in your city. You can often find discounted tickets to big events like concerts or plays. Keep tabs on the free local festivals and events going on in your city (you can do this easily by Googling “events in [CITY]”), and suggest these to your friends as new places to hang out or explore.
60. Swap items or services with your friends and family
Need your computer fixed? Looking to get some photos taken? Save money on these potentially expensive services by reaching out to your friends and family first and see if they can help you fix it. Similarly, you can do an exchange like watching a friend’s dog for a weekend, in exchange for free pet-sitting services from them on a different weekend.
61. Invite friends over to your house
In most parts of the world, in-home hospitality is an important part of the culture and social life there. Bring back more traditional forms of entertainment and invite friends over to your place to hang out as opposed to hitting up restaurants and bars. Not only will you be saving money, but you’ll also introduce a break in your social routine.
62. Play board games
Everyone has at least one old board game lying around in a bookshelf. You can also find them cheap at thrift shops, secondhand stores, and online. Invite your friends over, prepare some snacks and chips, and host a board game night to save money on going out. Instead, tell everyone it’s BYOB and cozy in for a fun and competitive night in.
63. Organize potlucks instead of eating out
Additionally, you can combine any board game night or in-home gathering with a potluck dinner and save even more money! This will give you a good chance to improve and practice your cooking skills, and encourages your friends to do the same.
64. When eating out, choose restaurants with a wide price range
It can understandably be difficult to plan when your friends have already picked out a place. Don’t splurge on a 5 course prix fixe meal on your night out. Look for the cheap meals and try to find a place that has a big range of dishes so you can save money by getting something small, like a soup or an appetizer.
65. Always bring home the leftovers
Don’t let your food go to waste. Take home the leftovers (even your friends’ leftovers if you feel comfortable!) and you can save money on your next meal. Even better, bring a reusable container so you can take your leftovers home without any single-use waste.
66. Go out without spending money
Eat a meal at home before meeting up with your friends so you aren’t tempted to buy an overpriced meal. Make it a money saving challenge to go an entire night without spending a dime.
67. Don’t buy drinks out, ever
This is a no-brainer. Alcohol is extremely expensive, and is often marked up even more at upscale restaurants and bars. A single night out can easily set you back $50 or more if you aren’t careful with what you order. However, if you stick to water only when you’re outside the house (and pregame with store-bought beverages before leaving, if you really feel the need to drink).
68. Share rides whenever possible
Heading out to a friend’s place or a social outing? Find someone to carpool with to social outings and events. Text your friends who live nearby and see if anyone can pick you up on the way. Not only will you save money on gas but you’ll be making a sustainable, eco-friendly choice!
69. Give experiences instead of gifts during the holidays
Buying presents for Christmas and the holidays is expensive. People easily spend hundreds of dollars individually on gifts for family and friends. You can save money and make the holidays more memorable by gifting thoughtful experiences. This can include setting up a Christmas scavenger hunt around the city, or buying tickets to a play. Be creative! Your loved ones will appreciate it.
Odds and Ends
70. Refinance your loans
Refinancing your loans can be incredibly freeing. When I first started paying down my student loans, I realized quickly that my interest rates were ridiculous – some of them in the double digits! After a freak-out moment, I gathered my bearings and looked for a solution, which led me to the simple act of refinancing.
Basically, what refinancing means is working with a new company to buy out your loans. With the new company, you can typically enjoy much lower interest % rates, and you can choose exactly how long you want your payout schedule to be. I used SoFi for my student loan refinancing and I loved them so much, I refinance a second time with them. They’re really easy to work with, the interest rates are MUCH lower than mine were before, and they can set up automatic payments so you don’t have to give a second thought to your loans (if you don’t want to).
71. Take advantage of any discount you can find
Often, stores, restaurants, museums, etc. will give discounts to certain groups of people with a valid card or ID. If you’re a student, association member, military, or senior citizen, you can often get discounts at a variety of different stores and organizations.
Even if you work at a large organization, your employer often has partnerships or deals with other companies to provide benefits to employees. Be sure to do your research on the stores, restaurants, or entertainment areas you frequent to see if you’re eligible for any kind of discount. Hey, every last dollar you can save is money in the bank for you!
72. Evaluate every purchase or subscription
While you may be tempted to only think long and hard about big purchases, it’s actually often the smaller ones that add up most quickly. For this reason, I recommend thinking about every new purchase and how it fits into your needs.
Then, follow the below steps to ensure you’ve evaluated the purchase fully:
- Decide whether it’s a need (immediate) or a want (flexible)
- Compare prices across different vendors
- Wait for sales or discounts
- Look for coupons
- (For subscriptions) Determine your cost per use for all subscription services
- Understand the return/refund policy should your purchase be unsatisfactory
Once you know you’re going to buy something, you can rest easier in your decision since you’ve taken the time and energy to fully vet it.
73. Meditate and practice mindfulness every day
Meditation can help you become much more aware of yourself, your behaviors, and your habits. For this reason, I highly recommend meditating daily to increase your mindfulness of every single action. When you stop spending money mindlessly, you become much more intentional about your finances and the way you approach spending (and saving) money.
I used to be skeptical of meditation. I was a busy consultant who couldn’t be bothered to take time out of my day to sit still and do nothing. However, last year, I decided to give it a try. After just a few weeks of daily meditation, I was surprised at how calm, collected, and non-reactive I felt. My meditation practice has had implications on my diet, my exercise, my daily habits, and my finances. I attribute it to the heightened self-awareness I got from focusing inward every morning.
If you’re new to meditation, an app like Calm or Headspace can help you learn the ropes. Once you’ve got a good foundation, you can easily set aside 10-15 minutes each day (I prefer the morning) to clear your mind and focus on awareness of the present.
74. Use your local library
If you love to read and learn constantly, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg. Instead, simply get a library card! Libraries are a fantastic resource that are often forgotten in the modern days of Kindles, audio books, and 2-day shipping on regular books. Your local library is a wealth of resources, and the best part is that IT’S FREE.
When a book or video isn’t available at your library branch, many libraries have exchanges set up with other locations and universities so you can find the books you’re looking for.
75. Tap into free online resources
Just like your local (physical) library, there are a ton of online free learning resources as well. No matter what you want to learn, there’s probably a free resource on that topic online. Get in the habit of exhausting your free resources before paying for a more robust offering.
Some of my favorite places to learn and find free information include: MIT OpenCourseWare, Udacity, and YouTube, but you can also take advantage of limited free trials on Skillshare, Coursera, and Treehouse.
76. Share your home
This may or may not be feasible depending on where you are in your life, but sharing your home with one or more roommates can drastically cut your costs and help you save money.
Say the average one-bedroom apartment in your city is $1,500. If a 2-bedroom, 2-bath apartment costs $2,500, you’ll shave $250 off your rent by sharing with just one other person. If you can find a 4-bedroom house for $3,000 and split it four ways, you’ll be paying half the rent of a one-bedroom apartment. This is just an example, but I’ve heard of real life situations that offer even more significant cost savings.
77. Grow your own food
Again, the feasibility of this one really depends on where you live. However, you can save money on groceries by growing your own food. Community gardens, patios, and shared rooftop space offer urban dwellers a new chance at permaculture that never existed before.
To do this, find out what types of crops can be grown in a small scale (like peppers and tomatoes) and start your own garden. Then, tend to your garden every day so you can cultivate your own vegetables, herbs, and even fruits. This way, you’ll have a plentiful harvest during the season for your crops, and you can cut your produce expenses significantly.
78. Take preventive measures, especially with your health
Going to the doctor regularly might seem like a HUGE expense, but even worse are the expenses you need to incur when you’re actually sick. Instead, be sure to take care of your health and your body with regular checkups and preventive measures like vaccines and annual flu shots. This way, you won’t need to pay for expensive doctor’s fees or medications later when you get the flu (which are usually even more costly than your checkup copay).
79. Learn to DIY
Learning how to make your own stylish furniture, chic clothes, and amazing dishes will help you save money AND embellish your life with unique things. There are SO many free online resources and YouTube videos that will teach you how to cook restaurant-grade food, build our own furniture, and design your own clothes.
A great example of this is house renovations. I renovated a room in my mom’s basement for ~$500 in supplies and paint. We learned how to lay hardwood floors, put in baseboards, replaced the light fixtures, and paint the walls and the ceiling. Of course, it took several days of hard work, but it also saved us a TON of money, like thousands of dollars. If we’d hired contractors, it would have easily cost over $3,000.
80. Don’t confuse self-care with spending frivolously
Self-care is an important aspect of life, and one you should treat yourself to regularly. According to Psych Central, self care is “any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.” But what self care isn’t, is an excuse to spend recklessly without any aim.
When you need to provide yourself with resources to take care of yourself, treat it like any other expense. Determine your needs, figure out your budget, do some research, and decide what the best, most cost-effective method of self-care is.
81. Allow yourself to splurge selectively
Complete deprivation isn’t good for the mind or for long-term habit formation. You need to reward yourself for meeting your goals or keeping to your rules from time to time. An occasional splurge here and there won’t kill your bank account, and it will help you stay motivated to keep working towards your goals.
82. Treat luxuries like they are scarce
Sometimes it’s easy to get so wrapped up in life’s luxuries, we treat them as if they’re normal. Then, we almost become addicted to luxurious things. Getting hooked on luxuries signals the end of any frugal budget, so instead, treat splurges and nice things exactly as they are: luxuries. Think of treats like a nice dinner or a nice haircut as one-off surprises and enjoy every last second of them.
83. Engage in stress-reducing activities that don’t cost anything
Often, we spend money when we’re stressed or tired to help alleviate some of the pain or burden we feel. We decide to eat out, or go to the spa, or go for a drink at the bar. However, you don’t have to spend money to effectively decrease your stress levels.
Some of the best stress-reducing activities include meditation, exercise, and sleep…which are all FREE. When you’re feeling stressed or burned out, turn to one of these activities as your go-to for taking a break and decompressing.
84. Create accountability with your loved ones
If you want to put pressure on yourself to stick to your money saving rules and goals, make it public. Tell your friends and family that you’re hoping to be more frugal and save more money every week. This way, they can help support and guide you through your frugal journey.
Once your loved ones are aware of your intentions, they won’t feel bad when you turn them down for dinner at a fancy restaurant or tickets to that big-name concert. However, if they don’t know, they can’t help you. Let your loved ones help you reach your savings goal by letting them know your rules!
85. Surround yourself with similarly frugal people
As humans, we tend to learn from and adapt to the people around us. If you’re constantly hanging out with people who ball out like Kanye, it will be REALLY hard to stick to your frugal ways.
On the other hand, if you surround yourself with similarly frugal people, keeping your budget will feel completely natural. You can adopt their habits and learn from them. Creating community around your frugality will make it easier than ever to save money for the important things in life.
BONUS: Create and stick to a budget
Having a budget will make all of this ten times easier, because you’ll know EXACTLY how much you can spend each month. Budgets create boundaries that can help your decide where to cut and where to spend.
Creating a budget can be as simple as writing your monthly spending limits down in a notebook or a piece of paper, or as complex as an Excel sheet with all kinds of crazy formula. While I prefer the latter, YOU should choose whatever method works best for you.
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