17 ways to save money


Saving money doesn’t have to be difficult. And it can actually be fun when you see how your savings start to increase every month. Try it, and you might just get addicted to the the game.

17 ways to save money:

  1. Cancel unnecessary subscriptions
  2. Switch to a cheaper energy provider, or source of energy
  3. Avoid unnecessary rental costs
  4. Cancel unnecessary insurances
  5. Avoid consumer debt
  6. Change to cheaper mobile and internet offers
  7. Use a piggy bank for small money
  8. Cook at home
  9. Overthink meat consumption
  10. Stop smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
  11. Compare grocery prices and buy regional and seasonal
  12. The 30-day rule against impulse buying
  13. Buy cheap but quality
  14. Repair instead of replacing
  15. Consider buying used instead of new
  16. Borrow instead of purchase
  17. Sell unnecessary clutter

Want to learn more? Below we will touch on these points in detail and give additional tips on how you can achieve these goals.


Why saving money is faster than making money

Most people are mainly concerned about how they can make more money. But they usually underestimate the efforts involved. If you already have a full-time job, can you really see yourself working another 4-6 hours constantly per day? Well maybe if your name is Elon Musk.

What most people usually forget looking at (or maybe they don’t want to see it), are their own spending habits and patterns. Wouldn’t it be far easier to cut down costs than try and generate additional income? If companies are in a difficult financial position, one thing that they do first is to try and cut operating costs to increase their profits. So if cutting costs, is the first thing companies are doing to increase their profits, why shouldn’t you too?


The story of an eager accountant

In one of the companies, I’ve been working for, a new head of finance was introduced. The first thing he did was to cut down on costs everywhere to the last penny. I remember standing in the coffee area when I’ve suddenly overheard a discussion that got louder and louder. What happened? The girls were confronting the new accountant because he bought the cheapest toilet paper, which wasn’t to their liking. This is the level down to which he was saving. Well, he had to find a compromise with the girls and they found an acceptable toilet paper, to a cheaper price. Of course, employees didn’t like him, but he lowered the yearly costs drastically enough, to be liked by the bosses, especially because the company at that point wasn’t break even yet.

We got friends and I soon found out, that he’s not only saving money for the company, but he was the same frugal person with his own finances. I have never seen a guy that was stashing away the amounts he did. And he earned less than me.

What were his habits to save cash?

  • He made sure every year, that he picked the cheapest possible health insurance.
  • He had zero subscriptions.
  • He watched TV on his computer (no TV contract).
  • He owned a cheap Android phone, and never changed it.
  • He didn’t have a data plan on his mobile contract (he used free WIFI at restaurants and other places)
  • He rented a 4 room apartment and rented out 3 of the rooms.
  • He fixed his clothes himself instead of purchasing new ones.
  • He took his own cheap beer cans to the bars, ordered one beer, and then refilled from his cans.

I can still remember when we went to a concert, and he wanted to smuggle in beer cans so he didn’t have to pay the expensive prices inside. He somehow managed to stuff some cans under his trainer. Sadly just as we were about to walk in, one of his cans fell on the floor, got damaged and beer sprayed in all directions, including on the bouncers at the entrance. It wasn’t a very pleasant situation, and we missed the concert, but we had for sure the cheapest beer in town that night.

Obviously, he saved tons of money with that strategy but was also considered as a little anti-social by some people. But because he was that determined with his spending he reached financial freedom, and wouldn’t have to work anymore. He loves to cut costs. It’s his hobby and he will do it most likely until he dies, regardless of how much money he has.

Now be aware, he is an extreme example, but if you are in financial difficulties, have a really low income, or want to take the fast track to financial independence, these strategies might help, to reach your goals faster.

In the end, it will be up to you how much you are willing to “sacrifice”. And you should still have a life right? So it’s all about setting priorities, spending money on things you love, and cut down the spending on things which are less important to you. The important thing is that you go through your expenses and check for each item if you really need it, how important it is for you, and if yes to check if there are cheaper options available, that would give you the same joy. If not, so be it. We all need some fun and passion in our lives.


17 ways to cut your spending

Cancel unnecessary subscriptions

Check if you have any subscriptions, which you don’t need any longer and cancel them.

Maybe you have a gym subscription but only go once a month. Instead, it might be cheaper and as effective to do exercises at home. Or if you have Netflix and watched most of the movies already, why don’t just unsubscribe and re-subscribe when the have more content available again?

Change to a cheaper mobile contract

Do you really need 25Gig of data per month? Your mobile usually tells you about your monthly consumption. Adjust your contract to what you really use. Or if there are a lot of public WIFI options, you could consider to not have a data contract at all, if you usually go to the same places.

Check if it’s cheaper, to get a pre-paid sim, or if a 2 year fixed contract is cheaper.

Do you still have a landline? Do you really need a mobile and a landline? Most likely not. Why not consider canceling the landline to save some cash.

Switch to cheaper energy

Changing your energy provider, or the energy source might save you several hundred dollars per year. Green energy is not always as green as you might think. Solar cells have toxic materials, and the production of wind turbines also produces CO2. Therefore going with nuclear power might not be that bad, as it is usually the cheapest, and also the most CO2 efficient option, as long it’s professionally operated.

Avoid unnecessary rental costs

Check the rental costs in your area on a yearly basis and compare the price per square meter of similar flats to yours. If you see that prices in other places are cheaper, ask your landlord for a reduction.

If you have rooms that you don’t really need, you could check if your landlord allows that you rent them out over Airbnb. This will generate additional income for you.

If you have more space than you need, you could also think about downsizing.

Cancel unnecessary insurances

There are insurances that make a lot of sense. One of them is health insurance. If you have a large fish tank, which could ruin your floor when bursting, it also makes sense to have an insurance. However if you have Ikea furniture, you not really need an insurance that protects you against that. Insurances for damage of electronic goods usually also might make less sense. Regardless if your insurance broker is your friend or not, pay only for what you really have to. Read the insurance contracts and check if you really need them.

Paying for unnecessary insurances is money straight out of the door.

Avoid consumer debt

Success in building wealth isn’t just based on the things we do. The things that we don’t do are particularly important. This refers to typical financial errors, such as purchasing a new car that loses value quicker than you can pay back the debt, or buying a big flat-screen TV, or an expensive mobile with Credit Card debt. Don’t purchase insurance for your electronic purchases, which will decrease in value very quickly. Purchase only what you can afford, and look at out of the box solutions, such as watching TV on your computer screen, or purchasing a cheaper Android phone.

Use a piggy bank for small cash

Put all the pennies into a piggy bank every night. You hardly notice the small amounts and after a few months, a nice sum might have come together without you noticing.

Food

When it comes to food, there are many ways how you can save money. The good thing: our health usually benefits too. Sweets or fast food cost money on the long run. As you save, you automatically get fitter and healthier.

Fast food restaurant visits and the coffee-to-go can tear a deep hole into the household budget. The expenses are bad for your health and can be abandoned immediately. A visit to a good restaurant once in a while however can bring joy in life if selected consciously. Try cooking dishes yourself. You learn new skills, it’s fun, and your wealth grows faster. At the same time, you will tend to eat healthier which will benefit you for a lifetime.

Overthink your meat consumption

Check what eating habits you have established. High meat consumption not only worsens your environment, but also eats up a lot of your hard-earned money. Although antibiotic meat is offered at incomprehensible prices in discount stores, it is still a very expensive product.

Not everyone has to become a vegetarian, but it’s worth questioning whether your meat consumption can be reduced. If you eat meat less often, you save money and can buy better quality from the local butcher. It remains something special, and the planet will thank you for it.

Smoking and alcohol

The great thing about unhealthy habits is the double effect we have when we change something in our behavior: Our health is better and at the same time we keep more of our money. Quitting smoking or reducing alcohol is a great level for your health, and for saving money quickly.

Groceries

If you make it a habit to do a week’s shopping instead of many small spontaneous purchases for groceries, this has two effects: You will buy healthier groceries and at the same time save money. The reason for this is that you have to think roughly about the dishes for the individual days when shopping weekly. Spontaneous frustrated purchases with unhealthy food after a stressful day become less common. It is also advisable to shop with a full stomach: this reduces the inhibition threshold for useless and unhealthy items. Look beyond the products at eye level, you might find cheaper products of the same quality. And pay attention to special offers, buy seasonal fruits and vegetables.

30-day rule against impulse buying

Online shopping at Amazon has made buying easier than ever. Often however it tempts us to buy things that we find superfluous after a short time. To prevent this and avoid impulse purchases, the 30-day rule helps: For larger purchases, wait 30 days before you buy.

If you still think the purchase makes sense, you can make it with a clear conscience. The probability that you will no longer need the item after a short time will have decreased significantly.

Buy cheap but quality

One benefit of doing new acquisitions more carefully is that you won’t have to buy things as often. This means that you have more money available when you really need something. You can get better quality tools, shoes, or clothing that will last longer.

You won’t buy a new screwdriver in two weeks because the old one broke again, even if it was a bargain.

Repair instead of replacing

In today’s throwaway society we tend to buy new when something breaks. However, a lot can be fixed with little effort. My $55 beach volleyball had a hole. Instead of buying a new one, I discovered a repair shop that repaired the whole thing for $7.

My cell phone battery was no longer usable after 2 years, but the device was intact. With just a few simple steps, you can also replace mobile batteries and practice your craftsmanship. If that’s too much for you, you can have the battery changed on-site in phone shops in a few minutes.

Used items, B-goods and exhibits

Why not make it a habit to consider if a used item instead of a new item would do it. Often, after a week of using it, we no longer notice whether we initially bought it new or used.

Borrow instead of purchase

I’ve often been able to save money by borrowing and lending items. Why own an impact drill, when it’s only used twice a year. Before we buy any items, it is worthwhile to look if we can borrow it from our friends.

Larger tools, such as a jackhammer or circular saw, can be borrowed from hardware stores for a small fee.

This also saves space in your own apartment or basement.

Sell unnecessary clutter

All objects that you find in your apartment or house that do not contribute to your quality of life can be sold.

The items can be placed on eBay or other platforms in just a few minutes. My trick: I usually put things online on eBay classifieds and then put them straight in the basement.

Chris

Chris is an IT Project Portfolio Manager within the financial industry. Due to the nature of his role, he is engaged to study Financial Markets and is an active investor.

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