Saving money is on many people’s minds these days, but it’s easier said than done. Even those with well-paying jobs often find that the money runs out before payday. If you have budgeting difficulties, it can be even more challenging. Perhaps you already skimp on expenses and can’t imagine how you could be any more frugal. If so, this article is for you. Even if you are already taking steps to improve your financial picture, the tips in this article can help you stretch your dollar even further and inspire you to save money even on a tight budget.
Avoid Banking Fees
If you pay a monthly maintenance fee for a bank account, switch to a fee-free product or change providers. Many people overlook this painless and straightforward step that can put extra cash in their pockets.
If you can’t find a suitable bank, consider a credit union. Many credit unions offer free services. Since some of them only have residency requirements, you might be surprised how easy it is to find one. Another easy fix? Avoid using ATMs outside of your branch or network because of the extra fees.
Buy Generic and Store Brands
Did you know only ten companies own the most well-known and popular food brands? Each of these organizations markets dozens, if not hundreds, of products that might have nothing to do with their most popular ones.
This doesn’t just apply to foods, but it covers a wide range of items, including health, beauty, and cleaning products. In some cases, these big companies even manufacture generic items that have no ads or fancy packaging. That’s why it isn’t necessary to spend extra money on brand items. If in doubt, compare the ingredient lists of comparable products. Chances are, they will be mostly identical.
Use Coupons and Discounts Correctly
While it’s okay to use coupons for daily items, don’t use them as an excuse to acquire unnecessary stuff. You can apply coupons to name-brand items, provided the reduced prices compare favorably to no-brand products. Try to keep track of when things go on sale since combining your coupons with the sale price of an item is the best route to significant savings.
Retail is extremely competitive, and companies are vying for your business. To that end, most major retailers have associated apps. If you’re wondering whether it’s worth it to install an app, here’s a tip: It almost always is. Most apps will have unadvertised deals, coupons, and specials that you can’t get elsewhere. Don’t go shopping without checking first for the best deal, and never, ever, pay full price for anything unless it’s absolutely necessary. This one rule can save you thousands of dollars a year.
Skip Gas Station Snacks
Since most people don’t track minor purchases, the costs for snacks can put a substantial dent in your wallet over time. Gas stations typically sell snacks at much higher prices than grocery stores, and they get away with it because customers enjoy convenience.
To avoid temptation, don’t go inside when fueling the car. Instead, pay for gasoline at the pump. It also helps to keep a few snacks and soft drinks in the vehicle when going out for errands. It’s a lot easier to cave and blow your budget when you’re tired and hungry.
Consider a Side Gig
The gig economy is growing by leaps and bounds, and that’s great news for those who are trying to save money. Rather than take on a second job that eats up the remainder of your free time, you cant opt to freelance from home using the talents and resources you already have.
One simple gig that can help you put some additional cash in your pocket is completing free paid online surveys. Market research companies will pay you to give your opinion on new products and concepts, which in turn helps them to make future business decisions. It’s a win for everyone and can help you earn extra pocket money or pay some bills.
Limit Cleaning and Laundry Supplies
Stores sell cleaners for everything, but a simple mix of vinegar and water can replace most of them. If you need antimicrobial properties, add 1/3 cup of bleach to a gallon of water. However, never mix bleach and vinegar as it can produce deadly vapors. The same goes for other products, like ammonia.
When it comes to laundry detergents, there is no need for pre-treatments or expensive detergents with extra cleaning ingredients unless you work in a profession that creates grubby clothing. Did you know that you can make clothes smell good by adding essential oil to the laundry water? When it’s time to whiten clothes, hydrogen peroxide can also stand in as a bleach alternative.
Most people don’t need to add fabric softer or dryer sheets either. You can even make fabric softener by adding up to 30 drops of essential oils to one gallon of vinegar. If you use a dryer, opt for reusable dryer balls.
Get Rid of Cable or Satellite TV
Unless you still have a bulky unit from the 1980s, your TV most likely can connect to alternate entertainment sources. High-speed internet allows users to take advantage of streaming services at a fraction of the cost. If it seems too difficult to cut the cord, at least negotiate the TV package by cutting out unnecessary channels.
Alternatively, you could also go old-school and get to work on that pile of books you’ve been meaning to read or devote some time to your favorite hobby. You might find it a refreshing change from binge-watching the latest series.
Following these tips can create substantial savings and give you a feeling of accomplishment. Best of all, they are not difficult to implement, and they don’t take up a lot of time, either. As you continue along your journey of saving, you will likely find other creative ways of saving money. Here’s to a more prosperous and financially secure future!