This year, I’m trying something a little different. A couple of times a month, I’m going to write more general financial tips instead of a story of my particular financial journey. In recent years, I’ve focused too much about my financial choices, which may not be useful for most of you.
These money saving tips are the foundation of how we became financially independent by age 42. If you are just starting your financial journey now, you will likely face some challenges. I didn’t have the high inflation, extreme housing expenses, and student loans that are common today. That’s why I believe…
Frugality is more important than ever before.
You may have seen some or all of these tips before. I have two thoughts on that:
- This means they are proven to work – standing the test of time
- Use these tips as a refresher. Have you fallen into a spending trap?
(I apologize in advance if some of these tips aren’t “lazy” enough. Frugality is one area where you occasionally have to do some extra work to save money.)
- Buy Generic Brands: Choose store brands instead of name brands. The savings can be substantial, especially for similar ingredients or quality products.
- Bulk Buying: Purchase non-perishable items in bulk. This is especially true for toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and pantry staples. Warehouse clubs can often offer significant savings but may also tempt you to spend. Stick to your grocery list.
- Get a Spare Freezer: When stores have sales, don’t be afraid to buy big cuts of meat on sale. Chop it up, bag it into smaller sizes, and freeze it for later meals. I usually buy five or ten pounds of ground beef at a time.
Easy Home Cooking
- Brown Bag It: Packing your lunch instead of buying it every day at work can save you around $1,000 per year. Plus, it’s often healthier!
- Make Coffee at Home: Brewing your coffee at home instead of buying it daily can save you around $500 a year. Invest in a good coffee maker, and enjoy the savings.
- Meal Prep: Planning your meals for the week and cooking in bulk can save you money on groceries and reduce the temptation to order takeout. I prefer to use a Crock Pot, but my wife prefers her Instant Pot.
- Cut the Cable: With so many affordable streaming options available, cutting cable television can save you over $1,000 annually.
- Switch to Free Streaming Services: Try free streaming services such as Amazon Freevee, Tubi, and Pluto.
- Cancel Subscriptions: Start by evaluating your subscriptions—magazines, streaming services, or software. Cutting down on unnecessary subscriptions can save you hundreds of dollars annually
- Negotiate Bills: If you really don’t want to cancel your cable, get a better price. Call your service provider and tell them you are considering cutting the cable.
- Free Local Entertainment: Explore free or low-cost entertainment options in your community, such as local events, museums with free admission days, or community theater productions.
- Library Instead of Bookstore or Streaming: Instead of buying books, borrow them from the library. This not only saves money but also encourages you to explore a variety of genres without commitment. Many libraries have a selection of DVDs, Blu-Rays, and streaming services like Hoopla.
- DIY Home Repairs: Learn to tackle basic home repairs on your own. YouTube and online tutorials can guide you through many common fixes, saving on handyman expenses.
- DIY Beauty Treatments: Skip the salon and spa for certain beauty treatments. DIY manicures, pedicures, and haircuts can save you hundreds over a year. This isn’t my area of expertise, but I’ve heard some wonderful things can be learned on YouTube and TikTok.
- DIY Home Decor: Instead of purchasing expensive home decor items, get creative and make your own. Pinterest is a treasure trove of ideas for affordable and stylish DIY projects. If you get good at it, perhaps you can sell your creations on Etsy.
- DIY Car Maintenance: Learn basic car maintenance tasks, such as changing the oil or replacing air filters. This can save you money on mechanic fees.
- Grow Your Own Produce: If you have the space, consider growing your fruits and vegetables. It not only saves money but also provides fresh, organic produce.
- Shop Secondhand: Thrift stores, consignment shops, and online platforms offer great deals on gently used items—from clothing to furniture. You’ll be surprised by the quality and the savings.
- Use Cashback Apps: Take advantage of cashback apps when shopping. Many apps offer rebates on everyday purchases, putting money back in your pocket.
- Compare Prices Online: Use price-comparison websites and apps to ensure you’re getting the best deal before making a purchase. This is especially useful for big-ticket items. Many people assume that Amazon has the best prices. I’ve found that Wal-Mart often has better prices.
- Buy at the Right Time: Use price-comparison
- Energy-Efficient Appliances: Invest in energy-efficient appliances. While the upfront cost may be higher, the long-term savings on your utility bills can be significant.
- Buy Used Textbooks: If you’re a student, buying used textbooks or renting them can save you a significant amount of money compared to buying new ones.
- Use Public Transportation or Carpool: If possible, opt for public transportation or carpooling. The savings on fuel, maintenance, and parking can add up quickly.
- Cut Back on Alcohol Consumption: Drinking less not only saves you money, but it has health benefits too. Choosing cheaper alcohol can lead to substantial savings.
- Unplug Electronics: Save on your electricity bill by unplugging chargers, appliances, and electronics when not in use. It’s a simple habit that can save you up to $100 annually.
- Implement the 30-Day Rule: Before making a non-essential purchase, wait for 30 days. If you still want it after that time, consider buying it. This helps eliminate impulse purchases. I don’t believe that there’s anything magical to the 30 days. For smaller purchases, I may buy after two weeks. For larger purchases, it might be two months.
- Barter or Trade Services: Explore the possibility of bartering or trading services with friends or neighbors. Whether it’s pet-sitting, gardening, or handyman work, exchanging skills can save you money.
- Reusable Products: Switch to reusable items like water bottles, shopping bags, and lunch containers. Over time, this reduces the need for disposable products and saves money.