Some people focus a lot of their energy toward making money, but making sure you’re not losing money is just as important and will contribute to your financial success as well. There are a few easy changes you can make today that will allow you to keep more of your hard earned money and in the long-term aid you in making better financial decisions.
1. You always buy new instead of used
You probably are thinking this only applies to cars. Cars are expensive and buying used instead of new can save you quite a lot of money, but there are many things that you can save money on by buying used. Books and textbooks go for much less used and you can even sell them after if they are in good condition. There are thousands of items on Amazon that you can save a few bucks by opting for it used instead of new. It may seem like a small amount by saving $5 here and there but it adds up throughout the year.
2. You don’t comparison shop
This applies to every last thing you can buy! Groceries, electronics, cars, mortgages. You name it and you can compare prices in multiple stores or several sites without leaving the comfort of your home. By comparison shopping not only can you save money but you also can buy something knowing you got a good deal. There’s no better feeling!
3. You don’t use coupons
If you shop online or in stores without first checking for coupons you are wasting a lot of money. There are coupons that are store specific, such as grocery stores offering buy one get one deals, and there are also manufacturer coupons. If you can’t find a coupon at the retailer, be sure to check the manufacturer as well. An easy way to find coupons from manufacturers is to search online for coupons for whatever product and you should find a few sites with relevant results. Simply present them at checkout and watch the savings add up.
4. You don’t cook your own meals
Eating out eats a hole in your wallet without you even noticing it. Next time you eat out take a moment to acknowledge how much you spent on your meal. Then, the next time you’re at the grocery store add up how much you would have to spend to make a meal for yourself. Now multiply that difference by how many meals you eat out a month! That could be hundreds of dollars you’re throwing out the window! Consider buying a Crock-Pot so you can toss all of the ingredients in the slow cooker and set it for the specified time and it'll be ready when you are. Alternatively, try using an Instant Pot and cook a whole meal faster than you ever thought possible.
5. You are wasting electricity
There are many ways to waste electricity, such as leaving lights and fans on when no one is around. But the biggest way people waste electricity is by cooling or heating your home when it’s unnecessary. Depending on where you live, your electricity bill could be higher than it needs to just because you neglect to change your thermostat when no one is home. Try to remember to change the AC before you leave each time so you aren’t cooling (or heating) an empty house. There are even programmable thermostats, like this Honeywell Programmable Thermostat that is under $20 and has a 4 star rating with over 1,750 reviews. So you can set it according to your regular schedule and forget it!
6. You don’t have a budget
One big mistake that people make is not making a budget. Having a budget gives you a foundation for your spending and saving, without saying you can’t spend any money on fun stuff. Everyone is different so you have to find the right budgeting strategy that works for you. Read more about a few simple budgeting techniques and find the right one for your lifestyle. It’s okay to try a couple budgeting strategies before you can stick to one - in fact simply being more aware of your spending habits is a big step.
7. You aren’t saving for retirement
Even if you’re in your 20s you should start saving for retirement now. If your work offers a 401K, take advantage of it! You probably won’t even notice the few dollars missing from your paycheck, but it will make a big difference when you are at retirement age. And unless it is absolutely 100% necessary DO NOT withdraw before you are at retirement age or you will pay a significant penalty. When you’re young it’s hard to think so far ahead but you will really appreciate your younger self if you do.
8. You have recurring payments for services you no longer use
Set aside 30 minutes to look through all of the payments you’ve made in the last month on any credit cards or debit accounts. Look for payments for things that you don’t use but you are still paying for, like streaming services. You can even set up alerts on your credit or debit card so that you get a text or push notification for every purchase so nothing sneaks by! Here’s a tip: if you haven’t used the service in 2-3 weeks then you probably don’t need to be paying for it.
9. You are still paying for cable
One of the big monthly payments many people have after rent or mortgage payments and car payments is cable and internet packages. One big tip that could save you a lot of money over the long-term is cutting cable. How much television do you really watch? Many people are realizing that their monthly bill is not worth the few hours of TV they watch. In fact, if you know a good friend or family member who pays for cable you may be able to use their login and watch your favorite shows on each network’s app. This way you only need to pay for internet and simply cutting cable will save you A LOT of money each month.
If you want to see how you can save even more money, check out these 9 Products Under $20 That Will Save You Money. You'll have to spend a little bit of money now, but each of these products will save you in the long run.
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