Saving Money is Easy!

happy pig bank
Be a happy saver!

It’s always hard to start something new, and saving money is no exception. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to start saving money! And once you start saving in money and see your savings grow, you will look for ways to spend less on everything you buy and start saving even more. That’s what happened to me! I went from spending almost $50,000 annually back in 2013 to only spending about $12,000 last year. It can be done! My focus was driven by becoming financially independent (FI) and a desire to retire early (RE) so I could spend my time on things that I really enjoy.

My Journey to Saving More

I admit going from spending $50k a year to $12k wasn’t easy, it took work. I did it by saving a little here and a little there until the savings really started to snowball for me. The really interesting part of my “spending less journey” came when I found that I actually enjoy the things I can do for free, and didn’t get as much as enjoyment in things that I spend a lot of money on. Also, when you start looking for things to do that are free or low-cost, you find things that you once spent money doing, that you can actually do for free. For example, in Phoenix, if you have a Phoenix library card you can “borrow” a culture pass that will provide free admission for 2 to various attractions in the Phoenix area like the Desert Botanical Garden, the Phoenix Science Center, the Phoenix Museum, or the Japanese Friendship Garden to name a few. As for other attractions and events, you can find discounted prices on sites like Groupon or Living Social that are a great bargain.

Saving money is fun. Watch your savings grow!
Saving money is fun. Watch your savings grow!

 

 

You can also find savings on groceries and eating out if you subscribe to receive grocery store ads and deals from restaurants you frequent. This is especially true for freebies during your birthday month – one of my friends ate a free meal almost every day of his birthday month doing this! For someone like me that doesn’t eat out much and loves saving money on food, this is awesome!

 

What Are Some Easy Ways to Save?

 

When I first started cutting some expenses, I had to take a look at what I was spending money on every month that I didn’t feel I was getting enough value or enjoyment from. I guarantee you will find many ways to reduce spending, and sometimes you have to just pull the trigger and give something up that you think you need to realize you actually don’t need it or miss it in your life. I’ve cut various expenses over the last few years that have helped me on my journey to financial independence. Here are a few that I’m proud of and continue to save me money every month:

 

  • Cut Cable – I used to have DirecTV. I decided to try getting a digital antenna for my home TV and see if it worked. Much to my joy, it did! So, I decided to cancel DirecTV since I hardly watched anything that wasn’t on the basic networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, or FOX) and I rarely used the DVR anymore. That was 2 years ago, and I honestly have not missed it at all. I still watch TV, but also watch Netflix and DVDs from the library.

    cell phone
    Go with a low cost cell phone provider!
  • Cancel Cell Phone Contract – I canceled my service with Verizon about 2 years ago too. Unfortunately, my first “cheap” option was going to FreedomPop, which was a big mistake. I bought a phone from them and ported my number over to their service, but their lowest cost plan was only able to make calls when you are connected to a wi-fi network. I couldn’t use it when I was out of my house or the office. And the call quality was seriously horrible. I ended up canceling with them after about 6 months and went to Cricket instead. I am very happy with Cricket as it uses the AT&T network and only costs $30 a month. Other people also rave about Republic Wireless, ProjectFI and Ting, although I have not used them myself.
  • Cut Food Waste – Americans waste so much food. We always buy more than we can eat and when that happens, the spoiled food just ends up in the trash. What a waste of money! A few years ago I started making more food at home, and now rarely go out to eat. I pay attention to what I have in my pantry, freezer and fridge before I go grocery shopping. I also always make a list and stick to it – don’t get sucked in to impulse purchases, they will kill your budget.

    How Can We Reduce Food Waste
    How Can We Reduce Food Waste
  • Eat Out Less – Once I started making more of my meals at home and being more conscientious about the food I had at home and needed to use, I ate out a lot less. Most days and nights, since I’m single, I eat by myself. If you can take some time to make meals at home (like using a crockpot), freeze leftovers, and just prepare ahead a little more, you don’t need to waste money getting take out. Instead, save your money and only go out to eat for social occasions with friends and family, although make sure you limit those as well. You really don’t need to go out every time someone asks you to. Don’t succumb to peer pressure! Just say no!

 

Lot of Little Cuts

 

money tree
So many ways to save!

There are also a lot of little ways you can save money every day. You probably don’t even realize how much you are spending on a daily basis. Start tracking your expenses and paying attention to where your money goes on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. It is very eye opening. Here are 10 more ideas of where you might be able to cut spending to get you thinking about where to start:

 

  1. Stop smoking! You will save money and be a lot healthier.
  2. Stop buying coffee! Make it at home or get a free cup at work.

  3. Stop using the vending machine! Bring your own snacks in the car and to work.

  4. Get a programmable thermostat! It’s easy to install and will quickly cut your electric and gas costs.

  5. Cancel memberships! If you aren’t using your gym membership, cancel it already.

  6. Stop buying new clothes! Go on a clothing fast or start shopping at thrift stores.

  7. Buy a cheaper (used) car! You can save money on gas, maintenance, insurance, and licensing costs.

  8. Use your gift cards! If you have unused gift cards laying around, use them or sell them.

  9. Buy generic! The name brand products often make the same product under private store labels, they cost less since there’s little to no advertising behind them.

  10. Negotiate your insurance! This can potentially save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Thinking about where to cut costs and save more money can feel like a daunting task. Once you get a few ideas under your belt and start saving, you will get momentum and excitement urging you on pushing you forward and look forward to saving more every month. I have found it a very rewarding activity, and now that I’ve managed to save enough to put me into a position where I am not stressed about my finances. It’s a very freeing feeling to know that if a financial emergency comes up, I can handle it.

 

Start your journey to financial independence today. Earn more, spend less, and invest wisely!

 

What changes do you think you can make to your budget? Can you find new ways to save this year?

 

5 thoughts on “Saving Money is Easy!

  1. I like your article.
    You bring some very good points here, especially about smoking!
    For example, I was a smoker in the past. A chronical smoker. I used to smoke 2, sometimes 3 boxes of cigarettes every day!
    I am not a smoker anymore, and nowadays I save more than $100-$150 per month because of course I am not buying cigarettes anymore. In the past cigarettes were much cheaper than they are today.
    So I am saving more than $1000 yearly just because I am not buying cigarettes anymore.
    I will bookmark your website, because there is some really interesting content.
    Thanks for the great post about saving some money.
    Miroslav

    1. Hi Miroslav – Congratulations on quitting smoking! That is a great bad habit to overcome and now you will not only be saving more money, but also be healthier. Thanks for stopping by and reading my post! ~Jen

  2. Hi Jen,
    Useful post and very good tips for saving money.I am staying single and I am eating in restaurants.I give my clothes to Laundry and my cell phone plan is postpaid which is costly.Now I have decided to do the cooking and wash my clothes myself. Also, I will change my cell phone plan to prepaid. Your article gives very simple tips but very very useful to save money easily and one can see the results in the long run.
    Thanks for a great article.

    1. I’m happy you are able to make use of some of the tips I provided. Some of them are simple and easy to make the switch and start saving money. I think once you start seeing some savings, you will be driven to save more! Good luck to you and thanks for the comment!

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