Have you ever had one of those “Aha” moments?
This was one for me. I think it was good ole’ Benjamin Franklin who said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” In this blog I am trying to help you find new ways to make extra income and break out of your debt wall/ ceiling. Well One of the best ways to save money is to… spend less!
This sounds simple, but when you actually put it into practice, it can feel impossible to reduce spending without cutting things out of your life that you enjoy.
In fact, you’re likely wasting money on things that you don’t even want or need. I’ve found 11 small things you can quit buying that, when added up, result in big savings.
1. Restaurants and Takeout
This is a hard one, perhaps. But super obvious. Look, I love to eat out. Who doesn’t? Even if you choose relatively inexpensive places, eating out multiple times a week quickly becomes expensive.
Cooking at home and packing lunches will save you a huge amount. Plus, when you do go to a restaurant or order takeout, it will be that much more special.
If you’re unused to cooking and have no idea where to start, try a service like $5 Meal Plan. You’ll receive a detailed meal plan where every meal costs no more than $2 to prepare. Sign up for the service now to start eating healthier, tastier meals for less.
2. Extras at the Grocery Store
Here’s the thing: going to the store is fine, if you can muster amazing self-control. One thing that helps me is to always wait until AFTER mealtime to do your shopping.
Better yet – head to the grocery store armed with a list — and never deviate from this list! (Okay, often it is the male version of grocery store clientele that is able to actually buy only what they see on the list! But I know some super list-smitten females too!)
If you just buy whatever takes your fancy, you’ll end up with expensive products that are difficult to include in your meals. Then, the food will expire and you’ll have to throw it out.
I know – Vicious Cycle!
In addition to planning a grocery list according to your meal plans, use an app like Checkout 51 or Caddle (for those in Canada).
They’ll show you a list of offers for the week, which you can purchase for cash back. Download the app before you even leave for the grocery store — that way, you’ll be able to plan your grocery list according to the offers.
3. Cable Service
Is it just me, or is cable a never ending pain in the wallet?
Cable services increase in price every year at a rate far higher than inflation. At the same time, cable viewership is dropping. What?
You have a few different options when it comes to cutting the cord:
- Cut entirely and fill your time with more productive activities. You’ll find that you’re much happier with your life!
- Switch to streaming. Even a couple streaming services combined cost less than cable.
- Use Trim. Instead of paying full price for cable, rely on Trim to negotiate a better price. This works not only for cable, but also for your Internet and phone bills.
Sign up for Trim now to start saving money on all your services immediately.
Okay. Another subscription you need to cut right now is magazines.
I used to get like – 5 magazines a month. Yes it was fun to get the latest issue in the mail. My wife still gets/uh used to get maybe 12 a month. So now her 4 mags a month is actually really trimmed from her “before” magazine diet.
Then I would set in in my magazine rack, planning to go through it when I found the time. Now actually, I did try to at least rapidly puruse each magazine before placing it in the circular file (trash can) or at best, throwing it in that gigantic pile of old magazine in the garage that my wife keeps telling me to take to the dump!
The point is – it’s 2020 now. There is plenty of content online is almost identical to what you find in magazines, but available for free! Plus, magazines are full of ads, which push you to spend even more.
If you must, page through the latest issues at your local bookstore or library. Or keep the 2 most important subscriptions that you know you just “gotta have” and get rid of the other 80% that you don’t “gotta have.”
Don’t wait until the end of the month to unsubscribe — there’s a good chance you’ll forget!
5. Starbucks Drinks
Before you start to protest that you can’t live without Starbucks, hear me out: there’s no need to pay for your daily coffee. With apps like Swagbucks and MyPoints, you can earn gift cards by completing simple tasks, like shopping online and watching videos. Another option is to take surveys through American Consumer Opinion and Survey Junkie.
All these are hugely popular services, particularly for people who want to save money without living frugally. Better yet, gift cards aren’t just for Starbucks — you can trade your points for Walmart and PayPal credit, too.
Download all these apps right away and start dedicating your free time to earning points.
6. Paperback Books
Look at the books you’ve accumulated over the years. How many have you actually read and how many have you never even opened? Take out a library subscription instead — you can borrow ebooks without leaving the house.
Have you heard of this super awesome service where you can sign up for Amazon Prime Books?
If you’re an avid reader and like to have a personal library of paperback books, at least stop paying. You can use the points you gain from the above apps and services for Amazon gift cards.
7. Online Subscriptions You Forgot You Had
This one is kinda stealthy. I actually went through all my online subscriptions on my checking account, and other banking accounts. I found at least three things I totally forgot I had signed up for and now here I was making monthly purchases for stuff I forgot about!
One was a website where I used to get royalty free pictures. I forgot about the 7 dollars charge every month. It turns out, for years I have been paying 7 dollars a month to some company that I never needed beyond that one time purchase.
Are you aware of every single penny that you spend each and every month? I thought I was. But when I went through things, I cancelled 3-4 things I never needed and saved almost $50 a month!
8. Travel-Size Personal Care Products
Yes, traveling with liquid products of no more than 3.4 ounces will prevent you from needing to check luggage, but it’s unnecessary to purchase more expensive travel size. Just buy regular size and transfer products into reusable travel bottles.
In a way, this is kind of in that “common sense” scenario.
Maybe it’s just me – but paying 3x as much for the amount you could get with larger sizes is what rich people do.
And you’re not rich – YET! (That’s coming soon my friend!)
9. High-End Makeup
Okay, now I am not a lady. I am a man. But my audience is more ladies than gents. Therefore – ladies can we talk?
Okay now my wife really helps me understand all this. But there’s no need to purchase expensive brands of makeup. Many economical brands are just as effective.
And yes, my wife says there are exceptions. So if 1 or 2 items you cannot deal without the expensive brands, cool.
If there are some products you feel are worth the extra cost, use Ebates or DollarDig for money back.
These work much like the apps for grocery shopping. All you need to do is download the apps!
10. Skincare Products
Yeah. Okay so basically. this is a recap of the last point about makeup. Whereas you should take care of your skin, all you really need is a sunscreen and (maybe) a moisturizer. The rest is down to staying hydrated and sticking to a good diet.
Okay. That does sound a little trite. I am sure someone reading this is like a full-time skincare specialist or something. I am sure this is kinda raining on your parade. To those who are in this field for a living, I say – go ahead and make an exception to this point. Keep the expensive skincare if you must. You gotta eat, right?
Am I right?
My wife says I’m right. What do you say? Right?
11. Random Items
We’re talking about all those impulse buys you make through a given week.
C’mon. We all love to take our Friday paycheck and hit the department store and get, oh who knows? We pick up that “great deal” on that really nifty notebook, or the flashy ornament, or that darling accessory that you will never get the chance to buy again.
I know. I’m being a bit over-dramatic to make said point.
You know what you gotta do. It’s time to get serious about knocking down the debt and getting your finances on track.
So to the returns with that wonderful collection of junk!
Be aware that you’re at your most susceptible for buying this stuff when you’re bored in a checkout line.
I know what you can do next time! Take a selfie of yourself smiling that you just said “No” to that temptation!
You can save money without making significant sacrifices or changes to your life. Each purchase you cut may reduce expenditures by just a few dollars, but these will add up to thousands over the course of a year.