I’ve learned saving techniques from my Dad at a young age. I mean, what 12 year old was given “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S. Clason as a free-time read? I was. And… I loved it.
I learned at an early age that saving was important. You want something, you save for it. You want to go somewhere, you save it. It is a no brainer. I have learned to trick myself into saving money on top of the obvious ways to save. Let’s get it started: 15 Super Easy Ways to Save Money Without Thinking
Savings in the Bank
1) Transfer 10% of each paycheck into a savings account off the top.
2) Get any bonuses or work overtime? Put directly into savings. You have live off an income without the bonus, so why not save that extra dough?
3) Cash in spare change. J has the worst habit of leaving spare change everywhere. I find it on the coffee table, the kitchen table, the dresser, the washing machine – everywhere. It adds up. Right now we have about 2 steins and 1 change jar full of coins. It’s about time to wrap it and trade it in for some cold-hard cash.
4) Tag-along on a yard sale. I will be the first to say that throwing a yard sale just seems like too much work for me. However, I am happy to bring my items over to a friend who is hosting. She gets the joy of my company all day and I do not have to find folding tables, hang flyers, or post on Craigslist.
5) Pay cash. On average people will spend less when eating out, buying groceries and just about anything when they pay cash. It hurts more to hand over that green bill then it does a ‘magic’ card.
6) Calculate your grocery List. When I go into a grocery store I have my list, a pen, and my iPhone in hand. As I put items in the cart, I look at the price tag and enter it into my calculator. We budget $75 a week in groceries and ever since I started calculating the prices, I spend on average $65 a week. That’s a savings of $10 a week … or $520 a year!
7) Find a coupon site. I have been known to get an entire dinner table to download a coupon app to save a few bucks on a meal, so it should come as no surprise that I search for coupons to almost everywhere and for almost everything. I work on our grocery list for a few days before we go and look for printable coupons on the brands we buy. The savings can add up.
8) Save on miles per gallon costs. For the first week or two in our new home I had the opportunity of working from home and J had to drive about 20 miles to work. One day as we were heading to meet family, I had the light bulb moment and asked J why he was not taking my car. My little SUV compared to his big ol’ truck saves quite a bit in gas. My car sat in the driveway most days and even when I do go into the office it’s not as far away as J’s work. Now he drives my car to work and if I need to go in I take his truck.
9) Shop for lowest gas prices. I downloaded the app GasBuddy.com for my iPhone and check local gas prices before I fill up. Usually driving an extra mile will save me $.05 a gallon and we fill up J’s truck that’s a big savings to us!
10) Improve your gas mileage. Have you air-filter changed, make sure your tires are inflated properly, and don’t have a lead foot. Simple, small changes can help add up and make your gas last longer.
Around the Home and Bills
11) Turn off lights. This one was a big one for me to learn. J used to clap for me whenever I would leave a room and remember to turn off the lights – that’s how rare it was! The longer we have lived together, the better I am getting about turning off lights. The savings from turning off lights and not leaving every single light on for hours and hours will add up.
12) Stay on the family’s cell phone plan. It’s no lie that a family plan is the way to go when looking at phone plans. J’s work provides his cell phone at no charge, which is great for the budget but also means that he is on call at all hours of the day. My parents are willing to let me stay on the family plan for a while longer. My portion is cheap compared to a plan by myself.
13) Become healthier. By picking up healthy habits you can avoid getting sick often and that means less doctor appointments, and in turn less co-pays.
Eating Out Savings
14) Pack your lunch. It may seem easy to just run through a drive-thru and eat off the dollar menu every day, but that adds up. Let’s do the math – $3.50 a day for lunch is about $17.50 a week, which is about $910 a year! Most grocery stores will have deals on lunch meat and bread each week, plus any coupons you can find. Let’s say a pack of lunch meat for $1.80 and a loaf of bread for $3.50 will make about 7 sandwiches, give or take a sandwich. For all of the work days throughout the entire year you will have to buy 45 packs of lunch meat and loaves of bread, which is only $238.50 a year for sandwiches. That’s a savings of over $670 a year! Whoa!
15) Share dinners when eating out. Restaurants’ portions are outrageous and most of the time, they can feed two people comfortably. Use the the portion control and size guide for an idea. Some restaurants may have a plate sharing fee but typically that’s just $1 or $2. So, order one entree and split it. It’s the right portion for your stomach and your budget.