Saving money can sound synonymous with giving things up. When we save our money, it means we’re refraining, and saying no to a movie ticket, a vacation, a night out with friends, or a much-needed day at the spa can sound depressing. We’d all like a little more money, but few of us are willing to say no to the experiences we love.
The good news is that saving money and still living a full life is easier than you think. Often, saving money regularly just means a little more dedication and simpler goals. Both of those things could make your life even fuller, so you’ve got nothing to lose by testing them out. You might find you don’t enjoy living life this way–but who knows? You might realize you love it. You could start with moving to a smaller apartment, budgeting every month, or doing more crafts and home projects.
The first step in saving money is having a solid budget. If you keep track of your income and exactly where it’s going, you won’t overspend. Every month, write down what you spent on groceries, rent, miscellaneous supplies, and everything else you bought. How much is left over? It might help to limit your monthly spending (e.g., $150 for groceries. $75 for eating out) and never go past your mark. If you feel like you need help developing a budget, get in touch with accounting and auditing services.
Live Somewhere Smaller
One of the best ways to save money is to live somewhere small. The more space you have, the more you feel compelled to fill it with something, and all that extra furniture and art is a cost you don’t need. Plus, a smaller house has a cheaper mortgage, and a smaller apartment has a lower rate. You could save a few thousand every year just by sticking to a smaller location. Some people would even argue that small houses make you happier, so it’s worth investigating.
Don’t Miss Out on Compensation
If you’re ever injured, your first instinct may be to avoid help. Pride might get in the way, or maybe a belief that things will turn out the same way, no matter what you do. You should never miss out on compensation after an accident, however, and you should always contact a personal injury lawyer if you experience an injury. You could save thousands of dollars on medical bills, and a lawyer really does make a difference.
Get a Cheaper Degree
We all have to spend money to make money when it comes to our education. Without training of some kind, it’s hard to work a well-paying job. Instead of spending thousands on an auspicious four-year college, however, sometimes we’d be better off with a simpler career. Certification and associate degree jobs still make good money, and automotive & diesel technology degrees will never leave you unemployed.
Cook from Scratch
Food is expensive, especially if you’re buying it pre-made. Whip out your phone and pull up the calculator. How many times a week do you eat out, especially for lunch? How much is each meal? Add it up, and multiply it by 52. Even if you only spend $20 a week on eating out, you’re spending over $1,000 a year. That’s enough for a trip to London for one. Even frozen dinners from the grocery store are a lot more expensive than getting the crockpot out every week. When you can pack a lunch, you save a lot in the long run.
Light Some Candles
Every month, you’ll spend money on your utility bill, but you could be spending less. Yes, turning off lights and using less water is good for the environment, but it’s also good for your bank account. Instead of using a lot of electricity, turn off your devices when they’re not in use. Turn off the lights and use candles more often. There’s something comforting about fire and its ambiance, too.
Take Cheaper Vacations
Vacations are good for you, and you shouldn’t give them up just because your finances are tight. Instead of saying no to a weekend off, find cheaper trips to take. Not every good vacation needs an airline ticket and expensive accommodations. You could travel to North Bend, OR and stay in your RV instead of a hotel, or go camping in a nearby state park. You could also use VRBO, Airbnb, or a homestay to make your trip cheaper, too.
Do It Yourself
There are a lot of things we like to spend money on. New floors. New cabinets. Lotion. Earrings. Home decor. A new sundress. While no one’s crafty enough to do everything themselves, there are plenty of home and personal products you can make for yourself. Pinterest is brimming with suggestions (and Pinterest fails waiting to happen), so try your hand at a few this weekend. A painted thrift store find could look 30 dollars good and cost you only 4.
Own Less Stuff
It’s so simple we don’t always think of it, but owning less stuff is one of the best ways to save money. If you want to sell things you don’t really need, you can turn a comfortable profit on some of your old stuff. Going forward, the more you learn to live with less, the less you’ll end up buying. We all need less money than we think we do, since we don’t “need” surround sound, a large house, the newest phone, or thirty pairs of shoes.
Fix Before You Throw
Usually, when something breaks, we throw it out and get a new one. When your shirt rips, you probably don’t stop to repair it. After all, is it really worth it? A “just get a new one” mentality, however, is costing you money in the long run. There are some things that aren’t worth repairing, but a lot of damaged items can be fixed for less at home. Next time, before you throw something out, ask, “Can I fix this?” first.